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Beziers France Béziers

Beziers France French Holidays

Béziers is southeast of Montpellier, midway between there and Perpignan on the A9 motorway. The Roman capital Narbonne is south towards the coast from Béziers, and the Cap d'Agde to the east. Béziers was first a Phoenician settlement before becoming a Roman military post.


During the Albigensian Crusade in 1209 it was nearly razed to the ground when Armand Amaury's men butchered thousands of people who had taken refuge in the cathedral because they were hiding about twenty Cathars. This was just usual practice for abbots in those days, it would seem. Béziers is also known for being Jean Moulin's birthplace, and for Paul Riquet the tax collector who, in the 17th century, dedicated his life and fortune to building the 240km long Canal du Midi so that ships could sail straight from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean without going all the way round Spain. Wine is also an important feature of any stay in Béziers as it is the capital of the Languedoc wine trade.

Map of Beziers

Beziers airport information

The Cathédrale St Nazaire was rebuilt in the Gothic style after it was burned down during the disasters of 1209. The towers are crenellated so that it looks something like a hybrid of a castle and a church, standing on top of its hill above the Pont Vieux. You can climb the tower and see views across the vineyards that surround Béziers, and then look in the cloister next door and the bishop's garden that overlooks the River Orb. The museums are not much cop here, but the Musée Biterrois on avenue de la Marne (€2.30) has a random collection of entertaining snippits from Greek life up to the present day wine industry.

Aside from the medieval quarter around the cathedral, Béziers offers the allées Paul Riquet, which are lined with trees, cafés, restaurants and shops, and the lovely Plateau des Poètes, an English garden full of ponds and trees that was designed by the creator of Paris' Bois de Boulogne. At 28 allées Paul Riquet is the best hotel in town, the Hôtel Imperator (04 67 49 02 25) with rooms from €70 85. The rue Viennet in the old part of town has a good restaurant selection, including the seafood experts Le Cep d'Or at number 7 with menus from €12. The more upmarket L'Ambassade at 22 boulevard de Verdun (04 67 76 06 24) serves up good menus from €24.