Béziers Things to Do

  • Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire.
    Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire.
    by JLBG
  • Allées Paul Riquet, XXIth building
    Allées Paul Riquet, XXIth building
    by JLBG
  • Beautiful stained glass in the chapel.
    Beautiful stained glass in the chapel.
    by Jerelis

Most Recent Things to Do in Béziers

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    Discovery tour

    by egonwegh Updated Oct 11, 2012
    Beziers, Rue Canterelles, statue of a Saint

    Be on the look out for quaint sights in the old town of Beziers. We found this statue of a Saint on the corner of Rue Canterelles. Maybe it's the popular St. Denis, the first bishop of Paris, who is often portrayed carrying his head in his hands.

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    Eglise de la Madeleine – Church St Mary Magdalene.

    by Jerelis Written Jul 3, 2012
    A view at Eglise de la Madeleine.

    When we arrived we learned that de precise date of founding of the church Eglise de la Madeleine (Church of St Mary Magdalene) is not exactly known. But its origins trace back to marks in the 11th and 12th century. This was the period when the Cathars first appeared in southern France. By the later 1100s the papacy was making concerted efforts to combat the Cathars, who were starting to form their own churches and were being protected by the local nobles.

    We had no idea that this beautiful church was situated here and we ran into it by accident. The funny thing is that with the measures of 53 meters long and 24 meters wide it is even larger than the famous Cathedral of Saint Nazaire … which is the main tourist attraction of the city. But anyway, to our huge disappointment the church was closed and we were not able to enter it. But moving around its makes a visit also worthwhile. A good look made me notice that this church has both Romanesque and Gothic structures.

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    Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus – Painted interior!

    by Jerelis Written Jun 21, 2012
    Can you believe this is all painted?
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    It really doesn't matter how you travel towards Béziers. Whether you come by car or by bike you will finally arrive at a parking lot just outside the village center. When you're at that particular parking lot and you ask about the city center of Béziers you can't miss the important promenade / lane Allée Paul Riquet. Once at that place we saw a little tower, which was of the Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus. Although we immediately said to ourselves that we wanted to visit this church / chapel we first walked our way up to the Café La Comedie to have e nice and cold refreshment. It's therefore very funny to notice that after strolling through some beautiful small streets we finally ended up at the backside of the Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus. The site we definitely wanted to see when we first arrived. Right now it was at the end of the afternoon and we were thrilled to see the Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus as a highlight at the end of the beautiful day. The chapel was still open for visitors, so off we went!

    Once inside we immediately saw the altar which is the center of the interior design. The amazing thing is that this altar is painted in 3D. All the marble is really painted! It took me a few minutes to adjust my eyes and see that is was for real! Also the different surfaces covering a wooden structure has been painted, amazing!. The altar painting, dedicated to St. Jerome still is the most vital piece in church interior design. We walked around a bit and can honestly say that this chapel is a must visit!

    Opening hours:
    Monday - Friday: 07:30h - 12:00h and 14:00h - 18:00h
    Saturday: 07:30h - 12:00h
    Sunday: closed

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus - Beautiful chapel.

    by Jerelis Updated Jun 21, 2012
    Walking towards the chappel via Rue Pellisson.
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    In the summer of 2011 we stayed with our three kids in the small village of Narbonne. On a heavily cloudy day we decided to go the city of Béziers, and we were not sorry for that. The origin of the village of Béziers can be traced way back, since it has been occupied in Neolithic times, turning it into one of the most ancient spots of the region. Béziers is famous for its historic town center and of course the bridge Point Vieux and the St. Nazaire Cathedral, which has been very well preserved for several hundred years. Funny thing was that at the moment we entered the city the sky opened up and the sun did arrive! Time for us to explore the village.

    We parked the car and walked our way up to the city center, Allée Paul Riquet (main square / lane) of Béziers. After a nice refreshment at Café La Comedie we hiked our way into the deserted alleys and one of the buildings which stroked the eye immediately was the amazing Church / Chapel: Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus. There has been a church on this location ever since the 15th century when a Franciscanen community was founded on the site. We learned that in the 18th century a part of the building was destroyed during the French Revolution. As a result the chapel was partly rebuilt in early Baroque style by the end of the 18th century.

    Opening hours:
    Monday - Friday: 07:30h - 12:00h and 14:00h - 18:00h
    Saturday: 07:30h - 12:00h
    Sunday: closed

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus – Lighting a candle.

    by Jerelis Updated Jun 21, 2012
    Beautiful stained glass in the chapel.

    Although we were quite early when we first arrived at the Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus in Béziers we were still allowed to enter it. A huge advantage of our early arrival was the fact that there were almost no tourists. Either the bus / coach was still on his way or everybody was having a breakfast in their hotel. Whenever we visit a church the kids always want to burn a candle, it has become a bit of a tradition. The Sight of burning votive candles - real or electronic - is common in most Catholic churches. The candles are usually placed before statues of saints or at shrines. But how did this tradition get its start?

