04 November 2009

Big Bike Adventure #2-Narbonne

Narbonne is small city 17km south-east of Ventenac. We hit the road on our bikes,
eager to discover and uncover whatever treasures the place had to offer.

Our first stop in any new place is usually the market. It tends to be a good way of forming a first impression-- if the food is good, that usually bodes well for us. Narbonne has a great one.

Les Halles is an old indoor market fully stocked with all the French essentials --
cheese, sausage, fruits, vegetables, bread, pastries, and wine.
It also featured several stalls that serve drinks and prepared food.

One of Narbonne's main attractions is this remnant of Roman road. Narbonne was established by the Romans and was an important crossroads between Spain and Italy.
It was built upon the Via Domitia -- the first road through Gaul.
Narbonne remained an important and thriving urban center during Rome's heyday.

Today, Narbonne is a small but picturesque city with
colorful buildings flanking the narrow, winding roads.

Another main attraction in Narbonne was its majestic Cathedral and the adjacent mairie. Though the gothic cathedral was never completed,
it is an imposing and dramatic piece of architecture.

The oldest part of mairie was built as the lodgings for the
archbishop of Narbonne who found the cathedral construction too noisy.
It was built up successively and today is a hodge-podge of various styles of architecture.

Here is a little taste of Halloween in France. We were feeling a little nostalgic and
were pleasantly surprised to see that it has actually caught on pretty well.
Children dressed up and went around to the different businesses in Narbonne collecting candy.
The pumpkin was on display at the local Wednesday market in Lezignan.

We were also treated to a great spectacle --
a lively wedding coming out of the mairie in the main square. Quite a party!