France
Béziers

Here you’ll find travel reports about Béziers. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

12 travelers at this place:

  • Nov20

    Can't escape the Canals

    November 20, 2017 in France

    The nearest large town is Beziers and to day we visited it to buy a replacement generator and to have a quick look around. Unfortunately, being the winter season, nothing was open on a Monday except the UNESCO World Heritage Ecluse de Fonserannes.... and what I was told is ...

    When our Harry Curtmantle and Aliénor got hitched in 1152 it was not just the merger of Plantagenent assets with Aquitaine but also the start of Britains consumption of Bordeaux wine. This powerful thirst strained the meager production of local plonk and so the good citizens outsourced to Languedoc but retaining naming rights: a trade which continues to this day.

    Unfortunately, there was a mountain range between the Med and the Atlantic so the only way to transport goods North was by jolting along in a rattley cart. In fact so bumpy was it that places such as Dijon made a reputation for themselves by turning the soured Languedoc wine into mustard.

    In order to avoid the dreaded Barbary pirates and the corrugated tracks the Southerners had dreamt of a canal "entre deux mer" for a few hundred years without ever solving the problem of water supply to the highest points of the canal. Augustus, Nero, Charlemagne, François I, Charles IX and Henry IV all dreamed of it: François I brought Leonardo da Vinci over in 1516 to survey part of a route.

    As always, a project of such scope involves hefty contributions from the tax man. In this case one taxman, (the collector of salt revenues, Pierre-Paul Riquet,) took a personal interest and eventually solved the problem. He got the backing of Louise XIV and devoted the rest of his life to digging.
    One of his achievements was to build the 9 lock lift at Fonserannes, each in the shape of a bottle, which have worked well to this day. The last photo of the modern, efficient strramlined version has never worked at all and has been abandoned.

    BTW something else I heard: each year large quantities of Sauvignon Blanc are harvested in the early hours of the mornings and driven over to Reims by nightfall. Not saying anything of course, Mums the word. Honi soit qui mal y pense.
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  • Nov27

    Atlas shrugged

    November 27, 2017 in France

    Injalbert also designed the Fontaine du Titan in The Plateau des Poètes (1867), a vast park laid out in 1867 in the English style that connects the city on top of the hill with the railway station at the bottom. OK, it isn't Titan, it is Atlas, who was one of the Titans, but they are over foreign myths in these parts.

    Nowadays the plundering is more camouflaged. Beziers scores in the top percentiles in France for the number of unemployed and the lowest income per capita. It also scores highly for the number of people paying the Impôt de solidarité sur la fortune or ISF. This was an annual direct wealth tax on those French residents having assets in excess of €1,300,000 which was substituted in September, at the behest of the rich, by an Impôt sur la fortune immobilière (IFI) a tax on real estate which ignores all other financial assets. They made their money from wine, which they made on the land they took from the locals but Atlas didn't care.

    Beziers also scored highly on the number of non-resident householders, most of whom live in Paris or Geneva. But their houses make nice photos.
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  • Nov20

    Acres of mass

    November 20, 2017 in France

    In linking Toulouse and Beziers as the start and end point of his canal, maybe PPR was reminding us of their shared 13thC catastrophe when Rome was scandalised by Catharism, with such dangerous doctrines as not needing the intervention of priests to gain salvation and not giving tons of money to Rome, which was attracting too many converts in in Southern France. Pope Innocent III sent preachers to convert the Cathars, but called a crusade after his legate, Pierre of Castelnau, was killed in January 1208.

    A Crusading army was formed in Lyon and arrived in Beziers in 1209, motivated more by spiritual umbrage than by Innocent’s declaration that they would be entitled to keep any land seized from heretics. Under the command of another papal legate, Arnaud Amalric, Abbot of Cîteaux the army arrived at Béziers and called for the surrender of the Cathars and local Catholics. Some Catholics to their credit refusing to betray the few hundred Cathars in their midst to the glories of martyrdom, and the heretics took sanctuary in the Holy Catholic Church of St Madeleine. (Only restored last year.) So when the walls fell, it was mostly orthodox Catholics killing orthodox Catholics. Well, what’s a crusading army with other cities to sack supposed to do?

