Arriving in Narbonne from the motorway you could think that you were in the mid-west of America. Like many French towns the explosion of shopping malls, cheap food outlets and motels give a sense of impermanence similiar to parts of America. We averted our gaze and pressed on to the historic centre where we had been told there was a good covered food market. There was! Why does anyone shop in those supermarkets at the edge of town? The covered Halles were a treasure trove of Provençal goodies: Tapenades of garlic and also olive in huge wooden bowls. We bought some pastilla made from Brick pastry for dinner from a Moroccan lady who kept a splendidly laden market stall. It was delicious as we later discovered. She also sold tagines, spices and sweets. Across from her was a stall selling just escaroles lettuce fresh from the farm that morning. Then there were the fish stalls, olive stalls and life milling around. That is what we love about being in France!
The rest of the centre with its Bishop's Palace, excavated roman road, cathedral, canal and cafés offers such a contrast to the outskirts. Do visit the cathedral which is rich in carving and a splendid example of Provençal Gothic.