Art and Archbishops: Narbonne’s New Palace Museum

New Palace, Palais Neuf, Narbonne, France

From the central courtyard of the Bishops’ Palaces, you ascend a grand staircase to the suite of apartments which form the museum of the New Palace.  It is an attractive though perhaps under-developed space, which provides the briefest glimpse into the evidently grand lives of the archbishops of Narbonne in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Walking up the steps of the New Palace, Narbonne, France

I found it surprisingly difficult to find information about the palace.  This was particularly annoying since I stupidly didn’t take a picture of the tags for the frescoes, so I have no idea who they’re by.  Also when I visited various rooms were bare, because they were being redone.  All in all, it wasn’t the most rewarding place to visit… especially as the paintings on display (16th-19th century) were not so exciting.

Consuls of the year 1596, 16th century, Charles Gallieri, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Bargueño style cabinet, end of 16th century, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Ceiling decoration, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Coat of arms of Claude de Rebé, Archbishop of Narbonne, 1628-1659, New Palace, Narbonne, France. Those ducky things are marlets, which are stylised ducks without beaks or legs.

Portrait of a man, late 16th/early 17th century, Ludovico Cardi, New Palace, Narbonne, France

New Palace, Narbonne, France

Remains of fresco, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Cupid peeking out of the ceiling fresco in the New Palace, Narbonne, France

Thoughtful owl in the ceiling fresco in the New Palace, Narbonne, France

Polychrome mosaic, 2nd century AD, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Detail of the ceiling fresco of a woman with a trumpet, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Detail of the ceiling fresco of a woman with a scroll, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Detail of the ceiling fresco of a downward-looking cupid, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Detail of the ceiling fresco of a woman with a lyre, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Detail of the ceiling fresco of a woman with a trumpet, New Palace, Narbonne, France

The muse Clio, 18th century, anonymous, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Looking through the elegant rooms of the New Palace, Narbonne, France

Moasic of Lycurgus and Ambrosia, 2nd century AD, New Palace, Narbonne, France.  Ambrosia is being turned into a grapevine.

Elegant room with porcelain, New Palace, Narbonne, France

A gallery in the New Palace, Narbonne, France

Virgin in Glory, 16th century, Tintoretto, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Poirtrait of a young man, 17th century, Ferdinand Voet, New Palace, Narbonne, France

Hours of the couriers of Narbonne in 1750, New Palace, Narbonne, France

A grandly decorated suite of rooms dedicated to paintings from the Orientalism school were very well presented… but it’s not really my thing.  I did find a few pictures quite interesting, but most of all I appreciated the only air-conditioning I encountered the whole day in boiling Narbonne.

New Palace, Narbonne, France

Interior of the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Constantinople, 1881, Albert Aublet, New Palace, Narbonne, France

The rooftops of Tunis, late 19th/early 20th century Albert Aublet, New Palace, Narbonne, France

So In Summary

Of all the museums we saw in Narbonne, this was probably the weakest.  The collection is not terribly engaging, and while the decoration of the rooms is lovely, there isn’t much to keep you there for long.  I was really disappointed.  Hopefully with the changes that are occurring in the Narbonne museum world, they will improve the space – because it really could be a lovely spot to learn more about the fascinating bishops of this city.

Further Information

For some reason the museum is sometimes referred to as the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire (like on TripAdvisor) but the museum organisation of Narbonne calls it the New Palace.

There is a ticket that you can purchase which lets you into the major sites of Narbonne and can be purchased from the little office on the left as you enter the main doors of the Palace complex.

How To Get There

Please check out this post on the museums in the Palace complex for more information.

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