Beziers, located 10 km from the Mediterranean Sea in the Languedoc region, is a quaint town of 70,000 inhabitants. This city has been around since the Celts founded it during the Neolithic period. Later, Beziers became a stronghold for Cathar belief causing it to be the first city destroyed during the Cathar Crusades. Beziers rebuilt and is now plays an instrumental role for Languedoc.
Pierre-Paul Rickett, a local hero, was born in Bezier and is responsible for the creation of the Canal du Midi. The Canal du Midi is the oldest working canal in the world and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. Rickett figured out a way to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean by extending the River Garonne with the canal. It took 14 years to finish Rickett’s life project. There are two statues of Rickett along the canal, one in Beziers where he was born and the other in Toulouse where he died.
Beziers is not only home to this amazing feat of engineering, but there are also many things to see and do in the town. For example:
Bullfighting: Beziers hosts an annual bullfighting event in August. Bull fighting, along with bull running and bull jumping are gaining popularity in the Languedoc region. They also parade bulls through the streets lined with cheering steptators. They bulls are very much appreciated in this region.
Sea Jousting: This is very similar to medieval jousting tournaments with a few differences. Instead of on horseback the jouster is on a plank at the back of a row boat. There are rowers and two musicians in the boat. Jousters carry a shield and a lance. The first person to get hit and get launched into the water loses. Tournaments are held throughout France, but Languedoc is the center of the sport.
Markets: There are numerous markets to visit in Beziers. A few include Flower Market, Secondhand Market, Marche Place David d’Angers (food market), and Marche de la Place de La Madeleine. The de La Madeleine market has Fresh produce on Saturdays and car boot sale on Sundays. Each market has a certain day a week that they are opened.