The Robine Canal, from town to country

Narbonne 1 day


Tried and tested for you by
Véronique, Narbonne Tourist Office

There’s nothing like the springtime charm of the Robine Canal! Between natural landscapes and historical sights, not forgetting Les Halles indoor market, discover the canal by bike and by boat. From Narbonne to the Mandirac lock before returning to the heart of the city, enjoy an experience that gets you closer to nature!

  • With children
  • Culture
  • Nature
  • Slowtourism

01 Highlight

Les Halles, a southern feel!

Visit the market halls early in the morning!

Your day begins here at Les Halles ! This Baltard-style Art Nouveau structure of glass and steel is the pride of the local people and THE place to visit in Narbonne.
Back in 1871, the city council was forced to take the decision to build an indoor market, due to lack of space at the vegetable market on Place aux Herbes (now called Place de l’Hôtel de Ville) which could no longer accommodate all the traders and had started causing problems for the flow of traffic.

Narbonne, les halles, vendeur, huile

As soon as you enter, reds and greens amid a fragrant array of Mediterranean spices carry you off on a southern journey of friendly warmth and authenticity. The local produce and the stall-holders’ smiles urge you to choose your country-style picnic .

Our parking tip:
For peace of mind, you can leave your car for the whole day on the free car park at the far end of Quai Victor Hugo (going towards the Theatre). Be warned, Thursday is market day and attracts the crowds, so get there early!

Les halles de Narbonne

02 Highlight

Quand on partait de bon matin…!

Make like Yves Montand and fetch your bike from

Hugo greets you with a smile and offers plenty of tips. All geared up and ready, you can begin your land & canal bike ride, along the bank to Mandirac Lock and back!  The return trip is about 16 km!
The towpaths are perfect for bikes as they’re fairly flat and mostly shaded, offering an easy ride for the whole family. The ideal way to find harmony with nature!

In a quiet, relaxing setting, you’ll enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Mount Canigou in the distance, and the cathedral of Saint Just & Saint-Pasteur.

Balade à vélo le long du Canal du Midi ©Céline Deschamps-ADT de l'Aude


Weather warning: to avoid uncontrollable skidding on the towpath, we recommend you do not make this trip on a rainy day!

Le Canal de la robine à vélo en famille ©Céline Deschamps-ADT de l'Aude
Pause en famille le long du Canal de la Robine à Narbonne© Céline Deschamps - ADT de l'Aude

Did you know?

What’s so special about Saint-Just-&-Saint-Pasteur Cathedral, one of Narbonne’s most prestigious monuments, is that it was never finished. The choir is the only part that’s complete!
Yet this cathedral is one of the tallest in France! Just imagine how magnificent it would be if it had been completed!

03 Highlight

Canal curiosities and discoveries!

Mandirac Lock

As you approach Mandirac Lock, you’ll spot the marine carpentry yard, an occupational integration organisation that strives to preserve the maritime & waterway heritage by restoring and rebuilding ancient vessels. The yard can be visited all year round. You’ll then experience an unexpected change of scenery. Yes, those are paddy fields all around you! This ancient crop-growing activity is not very well-known.

Narbonne, mandirac, réparation bateau, pnr

Find out more…
here are no picnic areas along the towpath, so a fold-up seat will come in handy, along with your picnic blanket, tablecloth, and perhaps a cushion if you enjoy your home comforts!

Au bord du Canal de la Robine à Narbonne © H.Blanquier-VTT Évasion

But what’s that up ahead? A seagull, a stork, or a tern? Enough to rouse your curiosity for the migratory birds that visit the area.
If you have any questions about nature preservation and the species to be found in thishabitat, don’t hesitate to visit the LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux – French Bird Protection League). The Aude departmental headquarters is right here at the lock.

04 Highlight

Under the charm of Narbonne

Sur les bords du Canal de la Robine à Narbonne ©Ville de Narbonne
Narbonne, canal de la robine, pont des marchands

Back towards the city centre of amazing, delightful Narbonne. A canal right across the city, now that’s original! Your exploration continues aboard a flat-bottomed boat, the Solal!
You’ll watch the city unfold from the comfort of the gabarre. The Pont des Marchands, the unusual bridge that faces you, is an impressive historical monument. It is one of the very few bridges in France to still be inhabited and it has that Ponte Vecchio feel.

Narbonne Lock

The crossing of the Narbonne lock, a typical hydraulic structure, will keep the children interested! The ballet of vessels going back and forth makes this tour quite an original one.

After an about-turn just before the lock of Le Gua, you return to your departure point. At the end of this pleasant trip you’ll be oozing serenity.

Narbonne, glace, enfant - cr C. Deschamps, ADT Aude

Something sweet to end with

Why not end the day on the Promenade des Barques to enjoy a drink and an icecream on the terrace of a bar or café? Charmed by the spacious pedestrian areas, under the shade of the trees, you’ll each choose your highlights of the day. Smiles and laughter, and decisions as to what to do tomorrow!

A little alternative info!
Until the 1930s, the banks of the canal “belonged” to the washerwomen (las bugadièras in the Occitan language). The linen could be seen drying on the banks! Nowadays, this area is still the beating heart of the city and a popular meeting place across the generations!

En terrasse devant le Palais des Archevêques à Narbonne ©Céline Deschamps-ADT de l'Aude


Bike ride along the Canal du Midi in Lauragais

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6 days sailing on the Canal du Midi

6 days


Navigation fluviale sur le canal du Midi, en approche de Mirepeisset © Idriss Bigou Gilles, ADT de l'Aude


Évasion au Somail sur le canal du Midi

1 jour


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Getting here ?

By car

The pay car parks of the city centre are free on weekends and bank holidays.

By train

From Toulouse -->Booking
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