Things to see and do - Béziers
Biterrois Country :
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Biterrois CountryPedestrian, By car, 23 km, 2 days
Perched on a small bluff overlooking the river Orb, bombarded with steps and crowned by a cathedral, Béziers is the capital of the Languedoc vineyards. It’s an excellent starting point to appreciate the Biterrois, the beaches and the surrounding villages. A hothouse of Occitan culture, the city ignites each August with its Feria de Béziers and harbours a passion for rugby.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
A wide promenade shaded by plane trees along its 600m-length, bustling with many cafés decorated with posters for the féria and where the discussions usually centre upon the performance of AS Béziers. At the heart of the Allées stands a statue of Pierre-Paul Riquet by David d'Angers.
At one end of Allées Paul-Riquet, this 19C theatre has a façade decorated with allegorical bas-reliefs by David d'Angers.
This attractive undulating country park was created in the 19C by the brothers Bühler. It is planted with species such as Caucasus elms, Californian sequoias, magnolias and Lebanese cedars. The park takes its name from busts of Béziers poets lining its paths. Fountain of Titan by Injalbert and monument to a famous son of Béziers, Jean Moulin.
This Romanesque building was modified during the Gothic period and again in the 18C. The church was a principal site of the 1209 massacre perpetrated by Simon de Montfort's troops.
Perched on the cliff overlooking the River Orb, the cathedral was the symbolic seat of power for the bishops of Béziers from 760 to 1789. The rose window at the west end is 10m in diameter and stands between two fortified 14C towers. The chancel, remaining from the Romanesque cathedral, has 11C sculpted capitals. Beautiful sculptures in the cloister galleries. From the terrace, view over the Béziers plain, the Canal du Midi and Oppidum d'Ensérune.
The terrace abutting the cathedral provides an interesting view over the region (the River Orb, the Canal du Midi weaving among the vineyards, the Cévennes ridge and the Espinouse mountans).
Housed in the old barracks of St Jacques, this museum has major collections devoted to the region, taking in archaeology, ethnology and natural history. Terrestrial and aquatic fauna, Greek, Iberian and Roman amphorae, plus Gallo-Roman artefacts such as ceramics from La Graufesenque and military milestones from the Via Domitia.
34440 Colombiers (France)
This site on the Béziers plain appears to have been occupied since the 6C BC. It grew into a proper fortified town, prospering through trade with the Massaliots. Sacked in the late 3C BC, it was restored to prosperity with the arrival of the Romans in the Narbonne region before being abandoned during the 1C AD.
Montady Lake was drained in 1247. The best viewpoint from which to admire it is the Ensérune hill fort. From the viewing tables, the plots of land radiating from the centre become obvious: this is due to the ditches draining the water off into a collector. From there, an aqueduct passing under a hill takes the water to the bottom of the old Capestang Lake, which was drained in the 19C. The panorama can be absolutely splendid, depending on the crops and time of year.