Narbonne is originally a Gallo Roman town on the canal de La Robine but also has a significant historic medieval and baroque centre.

The choir of the gothic cathedral of St Just et St Pasteur at Narbonne, France

The cathedral of St Just et St Pasteur is particularly interesting comprising a choir, sanctuary, and apse ambulatory only. The gothic choir is stunning though and at over 130 feet high matches the great cathedrals around Paris. The apse contains several side chapels including a painted and sculptured dedication to Norte Dame as the axial chapel. Other chapels around the apse and choir are full of huge paintings and tapestries. Two other features are the magnificent altar canopy, many feet high, constructed in the seventeenth and the organ against the nave wall installed in the eighteenth centuries. So why no nave or transepts. Having completed the choir in 1332 the builders needed to remove some Roman ruins to complete the cathedral with two transepts and a seven bay nave. This was refused initially and after war and economic hard times the project was delayed and eventually abandoned. So the original work has been left as ruins abutting the choir wall. It does look a bit of a mongrel from this view but magnificent from inside the choir. And like Leon in Spain, superb from twenty miles away with the sun shining on the sandy pink stone. 

Narbonne Cathedral consisting of choir with the nave, never being constructed.

We also visited the palace and off the courtyard saw an retrospective of paintings, sculpture and collage by The Morrocan artist, André Elbaz. I liked the semi abstract Casablanca series from around 1952 depicting warships, but most interesting was his work with cut up shreds of paper utilising them either as a medium for two dimensional works or in jars in mini exhibitions (hanging from the ceiling or in cabinets.

Narbonne, Palace, navy, casablanc
André Elbaz, Casablanca, 1962, at retrospective exhibition, Narbonne, 2019.
André Elbaz retrospective at Narbonne, August 2019.

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