At the heart of Hérault, the small city of Pézenas has great visitor appeal with its magnificent old architecture and exceptional crafts. Sculptors, potters, cabinetmakers, glassblowers and so many others contribute to Pézenas' rich heritage.
This treasure is a legacy of the city's glorious past. As the capital of the Estates General of Languedoc in the 16th century, the city enjoyed a golden age: many private mansions were built alongside other sumptuous buildings. Today, you can visit some of them, such as the Lacoste mansion, which houses a very fine rib vaulted vestibule, as well as a magnificent square spiral staircase. The Malibran mansion, meanwhile, is remarkable for its façade decorated with mascarons of smiling female faces. Admire the wrought iron balconies, a reminder of the opulence of the period.
As Languedoc's answer to Versailles, Pézenas welcomed some illustrious personalities, the most famous of whom was Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière. As he was not welcome in the French capital, he moved to Pézenas in 1647. In a small square on Place du 14 Juillet, a monument is dedicated to him, created in 1897 by Jean-Antonin Injalbert.
Continue your visit to Pézenas by strolling through the cobbled streets where the old houses - some of which date back to the Middle Ages - are decorated with colourful shutters echoing the bright hues of the art and craft shops. At the House of Crafts (Maison des Métiers d'Art), based in the 17th-century former consular house, you can discover work by creative craftspeople, such as sculptures, jewellery, fashion items, tableware and decorative objects. You can't leave Pézenas without a handmade souvenir! To add a gastronomic touch to your visit, indulge in the succulent petits pâtés de Pézenas (pies with a sweet and savoury mutton filling) from Maison Alary.