Last Updated on 20th August 2018 by Sophie Nadeau
With its very own international airport and easy transport links to the rest of France, there is no better time than now to visit Beziers, a historic city in the South of France. Here are five incredible reasons to visit this Southern French city ASAP!
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to visit Beziers for the first time during a solo trip in the South of France. I’d been searching for a French hidden gem, a diamond in the rough, with easy transport links and a nearby international airport (which was also affordable for me to fly into the following day). The result? Beziers, a city I soon grew to love and am already planning a return trip soon!
Beziers is an offbeat French destination
While not as popular as the ever touristic nearby city of Montpellier, Beziers can be found along the secret French Riviera, an area of France which is sure to rise in popularity over the next couple of decades. As such, the best time to visit Beziers is right now, before all the other tourists arrive!
Even if you choose to visit during the European peak season (though I’d personally recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons– late Spring/ early Autumn if you’re able), there will be fewer crowds in the city than if you were to visit Provence or Bordeaux.
Beziers is quintessential France at its best
For those seeking the bright lights of Paris and the attractions that other European cities have to offer, Beziers is not the place for you. Instead, the charm of this underrated city lies in its meandering lanes, few museums, and quieter pace of life.
Highlights of the city, of which the heart of the historic old town is actually a citadel perched high above the river below, include spying some of the best views Beziers has to offer, as well as ascending the dizzying heights of the cathedral bell tower.
If you’re looking for a literal luxury, then Beziers has this too. During my time in the city, I was lucky enough to spend two blissful nights at l’Hotel Particulier Beziers, a former family mansion with all the luxuries you’d expect from an up-to-date and modern hotel.
There are plenty of nearby UNESCO world heritage sites
From Roman history to more modern events, Beziers is probably best-known for the tragic persecution of the Cathars, the site on which the fortified Beziers cathedral now stands. Elsewhere in the city, Beziers is the birthplace of Paul Riquet, the man who went on to engineer the Canal du Midi.
A twenty-minute walk from the city centre, the neuf Ecluses des Fonseranes (the nine locks of Fonserannes) is included within the UNESCO listing for the Canal du Midi and the impressive stepped locks were opened to the public in 1697.
Beziers is one of the oldest cities in France
When you think of historical destinations in France, Beziers probably isn’t the first place you think of- and not just because you’ve never heard of the Southern French city before! However, it’s true! Beziers is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in France, having been lived in since 575 BCE.
Nearby Marseille was first inhabited in 600 BCE, making it just a couple of decades older than Beziers. Nearby Agde was founded in 525 BCE. Today, the city is full of history; the Vieux Pont, Medieval Citadel, and remains of the Roman Arena, to name but a few examples.
Day trips from Beziers couldn’t be easier!
The former Roman port city of Narbonne, the working fishing town of Sete, and the ever-growing settlement of Montpellier can all be found less than an hour via train from Bezier’s city centre. As such, Beziers makes for the perfect place to base yourself over the course of a long weekend.
Should you wish to rent a car, it’s also incredibly easy to drive off into the hills and vineyards surrounding the city and see what the countryside has to offer! For those with four-wheel transportation, the picturesque villages of Roquebrun and Cap d’Agde can both be visited within a forty-five-minute drive of Beziers.
The quaint town of Narbonne is filled with history and is a typically Southern French city.