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This Affordable Fairytale Town Is France’s Best Kept Secret

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One of the most visited countries on Earth still holds some of its treasured towns close to the vest. In the age of information, hidden gems are becoming less and less common, but there may be no better year to add this lesser-known fairytale town to your wish list.

France is iconic, whether visiting the enchanting city of Paris, the stunning Côte d'Azur or many other cultural cities.

canal in Narbonne, France

As this captivating country is one of the most accessible European destinations for Americans to reach, France is a never-ending playground for travelers.

Major destinations can't overshadow the lesser-known favorites of locals forever, so it's time to unveil France's best-kept secret to date.

Is This France's Last Hidden Gem?

You have probably never heard of the delightful town of Narbonne, and if that's the case, you're not alone.

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of any other major destination, this historical town with roots dating back all the way to 118 BC is ready for the spotlight.

boat on canal in narbonne france

Those who do know of Narbonne may already know it as France's ‘secret Riviera'. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that's really the town's only other claim to fame thus far.

But that doesn't mean it's right. Travelers are constantly on the prowl for the next best thing and seeing that Narbonne is yet another picturesque European getaway set along scenic canals, perhaps a new tourism record will be in store among the likes of Aveiro, Portugal.

First, the curtain must be peeled back to show why you should visit a place that in all likelihood hasn't been on your radar before now.

Gothic Cathedral of Narbonne

An Affordable Trip Back In Time

At first glance, there are a couple of sites that can't go unnoticed – the lovely Robine Canal and the unfinished Narbonne Cathedral, which dates back to 1272.

Talk about procrastinators! Obviously, you can't visit this charming town without taking a romantic boat ride through the canal, or at the very least stroll the timeless adjacent streets.

The Gothic cathedral is still an architectural marvel despite being incomplete and can be enjoyed by all tourists – not just those who shop at Hot Topic.

Abbaye de Fontfroide in narbonne france

Perhaps best of all about Narbonne is its historic wonders, such as the top-rated attraction Abbaye de Fontfroide, which can be enjoyed without worrying about your travel budget.

According to eurochange, Narbonne is one of the cheapest destinations in Europe, which is great news for foodies.

The Les Halles de Narbonne is one of the most expansive food markets in France, where tourists can get both a feel and taste of the heartbeat of the town.

Additionally, flights and nice hotels give you the best bang for your buck. It probably goes without saying, Narbonne doesn't have an airport, but the nearby city of Beziers does, where budget airline RyanAir flies.

les halles market in narbonne

Beziers is approximately 40 minutes from Narbonne, while there are more flight options out of Toulouse and Montpellier, which are an hour and a half away.

Blissful Beaches

A short trip away is some of the most blissful coastlines of France. If there were ever a place to escape the Olympics crowds of Paris this year, this may be it.

Glistening golden sand awaits with lesser crowds and all the elbow room you could ask for along the coast from Plague de Chalets to Plague de Narbonne – all just 30 minutes away.

narbonne plage beach

While it's certainly no Cancun jam-packed with resorts, there are cozy accommodations dispersed along the scenic beaches, but your best bet for the top stays is just before reaching the coast.

Planning a beach day is actually the perfect excuse to partake in Narbonne's incredible wine scene with gorgeous vineyards set along the route from the city center.

The 5-star Château L'hospitalet Wine Resort Beach & Spa is the most luxurious stay in the area, overlooking the region's stunning landscapes where guests are leaving rave reviews for the high-end local wine and cuisine.

vineyard in narbonne france

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

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