6500 BC: During the excavation of the northern bypass of the city, the remains were unearthed, the study shows that the history and settlement of Béziers at the foot of the hill of Saint Nazaire, started there a 6500 years.
The Roman occupation: The city was founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC Then came the Roman Empire Béziers, fortress, is connected to Narbonne by Domitian. Around the city of "Biterre" develops the culture of the vine and the olive, oak forests are cleared. This "Gallo-Roman" jewel is then invaded by the Visigoths, who fleece the country and settled there.
Oh, but Charles Martel! If Charles Martel repulsed the Saracens at Poitiers in 732, he also conquered and occupied Béziers in 737 (destroying the way the Roman amphitheater), as he finished the "renew" the Arab army, to the other side of the Pyrenees ...
Crusade against the Cathars: "Kill them all, God will recognize his own." These few words of a papal legate of Rome give free rein to the "great slaughter" of 22 July 1209. A "mazel gran" as they say in Occitan. The Albigensian Crusade, against "the Cathar heresy", thus resulting in the bag, the fire Béziers and the massacre of its population. The army of the king of France and Rome will then forty years to complete this war looting, burnings expiation.
Troubadours and common: Béziers among the first cities in the south get its municipal charter: it is administered by consuls who exercise their power over the site of the ancient Roman forum, where now stands the City Hall. Béziers wife also quickly growing troubadours. Here they are named Matfre Ermengaud, Azalaïs Portiragnes ... This easy living, this cultural development, do not resist invasions, famines, epidemics of the 14th century.
The Canal du Midi: Pierre-Paul Riquet, a grateful France. Pierre-Paul Riquet was born in Béziers in 1609. He draws and imagine the Canal du Midi, then gets Louis 14th permission to build. Because Ricky has found the solution - already tried the Romans - to supply water to the channel permanently. By linking the Garonne (ie the Atlantic), the Mediterranean, he says, develops and secures trade between the two seas. Follows a period of great prosperity Béziers.
Wine fortunes and southern splendor: The most prosperous period in Béziers history is the 19th century. The rise of industry, the car and open trade at the local vineyard national and global wine market. It provides employment to thousands of people, causing unprecedented population growth. With wine, colossal fortunes are created, the "castles pinardiers" blooming in Beziers vineyard. The company Railway du Midi develops, builds on Paul Riquet, the board of Poets, theaters, arenas (where Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré give lavish performances). This opulence ends at the beginning of the 20th century. To the point that in 1907 the tenants rebelled Clemenceau represses at least severely.
Jean Moulin, the honor of France's defeat in 1940 and the German occupation is an injury to the touchy pride of Beziers. It is a home to the Champs de Mars, where he was born, that rises the air of rebellion. Jean Moulin, prefect by vocation, Beziers by birth, free and democratic conviction, becomes the hero of the French Resistance. The coordinates at the height of the occupation. Before being betrayed, arrested, tortured. And die in the train that took him to deportation ...
Béziers today ... It is a city of nearly 73,000 people, the heart of an urban community that has 107,000. Located in the heart of a highly touristic area, where she finds her own place, Béziers traces its own path to the future: academic development, diversification of the economic base, increase in access infrastructure (A9, A75, TGV to the Spain ...).
The Canal du Midi: the genius of a man ...
The statue of Pierre-Paul Riquet: She came to the throne of Aisles that bear his name. Born in 1609 to Béziers, it was the equivalent of a tax inspector present in the region of Languedoc. In 1662, he proposed to the King's plan to create a canal connecting the Atlantic to the Mediterranean via the Garonne. One idea already advanced by the Romans, among others. But ever. In 1666, Louis the 14th entrusted the construction of the canal, which leads to the Thau lagoon and saw the creation of the port of Sete. Pierre-Paul Riquet urges his fortune in the construction of the Canal du Midi (then the Royal Canal of Languedoc). He died on 1 October 1680, exhausted by the task, so it remained only to dig 1.6 kilometers before reaching the Thau lagoon?? His son takes over the site, and the Canal was opened eight months later. Pierre-Paul Riquet was knighted by Louis 14th in 1674, became Baron Bonrepos (Canton Verfeil Haute-Garonne), and his remains lie beneath a marble slab in the cathedral of Saint-Etienne in Toulouse. And his work was classified as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 1996.
Technical Canal: Length: 240 km (from Toulouse to the entrance to the Etang de Thau) - Channel Width: 20 m at the surface to the bottom 11 m - Depth of Channel: 2 m - average vertical drop: 58 m between Toulouse and the threshold Naurouze (Haute-Garonne), 110 m between Sete and Naurouze - Total number of locks: 63 - Total number of Structures: 350 (130 bridges) - Volume of earthworks: 7 million m3 of earth touched by hand - Construction time: 14 years.
The 9 locks Fonseranes: This is the major work of the canal at the foot of Béziers: eight egg-shaped basins (this is more resistant to pressure), nine gates, which can take a drop of 21.50 m, a length of 300 m. The majesty of the place, the technical prowess and engineering they are, grab the visitors still locks Fonseranes: they are the third most visited tourist site in Languedoc-Roussillon, after the Pont du Gard and Carcassonne. Historical monument since 1996.
The Canal Bridge: Built in Fonseranes immediately downstream, this "boat deck" spans the Orb since 1858. It facilitates the navigation of barges, overcomes the difficulties associated with very irregular flow of the Orb. Top 12 m wide, 28 m, 240 m along the canal bridge also has, since inception, a gallery which runs under the channel to facilitate inspections of the work.
River Tourism: Béziers invites you to discover the charm of boating holidays on the Canal du Midi. Another way to achieve your romantic weekend is to let yourself be seduced by a cruise on the canal. You can also use the towpaths to explore the surrounding area while walking (biking, hiking, etc..) Or a ride (horse, tour, etc..) Or hiking (mountain bike, trek , etc..).
Béziers, nose in the air: General Tour of the birth of the city until today (duration 2 hours).
Paul Riquet or the work of a life: how and why this child Béziers created the Canal du Midi (1H30).
Beziers Walks over water, boat trips, locks of Fonseranes New Port Pier, passing by the Canal Bridge. Reservations at the Tourist Office.
Béziers: Romanesque and Gothic Cathar. Discover all the medieval heritage in the city (1h30).
La Belle Epoque Béziers: the 19th century was so prosperous that he changed the face of the city (1h30).
"Ole! Béziers": enter the backstage arenas, rituals and culture bullfighting.
Walking the gardens, four walks, botanical and bucolic (duration 2 hours).
The Bestiary Biterrois: gargoyles, chimeras and monsters populate the stones (duration 2 hours).
Secrets course: behind the eaves of houses of Béziers, the legacy of medieval times, the classical period of prosperity wine (duration 2 hours).
Pere Lachaise is good, old cemetery is better! : Statuary and sumptuous tombs, this place is an outdoor museum (duration 2 hours).