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A PLEASANT distance from the claustrophobic tourist trail, the Beziers area of the Herault offers visitors and buyers exceptional value for money along with an opportunity to immerse themselves in an upwardly mobile area blessed with almost 300 days of sunshine per year – but none of the bothersome winds usually associated with the region.
And with Beziers airport now operational and handling flights from Bristol, Luton, (Ryanair), Southampton, (Flybe), Oslo and Stockholm (both Ryanair) there has never been a better time to invest in one of Europe’s more geographically diverse areas.
This region really does have it all, off the beaten track historic villages, cliffs, lakes, rivers, traditional markets, waterfalls, the Languedoc National Park, Lake du Salagou offering a full range of watersports, along with opportunities to fish, cycle, ramble and not forgetting numerous stunning beaches, including a nudist only area at Cap d’Agde for the more adventurous.
Bullfighting also figures prominently here and although a recent poll highlighted a nation against the sport, the famous Feria de Beziers continues to draw visitors from around the world every August. Slightly less controversial are the summer’s Languedocian sea jousts which attract an equally passionate, noisy and knowledgeable crowd.
Between July and August the average daytime temperature hovers between 25-30 degrees Celsius dropping to between 8-10 degrees in December and January and with a population of approx 75,000, Beziers is small enough to be personal yet large enough to keep the most fervent city dweller content.
THINGS TO DO/SEE Built by tax collector Paul Riquet, the Canal du Midi is a 240km long waterway containing over 100 locks and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Completed in the 13th century, the Cathédrale St-Nazaire occupies a fantastic location in the town offering unrivalled views from the concourse.
Containing many statues of poets and a monumental fountain of the Titan by Injalbert, the English style park, the Plateau des Poètes, was laid out by landscape artists, the Bulher brothers.
Founded in 1859, the Musée des Beaux-Arts houses the art collection of Jean Moulin along with work by Hans Holbein, Sebastien Bourdon, Géricault, Vincent van Gogh, Chaïm Soutine , Henri Goetz Rubens, Delacroix and many local artists.
Béziers has two arenas, one dating from the first century with a second completed in 1905 by Fernand Castelbon de Beauxhostes in the style of a Spanish bullring.
A short drive north of Beziers in the Orb valley, lies the picturesque village of Roquebrun which, almost defying gravity, clings to the cliff face above the river which is suitable for swimming. Roquebrun’s unique climate also produces a distinctive wine which can be sampled at various points.
AIR INFO Beziers Airport is approximately 10km from the centre of the town and can be found just off the N112 between Beziers and Agde. It is best accessed from the A9 using J35, ‘Beziers Est.’
DISTANCES FROM BEZIERS Barcelona: 235km Carcassonne: 78km Colombiers: 7km Lyon: 297 Marseille: 174km Montpellier: 58km Narbonne: 27km Nice: 326 Perpignan: 74km Toulouse: 150km