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Béziers

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Hérault

Béziers - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Hérault
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The birthplace of Pierre-Paul Riquet, founder of the Canal du Midi, Béziers combines its age-old architecture with the beauty of the Orb, Hérault's emblematic river. A majestic monument, cherished by architecture-lovers, towers over its waters: the Cathedral of St. Nazarius, built in the 13th century. This Gothic fortress dominating the city is uniquely original. You could be forgiven for thinking you were visiting a castle! And yet the machicolations above the rose window, and the arrowslits beside the towers and turrets are only a decoy: this display was a way for the Catholic faith to assert its dominance over the Cathar heresy. Other original features await visitors inside. The carved wooden doors set in recesses in the stone are also a kind of optical illusion. They are actually never opened because of the wind, which could sweep away anything in its path.

To admire a breathtaking view of the whole of Béziers, head to the Bishop's Palace Garden (Jardin de l'Évêché) downhill from the cathedral. There you can enjoy a unique view over the Orb Plain and the city's bridges, which seem to spring from the ground. Take a stroll in the city centre along its cobbled, narrow streets. You will probably come across other treasures hidden between the old buildings, like the statue of Pépézuc, a mythical Béziers figure said to have saved the city from invaders during the Hundred Years War. Another curiosity: Béziers' old Roman arena. Unlike its counterpart in Nîmes, it is inhabited by locals. Above the ruins stand colourful residential buildings, a wonderful blend of past and present. However, visits must be arranged in advance as you cannot go in and out freely.

To get away from the urban hustle and bustle, take a trip to Béziers' old cemetery, which has echoes of Père-Lachaise in Paris. You can walk among the sculptures, cypress trees and graves, some of which are seemingly vying to be the most eccentric: unusual typography, elegant statues and other wonders adorn the stone.

Lastly, a trip to Béziers would not be complete without a visit to the legendary Allées Paul-Riquet, a pleasant avenue lined with plane trees, shops and lively café terraces.

Additional information
Béziers

Béziers, a real history book...

6500 BC: During the digging of the northern ring road of the city, remains have been discovered, the study of which proves that the history and the settlement of Béziers, at the foot of the hill Saint Nazaire, Began 6500 years ago.

The Roman occupation: The city was founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC Then comes the Roman empire: Béziers, stronghold, is connected to Narbonne by the Domitian Way. Around the city of "Biterre", grows the cultivation of the vine and the olive tree, the forests of oaks are cleared. This "Gallo-Roman" floret was then invaded by the Visigoths, who ransomed the country and settled there.

Oh, but it's Charles Martel! If Charles Martel repulsed the Saracens in Poitiers in 732, he also conquered and occupied Béziers, in 737 (destroying in passing the Roman amphitheater), while he was completing "to escort" the Arab army towards the other Side of the Pyrenees...

The Crusade against the Cathars: "Kill all, God will recognize his own". These few words of a legate of the Pope of Rome give free rein to the "grande boucherie", of 22 July 1209. A "gran mazel" as they say in Occitan. The Albigensian crusade, against the "Cathar heresy", is thus translated by the bag, the burning of Béziers and the massacre of its population. The army of the king of France and of Rome will then forty years to complete this war of pillage, of burning piles.

Troubadours and commune: Béziers is one of the first cities of the south to obtain its communal charter: it is administered by consuls, who exercise their power on the site of the old Roman forum, city ​​Hall. Béziers also very quickly espouses the culture of the troubadours. Here they are named Matfre Ermengaud, Azalaïs de Portiragnes... This sweetness of life, this cultural development, do not resist the invasions, famines, epidemics of the fourteenth century.

The Canal du Midi: to Pierre-Paul Riquet, France grateful. Pierre-Paul Riquet was born in Béziers in 1609. He designed and imagined the Canal du Midi, then obtained permission from Louis XIV to build it. Car Riquet found the solution - which the Romans were already looking for - to supply this canal permanently with water. By linking the Garonne (thus the Atlantic), to the Mediterranean, it ensures, develops and secures trade between the two seas. It follows a period of great prosperity of Béziers.

