Photo 1. At one end of Cours Jean-Jaurès stands a fountain with putti riding dolphins that spit water.
Photo 2. On top of a column that bears the motto of France, « Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité », stands an armed allegoric statue figuring the Republic and holding « Droits de l’Homme » (Human rights) on a lightening. The statue was molded in 1880 and the fountain built in 1887.
Photo 1. Hôtel Bazin de Bezons is a large building standing at 22, Cours Jean-Jaurès. It is not open for visits and is privately inhabited. Bazin de Bezons was “intendant du Languedoc” (administrator of the Languedoc province). The mansion was built in the XVIIth.
Photo 2. It is registered at the “inventaire des Monuments Historiques” for its “porte à colonne et ponton” (Entrance with columns and pontoon)
Photo 3. On top of the columns, the « ponton » (pontoon?) is carved with a coat of arms
Photo 1. « Porte biaise » is an amazing crooked entrance. The architect had a hard time to cheat with perspective in order to give it a « normal » look. Actually, it does not look really “normal” but rather strange!
Photo 2. On top of the entrance, a grinning human ( or devilish ?) head. On the lintel are alternately carved a stylized flower (rose ?) and a cow’s head (or sheep’s ?) Strange!
Same as several cities in the Languedoc, Pézenas had in the XIIIth a significant Jewish population. Jews would have established in Pézenas around 1298, coming from Spain, Portugal and Italy. As the Pézenas fairs were so important, Jews played a main part in changing and lending money as well as interpreters between traders from various countries. The ghetto corresponds to two streets. One is named “Rue Juiverie”, the other “rue des Litanies”. The Jewish community in Pézenas has been expelled by the king in 1394 and was one of the last to be expelled.
Photo 1. Entrance into the ghetto. On the right, Porte biaise (see next tip).
Photo 2.Vaulted entrance into the ghetto.
Photo 3. Entrance into Rue Juiverie
Photo 4. Rue Juiverie
Pézenas has plenty of vaulted passages.
Photo1. This wide and low vaulted passage is an entrance into the old city from the Castle square (north).
Photo 2. The same passage, from the old city.
Photo 3 and 4. Porte de Faugères is a main entrance into the old city from south
Photo 1. The Tourist Office offers guided visits of the old town but there was none available when we visited, out of season. I am sure that they give details on special houses such as this one that has a turret included in its front. I suppose it was part of the defense system of the city.
Photo 2, nearby, this house must have been built at the end of the XIXth.
Conas castle stands on top of Pézenas. The castle was first built in the XIIIth but nothing remains of that period. The estate is private and the castle, built in the beginning of the Xxth by Raymond de Thézan-Poujol is not open for visits.
Photo 1 and 2 : Entrance into the castle.
Le Chateau, fondé par les Celtes 497 avant JC. (the Castle, founded by the Celts 497 BC)
Forteresse de Jules César.(Fortress of Julius Cesar)
Séjour des Rois (Home of kings)
Louis VIII 1226, Louis IX 1252
Résidence du Connétable de Montmorency 1555. (Residence of High Constable de Montmorency 1555)
Démoli par ordre de Richelieu 1633. (Put down ordered by Cardinal Richelieu, 1633)
Photo 4. Place du château, the square in front of the castle.
Photo 1 shows two unnamed (or unidentified) two wealthy private houses that must have been built in the XVIIIth and that are typical of on of the styles found in Pézenas.
Photo 2 shows the entrance into a modest private house, which is typical of another kind of houses in Pézenas.
Musée de Vulliod Saint-Germain stands in Hôtel Saint Germain (Saint Germain mansion/palace), built in the XVIth, entirely restored in the XVIIth and XIXth. The building itself, outside and inside is worth a visit. At ground level, grave stones collected in the city are displayed. The first level show pieces of Languedoc made furniture from the XVIth and XVIIth as well as armors. On the second level, Languedoc china from the XVIIIth are on display. And much more items related to the Languedoc province.
It is usually closed in winter, this year from Nov 12 2009 to February 15th 2010.
Impasse Simon Ducros (Dead End Simon Ducros) is a small, rather dilapidated street (photo 2) but it has an amazing, vaulted entrance (Photo 1) with one pillar on the right and two on the left. There might have been at some time a door.
Photo 3 shows that this vaulted entrance is half hidden by the terrace of the restaurant where we had dinner.
In the middle of the front of the Hôtel des Consuls flows a beautiful fountain. Water flows out of two tapes in a double shell carved in the local limestone. On top, stands a medallion with a coat of arm that has been erased, most possibly during the Revolution.
Photo 3. Our little dog was thirsty and was happy to have plenty of water to drink!
Hôtel des Consuls (Consuls’ Palace) stands on Place Gambetta. The front was built in the XVIIIth but the building itself dates from 1552. It was for a long time the seat of the « États du Languedoc », ie the Assembly of the Languedoc province. This shows how important Pézenas was.
Collégiale Saint Jean was built at the beginning of the XVIIIth after the old Templar church was entirely put down when its clock tower fell down into the nave of the church itself. The main nave has vaults with sharp groins while the side naves have vaults with pendentives.
Musée du jouet (Toy museum) is a small museum dedicated to every kind of toy. They have 800 different toys.
Open from Tuesday through Sunday at least 2 PM to 7 PM. More opening, depending of the periods (see website). Closed on Mondays.
Adult : 5 euros
Children over 10 : 3.5 euros
Children under 10 : free
Office de Tourisme de Pézenas Val d'Hérault stands in the « Ancien hôtel de Peyrat » (ancient Peyrat mansion or palace).
Ancien hôtel de Peyrat was built in the XVIIth and modified in the XVIIIth. The tower is older and dates from the Middle Ages. It is the only remaining part of the city wall.
The Tourist Office offers guided visits of the old town.