Narbonne (Narbona in Catalan and in Occitan, commonly Narbo especially when referring to Ancient Rome) is a city and commune of southwestern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon région.
It lies 849 km from Paris in the Aude département, of which it is a sous-préfecture.
Once a prosperous port, it is now located about 15 km from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
It is linked to the nearby Canal du Midi and the Aude River by the Canal de la Robine, which runs through the centre of town.
Facts at a glance
Postal code: 11100
Area: 172.96 km²
Population: 46,510 (1999)
Modern-day Narbonne was the first Roman colony outside of Italy.
It was established in Gaul in 118 BC, as Colonia Narbo Martius.
It was located on the Via Domitia, the first Roman road in Gaul, built at the time of the foundation of the colony, and connecting Italy to Spain.
Geographically, Narbonne was therefore located at a very important crossroads because it was situated where the Via Domitia connected to the Via Aquitania, which lead toward the Atlantic across Toulouse and Bordeaux.
In addition, it was crossed by the Aude River.
Politically, Narbonne gained importance as a competitor to Marseille.
Julius Cesar settled veterans from his 10th legion there and attempted to develop its port while Marseille was revolting against Roman control.
Narbonne itself fell into slow decline in the 14th century, for a variety of reasons.
The decline was partly due to a change in
the course of the Aude River, which already had a long history of overflowing its banks.
In addition, changes to the Mediterranean coastline meant that the city lay further inland and could no longer serve directly as a port.
From the 16th century, anxious to maintain a link to the Mediterranean, the people of Narbonne began costly work to the vestiges of the Aude River so that it would remain navigable.
Hence, despite its decline from Roman times, Narbonne nevertheless managed to hold on to a more limited importance as a trading route through the centuries.
The works finished with the construction of the Canal de la Robine, which was finally linked with the Canal du Midi (then the Royal Canal) in 1787.
In the 19th century, the canal system in the south of France came into competition with an expanding rail network but kept some importance due to the flourishing wine trade.
For a more information about Narbonne see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narbonne) December 2005
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in December 2005. E. & O.E.
Sarolta and I spent some time exploring Narbonne during 1978.
A very nice, quiet little town.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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