Fortunes viticoles and southern splendors: The most splendid period of the Biterroise history is in the XIXe century. The rise of industry, car and commerce opened the national and world wine market to the local vineyard. This provides work for thousands of people, resulting in unprecedented population growth. Thanks to the wine, colossal fortunes are created, the "châteaux pinardiers" flourish in the vineyards of Béziers. The Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi developed, the Alleys Paul Riquet, the Plateau des Poètes, the theater, the arenas (where Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré gave sumptuous performances). This opulence ends at the very beginning of the twentieth century. To the point that in 1907 the vine growers revolt, Clemenceau represses them to say the least severely.

Jean Moulin, the honor of France: The defeat of 1940 and the German occupation are a wound to the shameful pride of the Biterrois. It is from a house in the Champs de Mars, where it is born, that the great air of revolt rises. Jean Moulin, prefect by vocation, biterrois by birth, democrat and free by conviction, became the hero of the French Resistance. He coordinates it at the height of the Occupation. Before being betrayed, arrested, martyred. And to die in the train that takes him in deportation...

Béziers today... It is a city of almost 73 000 inhabitants, the heart of a community of agglomeration which counts 107 000. Installed in the middle of a region eminently tourist, where it finds its own place, Béziers traces its own path to the future: university development, diversification of the economic fabric, multiplication of access infrastructures (A9, A75, TGV to Spain...).

Things to see and do

Leisure activities

Last nameActivity typeRateCity
Quad bike trek on the outskirts of Béziers
Sports sensations60 € to 240 € Thézan-lès-Béziers

Places of interest

Leisure centres
Monuments
Performance halls
Transport

Events and festivities

Feria de Béziers the weekend of August 15.

Lamouche-art Exhibition Gaze
Exhibition of Laura Labri Laborie and Genevieve Seille - oss&Tures
Exhibition - Carte Blanche to Philippe Brel
Atelier Creation Vegetale
Macrame Workshop
Jover Exhibition
Photo Exhibition - Gérard Sendra
Feast of the Caritats 2022
Dedication Meeting of Elisabeth Correvon - Guerisseurs de l'invisible
Program of Friday, May 27 - Feast of the Caritats 2022

Photos

The Orb
The Orb
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Bullring Béziers
Bullring Béziers
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The aisles Paul Riquet
The aisles Paul Riquet
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Cloitre Saint Nazaire
Cloitre Saint Nazaire
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The 9 locks Fonseranes
The 9 locks Fonseranes
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Ancient Roman amphitheater
Ancient Roman amphitheater
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Stele Jean Moulin
Stele Jean Moulin
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Sham Arlesienne
Sham Arlesienne
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Mayor of Béziers
Mayor of Béziers
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Plateau of Poets
Plateau of Poets
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Madeleine Church
Madeleine Church
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municipal Theater
municipal Theater
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Garden Villa Antonina
Garden Villa Antonina
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Front downtown
Front downtown
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The halls of Béziers
The halls of Béziers
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Plateau of Poets
Plateau of Poets
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Organ of St. Nazaire Cathedral
Organ of St. Nazaire Cathedral
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Aqueduct
Aqueduct
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Quai Port Neuf
Quai Port Neuf
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Theater Zinga Zanga
Theater Zinga Zanga
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Stadium Mediterranean
Stadium Mediterranean
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Béziers
Béziers
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Béziers
Béziers
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Canal du Midi - Béziers
Canal du Midi - Béziers
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Locks Fonseranes
Locks Fonseranes
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Restaurants

Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals

Campsites

Hotels

Your holidays
A hotel
A vacation rental
A bed & breakfast
A campsite
A leisure activity
A restaurant
A rental car
A plane ticket
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