The best way to explore a city is through your stomach. This is especially true for charming Narbonne in the Aude department. When crossing the Pont de la Liberté, you can’t miss Narbonne’s famous covered market, simply called ‘Les Halles’. This Baltard-style cast-iron building is a must-visit for foodies, and has been since 1901! Every Thursday and Sunday, the fun doubles with a great outdoor market.
Situated in the heart of Narbonne along the Canal de la Robine, the covered market is open every day of the week from 07h00 to 14h00. Including Sunday and holidays, without exceptions. It has to be said that Narbonne’s market is both an institution and a landmark. Also, it is one of the most beautiful covered markets in France. Its remarkable architecture is in pure Baltard-style with a majestic roof, a cast-iron structure combined with glass and an impressive main entrance.
Les Halles are still a bustling part of Narbonne, where most locals go to meet up for the latest news and do their shopping. They already know that this is the place if you want to stock up on high-quality produce. However, not only locals find their way to the market. As a display of the local gastronomic culture, Les Halles attracts people from all over the world. Over 60 vendors have their merchandise on display, and you can find just about anything on their stalls. Coming through the main entrance, you will find the butchers on your right site, the fishmongers in the back, and everything else in between. Vegetables, cheese, bread and pastries, olives, organic: it’s all there.
I especially like to do my market purchases on a Thursday or Sunday, when the Cours Mirabeau and Cours de la République also transform into a colourful outdoor market. Here, you will find anything- except food- including clothes, books, tableware, home decoration, towels, bags, hats, and so much more. Years ago, I bought a blue and pink shopping basket on this very spot. And I still use it when doing my shopping in my village. According to my greengrocer, my blue-and-pink bag and I are inseparable, and she recognises us from afar!
The town definitely merits a stroll outside to soak up the couleur locale. The setting of the outdoor market is beautiful, with two wide avenues shaded by plantains divided by the Canal de la Robine. This canal, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built as the missing link to connect the Aude river to the Mediterranean Sea at Port-la-Nouvelle. After all this roaming around, don’t forget about your stomach! Going back to Les Halles, you will find many lively restaurants (among them the iconic Chez Bebelle) and tapas bars so that you can end your visit as the locals do.