    According to A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, by Ann Ball, the practice of lighting candles in order to obtain some favor probably has its origins in the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. The lights burned as a sign of solidarity with Christians still on earth. Because the lights continually burned as a silent vigil, they became known as vigil lights. Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means "waiting" or "watching") are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed. So for us lighting a candle is a way of extending our prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf our prayer is offered.

    Opening hours:
    Monday - Friday: 07:30h - 12:00h and 14:00h - 18:00h
    Saturday: 07:30h - 12:00h
    Sunday: closed

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  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire.

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Cath��drale Saint-Nazaire.

    Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire stands on top of the city and when coming from the west (from Narbonne), can be seen long before reaching Béziers. It was built in the XIVth in what is named “Gothique Méridional”. On this photo, it is seen from the Romanesque bridge. We were short of time to get closer and visit the cathedral

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  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    Le Pont Vieux

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Le Pont Vieux
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    Le Pont Vieux is a Romanesque bridge that was built on the Orb river by the Romans . In 1209, when Béziers was invaded and plundered, it was already there and already named the old bridge. Since then, it is still standing though the Orb river has terrible floods. Good job !

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    Les Halles

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Les Halles
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    “Les Halles” is a covered market in the old center of Béziers (Place Pierre Sémard). “Les Halles” were built between 1895 and 1897 in the Balthard style. They are a copy of Pavillon Balthard in Paris. They are open everyday except Monday from 6 AM to 1 PM. Besides food booth, they host a restaurant.

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    Basilique Sainte Aphrodise

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Basilique Sainte Aphrodise
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    Basilique Sainte Aphrodise was the first cathedral of Béziers, now a parish church. It is closed for heavy repairs of the inside. The nave dates from the Xth while the choir, in gothic style, was built in the XIVth.

    It is dedicated to Saint Aphrodise, the Saint patron of Béziers. He is said to have arrived in Béziers from Egypt on camel back around AD 250. He was the first bishop of Béziers and was beheaded by the Romans. Every year, on Sainte Aphrodise day (28 April), a puppet of the Saint, holding his head in his hands and a puppet camel are lead through the streets of the city.

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  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    La Tentation

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    La Tentation

    This building, stands at 21, rue de la République, at the street crossing with Rue d’En-Vedel. On top, a small dome bears a name in golden letters : “la Tentation”. That was at the beginning of the Xxth the name of a nationwide chain of stores that sold fancy underware for women, Paris style, hence the name.

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    Some more mansions along Allées Paul Riquet

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    All��es Paul Riquet, XXIth building
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    I might have photographed every building along Allées Paul Riquet as each is interesting but that I felt that I should better try to outline only the best ones. Here are some more.

    Photo 1. Allées Paul Riquet, esat side: every building have been built during the second half of the XIXth.

    Photo 2. There are several bars with pleasant terraces under the plane trees that allow to rest and look at the architecture.

    Photo 3. This building has nine different faces carved on its front, above each window. Are they fancy or do they represent real people, I don’t know but they are so different that I believe they represent real people.

    Photo 4. At the street corner with rue de la République, this is not Marianne (traditionally featuring the Republic) but Virgin Mary with child that is represented .

    Photo 5. A single face at number 2 of a side street.

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    Amazingly carved mansion near the theater

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Amazingly carved mansion near the theater
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    Photo 1. At the northern end of Allées Paul Riquet, at the corner with rue de la Coquille an amazingly carved mansion is the seat og the “Librairie du theater” (theater bookshop).

    Photo 2 is a bas-relief with a devil’s face in the middle of a vegetal interlacing.

    Photo 3 shows a human figure that looks rather modern (owner of the mansion ?), in the center of an even larger vegetal interlacing. Too bad I have not found any information upon this puzzling building.

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    Mansion overlooking Paul Riquet’s statue

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Mansion overlooking Paul Riquet���s statue

    An imposing 6 levels mansion overlook the statue of Pierre Paul Riquet, at the south end of Allées Paul Riquet, at the corner with Avenue Camille Saint-Saëns. I have not found the history of this building, which should have been built under Napoléon III.

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    Hotel Imperator

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Hotel Imperator
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    Hotel Imperator stands on the west side of Allées Paul Riquet, number 28. Unfortunately, it is half hidden by ugly metal structures. It was built around 1870 (photo 1).

    The entrance is worth a closer look (photo 2) The entrance is framed by twin caryatides that might feature the goddess Cérès, crowned with corn.

    Photo 3 shows that each caryatide holds a fluted column.

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    Nouvelles Galeries, 1930

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Nouvelles Galeries, 1930
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    Near the theater, on the east side of Allées Paul Riquet stand the Nouvelles Galeries building, a department store built in 1930. The outside has remained unchanged since then (photo 1)

    Photo 2 is a close up on the highest level, with its carvings.

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