Béziers, France

My IWSG post is here.

B

L’Église Curé d’Ars.

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Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire at Pont Vieux, Copyright Peter Haas/CC-BY-SA-3.0.

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Pont Vieux, Copyright Profburp.

Plateau de Poètes.

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Fonseranes Water Slope of the Canal du Midi, Copyright Dedounet at fr.wikipedia, CC-BY-SA; CC-BY-SA-1.0.

Béziers, a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network, is a city of about 72,000 in Southern France, overlooking the River Orb and about 6.2 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. It dates back to at least 575 BCE, making it one of France’s oldest cities. The area itself has been occupied since the Stone Age. Béziers citizens are called Biterrois, based on the city’s Roman name Baeterrae.

My hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees, the story of eleven young people in the early post-WWII years, will be primarily set on a strawberry farm in Béziers. The setting moves to Béziers in December 1945, after chapters in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Paris, and Nantes (plus the flashback Part II in Poland and Germany). Apart from some outings to Paris, the setting pretty much stays in Béziers for the remainder of the book.

The religious movement of Catharism flourished in Béziers during the Middle Ages. However, since they were viewed as heretics by the Church, Pope Innocent III launched the Albigensian Crusade in 1209 to weed them out. The army reached Béziers on 21 July 1209 and asked the Catholics to identify themselves to avoid being massacred. To their credit, the city’s Catholics refused, and the Cathars also refused to surrender.

A horrific bloodbath followed, during which the city was sacked and burnt to the ground, and Catholics and Cathars alike massacred. The butchers didn’t even respect the rule of sanctuary, and burnt churches and murdered priests whom the Cathars ran to for shelter. Among the churches burnt was the Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire, which collapsed on those seeking shelter inside. No one survived, though the cathedral began being restored in 1215, from some parts which had escaped destruction.

The city is home to butchery of a different type in the modern era. Every August, they host a five-day bullfighting event which millions attend. The bullfighting is done in an arena built in 1905.

Though it’s not as well-known as Paris or Lyon, Béziers still has plenty of museums, old churches, old ruins, Medieval architecture, theatres, and parks. Much of its income comes from winemaking. A number of Medieval rabbis also lived in or visited the city.

More information:

http://www.ville-beziers.fr/

http://www.sunnyfrance.net/histoiredebeziers/index_UK.htm

http://beziers-info.com/

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19 comments on “Béziers, France

  1. Beautiful…some day…I’ll travel…

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  2. I have friends near Beziers – I really should visit 🙂

    Sophie
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles – A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX – A to Z Drabblerotic

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  3. LadyJai says:

    beautiful pictures! ❤ I've only been to Calais and Paris. 😛
    No matter where you go, though, it's always beautiful!
    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

    Like

  4. Stephanie Scott says:

    Gorgeous photos.

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  5. cheriereich says:

    Such beautiful pictures! I especially love the ones of the bridge.

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  6. datmama4 says:

    Gorgeous! I love the history lesson, too.

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  7. Absolutely gorgeous building and pics! thanks for sharing them.

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  8. Robin Rivera says:

    Your photos are wonderful. This post is a nice addition to my A to Z Challenge visits today. I’ll be checking back in again. Thanks, Robin Writeonsisters.com

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  9. Any place in France is calling my name with such warmth and melody and romance. And great wine 🙂 How beautiful this place is. Thank you!

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  10. Nana Prah says:

    Gorgeous pics.

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  11. Beautiful place. Love the last pic best.

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  12. How absolutely breath taking. I love it sooo much. I want to be standing in those place. Awesome. Glad I stumbled on you during the challenge. Don’t hesitate to visit me at http://31daysearlyirise.com

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  13. Millie Burns says:

    Interesting, I never thought of bullfighting as happening anywhere other than Spain.

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  14. Ray Yanek says:

    Beautiful photos and interesting history. What a great A to Z idea. Looking forwards to coming back!

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  15. Kim Graff says:

    Oh, this post makes me miss living in France. It’s so beautiful. I never went to Beziers, but it sounds wonderful.

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  16. These pictures are so beautiful. If only I could stop what I was doing and travel a full month through Europe.

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  17. Chrys Fey says:

    France is definitely on my wish list of destinations to visit. 🙂

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