    "When they discovered, from the admissions of some of them, that there were Catholics mingled with the heretics they said to the abbot “Sir, what shall we do, for we cannot distinguish between the faithful and the heretics.” The abbot, like the others, was afraid that many, in fear of death, would pretend to be Catholics, and after their departure, would return to their heresy, and is said to have replied “Kill them all for the Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Tim. ii. 19) and so countless number in that town were slain." (Caesar of Heisterbach)

    "And they killed everyone who fled into the church; no cross or altar or crucifix could save them. And these raving beggarly lads, they killed the clergy too, and the women and children. I doubt if one person came out alive … such a slaughter has not been known or consented to, I think, since the time of the Saracens." (William of Tudela, cited in Cathar Castles)

    Amarlic and Milo, a fellow legate, in a letter to the Pope, claim that the crusaders "put to the sword almost 20,000 people.

    Simon de Montfort, a prominent French nobleman, was then appointed leader of the Crusader army and was granted control of the area encompassing Carcassonne, Albi, and Béziers. After the fall of Carcassonne, other towns surrendered without a fight. Albi, Castelnaudary, Castres, Fanjeaux, Limoux, Lombers and Montréal all fell quickly.
    Although his first siege of Toulouse in 1211 was unsuccessful, he defeated the city's army two years later and then appointed himself as count before he himself died at the Siege of Toulouse in 1218. Many more thousands perished.

    Following all these disturbances, the University of Toulouse was established by the 1229 Treaty of Paris. Their basic courses in theology and Aristotelian philosophy were beefed up to combat heresy. The Dominican monastic order was founded, with its home in the Couvent des Jacobins de Toulouse. A nearly four-century holy inquisition began, centred in the city.

    Not a lot of people know this.
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  • Nov27

    Bitter memories

    November 27, 2017 in France

    Saint-Nazaire Cathedral. The original VIIth church was destroyed by Vandals and this mid-Gothic one dates from the XIVth C. The altar is quite different from Northern ones and from the Spanish ones I found. The rose window is 10m across and the vaulted nave 14m wide, reaching a height of 32m.

    Like the Chelsea Pensioners Hospital, the Romans established a town on the road that linked Provence with Iberia for veterans in 36–35 BC, called Colonia Julia Baeterrae Septimanorum.
    They built on a location used since Neolithic times, before the Celts arrived. Béziers dates from 575 BC, making it older than Agde (Greek Agathe Tyche, founded in 525 BC) and a bit younger than Marseille (Greek Massalia, founded in 600 BC). The inhabitants have been known as Biterrois ever since, and have every right to be bitter as everyone seems to think they can boss the locals around.

    We have seen the Catholic Church imposing its will by sanctioning territorial ambition, and a similar event followed Louis Napoléon's coup d'état in 1851, when troops fired on Republican protesters in Béziers. Those not shot then were captured and either condemned to death or transported to French Guiana. In the Place de la Révolution, outside the Cathedral and the old Palais de Justice, Jean Antoine Injalbert carved a monument to the 3200 deported souls. The bust on top enscribed RF stands for Republique Francaise, the woman represents the failed rebels and the bust is of a former mayor who died trying to escape.
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  • Day4

    Béziers, Frankreich

    March 22, 2016 in France

    Nach einem Zwischenstop in Narbonne geht es weiter nach Bézier.
    Wir stellen hier leider fest, dass die Franzosen zwischen 15 und 19 Uhr nichts essen und alle Restaurants geschlossen haben. Nach langer Suche haben wir in Narbonne wenigstens Crêpes bekommen und noch eine Kirche besichtigt bevor wir weiter nach Bezier gefahren sind.
    Hier haben wir dann auch was richtiges zu Essen gefunden mit einem einzigartigen Inhaber und einem fantastischen Koch.Read more

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Béziers, Beziers

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