The Horreum in Narbonne, France dated back to the first century BC and are a network of subterranean tunnel and passageways which were thought to have been used as storage rooms during the Roman era.
Although the Latin term is often used to refer to granaries, Roman horrea were used to store many other types of consumables; the giant Horrea Galbae in Rome were used not only to store grain but also olive oil, wine, foodstuffs, clothing and even marble.
These unique underground tunnels would once have formed part of the city of Narbo Martius, it is believed as the storage area for the local market in what was the capital of the Narbonne region during Roman times. The Narbonne region (Gallia Narbonensis) was known as the gateway to Celtic world.
The Horreum in Narbonne consists of several galleries, and cellars of various sizes. This complex is at some five meters below street level, and has recently been made more accessible with an entrance hall that can be used for audiovisual presentations. Today the site boasts a sound and light show which is designed to replicate the atmosphere of such an ancient marketplace.
The walls, very well preserved, are evidence of the general architectural expertise and know-how of the ancient Romans. It is the only ancient monument that still remains at Narbonne.
Although the site is not very big, the system of tunnels is a wonder of Roman engineering and well worth a visit. There is a good introductory display in the foyer of the museum as well as a gift shop area.
Make sure to buy the local travel pass if you’d like to visit other historical sites in the area, such as the Narbonne Archaeological Museum.
Getting to Horreum
The address of the site is Hooreum Romain, 7 rue Rouget de l’Isle, 11100 Narbonne. The town lies on the south east coast of France, roughly in between the cities of Montpellier and Toulouse. A train journey from either of these locations take roughly an hour and a half. If travelling via car, the A9 links Narbonne to Paris (800km) and Montpellier (100km) and the A61 takes you from Toulouse (150km). There is parking on site.
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