Béziers Things to Do

  • Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire.
    Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire.
    by JLBG
  • Allées Paul Riquet, XXIth building
    Allées Paul Riquet, XXIth building
    by JLBG
  • Things to Do
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Most Recent Things to Do in Béziers

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    Hotel Imperator

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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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.

    Hotel Imperator Hotel Imperator Hotel Imperator
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    Nouvelles Galeries, 1930

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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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.

    Nouvelles Galeries, 1930 Nouvelles Galeries, 1930
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    House with lions’ faces

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Photo 1 shows a large mansion along the east side of Allées Paul Riquet. At first look, it is only one of the numerous mansions along the Allée as it has not many carvings. However, though it has been spoiled by the large green blind of a bar that cut hides half of it, it obviously hade a monumental entrance in the middle.

    Photo 2 is a closeup on the top part of what has been a monumental entrance. It is framed by two lions and in the middle, stands the face of a bearded god.

    House with lions��� faces House with lions��� faces
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    House with two caryatides

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Not exactly on Allées Paul Riquet but that can be seen from the Alleys, stand a house with two caryatids that seem to figure Cérès, and another figure of Cérès stands on top of the entrance photo 1). Cérès was the Roman goddess for agriculture and crops, often connected with corn. The Canal du Midi was primarily dug for corn trade. Was that a house that had something to do with corn trade of the canal, May be but I cannot be positive.

    Photo 2 shows a general view of the house.

    House with two caryatides House with two caryatides
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    Carved mansion

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    In the north-east part of Allées Paul Riquet stands a wealthy mansion built in the Empire style.

    Photo 1. This huge mansion has 11 windows on the first level and 11 windows at the second level. When, in the XIXth, there was a tax on windows and doors (Impôts sur les portes et fenêtres), the owners must have been very wealthy to pay for it !

    Photo 2. Close up on the front that has fluted columns and several carved figures.

    Photo 3. Next building is equally carved but has “only” 2 x 3 windows !

    Carved mansion Carved mansion Carved mansion
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    Place de la Victoire, behind the Theater

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    In font of the theater, extend Allées Paul Riquet. Behind the theater stand Place de la Victoire.

    Photo 1. On the east side of Place de la Victoire stands a wealthy beginning of the XXth century building, now owned by a bank, the “Société Marseillaise de Crédit”

    Photo 2. In the middle of Place de la Victoire flows a fountain.

    Place de la Victoire, behind the Theater Place de la Victoire, behind the Theater
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    Memory slabs on the theater front

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Several memory slabs stand at the bottom of the theater front

    Photo 1 reminds May 12th 1907, when 120,000 persons marched against the authorities because of the wine crisis and the soldiers refused to obey their chiefs.

    Photo 2. Belgian refugees (1939-1941 thank the citizens of Béziers for welcoming them.

    Photo 3 reminds that 10 citizens were slaughtered by the Nazi on August 20th 1944, two days before the town was freed.

    Memory slabs on the theater front Memory slabs on the theater front Memory slabs on the theater front
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    Theater

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    The theater stands at the northern end of allées Paul Riquet. It was built in 1844 and is in the style “à l’italienne” (Italian style).

    Photo 1. General view of the theater.

    Photos 2 and 3. Bas-reliefs representing scenes of the antiquity stand on top of the front of the theater, right and left. All the carvingswere made by the famous French sculptor David d’Angers.

    Photo 4. Angels stands on each part of the three entrances into the theater.

    Theater Theater Theater Theater
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    XIXth department store, allées Paul Riquet

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    This department store stands on the east side of allées Paul Riquet. It was built around1860 in a Napoleon III style, with fluted columns and a bow window in the center. It is now a sport shop, “la Halle des sports”.

    XIXth department store, all��es Paul Riquet XIXth department store, all��es Paul Riquet XIXth department store, all��es Paul Riquet
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    Paul Riquet

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Pierre-Paul Riquet was born in 1609 in Béziers from a wealthy family. He was an ingeneer and a businessman. He had the idea to dig a canal between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic ocean though it had to pass the “Seuil de Naurouze” (ground sill of Naurouze or pass of Naurouze), 189 meters above sea level. He managed to find enough water that could be diverted to feed the locks.

    In 1662, he convinced Colbert, prime minister of Louis XIV to build the canal. It costed 15 million pounds. Paul Riquet himself paid for 2 milion pounds on his own and in exchange, was awarded the toll on the canal. The canal was finished in 1680 by his two sons, one year after his death. The canal was inscribed in 1996 on the Unesco heritage list.

    In 1789, Thomas Jefferson visited the camal and took it as a model to connect the Potomac river with Lake Erie.

    Pierre-Paul Riquet Pierre-Paul Riquet Pierre-Paul Riquet Pierre-Paul Riquet
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    Allées Paul Riquet

    by JLBG Written Apr 18, 2010

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    Allées Paul Riquet are 600 meters long. They are the busiest part of the town for pedestrians. The alleys are planted with old plane trees. The center of the alleys is pedestrians only while cars are allowed on each side. Allées Paul Riquet are lined with magnificent mansion built at the end of the XIXth and t the beginning of the Xxth.

    Photo 1. Allées Paul Riquet, northward view with the theater at the end.

    Photo 2. Allées Paul Riquet, southward view with the statue of Paul Riquet at the end

    Photo 3. Allées Paul Riquet, closer to the statue of Paul Riquet

    Photo 4. Allées Paul Riquet, side walk

    Photo 5. Allées Paul Riquet, gigantic board to play chess.

    All��es Paul Riquet, northward view All��es Paul Riquet, southward view All��es Paul Riquet All��es Paul Riquet All��es Paul Riquet

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    Figures from Inside the Cathedral

    by hquittner Written Jan 16, 2010

    Inside of the church a small portion of the previous Romanesque cathedral was found to include in the present church on the north side of the nave. It consists of a corner of the nave containing a couple of ancient capitals, one figured and and a bit more, recognized as the early sculptor Maitre Gervais showing the Three Magi.

    12C Romanesque Capital Another 12C Capital 14C Stained Glass Window Louis XV Period Sculpture
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    Visit the Interior of the Cathedral

    by hquittner Updated Jan 16, 2010

    The interior of the Cathedral is of short length with a wide east end. The lateral view has the usual three levels but is too short to hold the organ. The west face contains the large organ of the 17C on the inner face of the giant Rose Window. There is a fine Glory over the center of the Altar.

    View of Altar from Nave Lateral View of Nave View of Organ and Case Inner View of Rose Window A Glory Over the Altar
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    Look Out Over the Valley of the Orb

    by hquittner Written Jan 16, 2010

    Just below the Archbishop's garden to the west there is a fine view of the river and the country side to the west. It is also easy to see the adjacent two bridges, the upper river one the Pont Vieux and just to the south the Pont Neuf. In this location is the Pont-Canal created in the 19C to allow for a side access to the canal from Beziers. Not far off is a bice park leading to the east end of the church.

    Crossings of the Orb Closer View the Pont Vieux Approaching the East End of Cathedral
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    Walk Along Along the Allees Paul-Riquet

    by hquittner Written Jan 16, 2010

    In the center of the city of Beziers is the Allees P. Riquet, which is a 600 m long and wide promenade. Along its entire length it is bordered on each lateral edge by large and ancient plane trees. At the northern end stands the Theatre built in the middle of the 19C. It has a facade covered with allegorical bas-reliefs by David d'Angers. A little over half way down the promenade is a statue of Riquet by the same sculpture celebrating the important structure of this part of France,

    The Theater at the End of the Allees The Statue of P. Riquet
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