Saint Nazaire Cathedral and the Jardin des Evêques
Standing proudly at the top of Béziers, this first became an Episcopal church in 760. Originally a Roman temple, then a Romanesque church, it was destroyed when Béziers was sacked in 1209. The present cathedral dates from the 13th and 15th centuries.
Don’t miss: the view from the top of the central tower. Its unfinished cloisters give access to the Jardin des Evêques (Bishops’ Gardens), which are terraced, with views across the plain of the river Orb and the Mediterranean sea.
Dating back to the 19th century, this is a testament to the fortunes of Béziers’ wine-producing families. Their mausoleums have been decorated with weeping and recumbent statues by artists such as Injalbert. This is Béziers’ answer to the famous Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, but with cypress trees and mountain views...
Don’t miss: the statue of Notre-Dame-du-Moucadou, the granter of wishes.
Open daily from 08:00 to 18:00.
Pont Vieux (Old Bridge)
You can’t miss this! A feat of 12th century engineering with its15 arches, measuring 241 metres long, this was for a long time the only river crossing on the way from Marseilles to Toulouse. Charles VII and Louis XI praised it, in letters sent to the Consuls of Béziers, describing it as a bridge "of great antiquity, sumptuous and a triumph of construction". It was listed as a Historic Monument of France in 1963.
Free public access.
Allées Paul Riquet and Municipal Theatre
This avenue was created in 1827 above the former, filled-in ditches of the town ramparts (which were razed to the ground in the 17th century). Bordered with restaurants, terraces and shops, it is Béziers’ main thoroughfare. A statue of Pierre-Paul Riquet, sculpted by David d’Angers in 1838, stands here.
Don’t miss: the delightful flower market on a Friday. At the end of the Allées is the Municipal Theatre, built in 1844. With an auditorium that can seat 500 people, this is the only theatre of its type in France which still has its ‘candy box’ interior decoration.
Jardin des Poètes
Designed to connect the train station to the Allées Paul-Riquet in the 19th century. Created by the Bühler brothers (who were responsible for the Bois de Boulogne in Paris), this public garden was named after the collection of busts of Béziers poets to be found along its paths, dominated by the Fontaine du Titan - a huge fountain sculpted by Injalbert.
Open daily: 15/10-31/03: 07:00-18:00; 15/04-14/10: 07:00-20:00