Sunday, May 20, 2018

Twofer: Pezenas and Beziers

John had his heart set on seeing the water management of the Canal du Midi in Beziers. The Canal du Midi, completed in 1676, is 250 kilometers long and is part of a system of waterways that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

During our train versus bus analysis, we realized that the town of Pezenas, where the Montpellier-Beziers bus switches, is a place of interest in its own right plus it's Saturday market day. At two euros for the 80 km bus ride, we could not resist the bargain.

We ended up seeing Pezenas during their Saturday market, then finishing walking around town on our way back in the afternoon. Pezenas' well preserved medieval center is the most architecturally harmonious town/village we have come across. Their Saturday Market is not unlike the ones we saw in Provence, maybe not so many international visitors. Many French families were simply enjoying a beautiful Saturday.

Beziers was bigger than I expected, though the historical center emptier than Pezenas. As everywhere else in France, there is much remodeling of public spaces. Beziers, started by Greeks, is one of the oldest towns in France; and with a tumultuous history.

Today Beziers still has an impressive looking fortress-like cathedral. The UNESCO Canal du Midi 1) goes over the river Orb on a bridge 2) drops precipitously at 9-stage lock on the edge of town. However, their main industry, wine, has seen much international competition in recent decades, so the town is not exactly booming. Yet, I think the town deserves more traffic.

The Pezenas Market.
Pézenas, France

Pézenas, France

And around town.
Pézenas, France

In the Jewish Ghetto
Pézenas, France

The Moliere Hotel.
Pézenas, France

On to Beziers. City Center.
Béziers, France

Church with boat image.
Béziers, France

Hotel de Ville (City Hall).
Béziers, France

Around Town.
Béziers, France

Béziers, France

Not easy to get an up-close view of the Cathedral...
Béziers, France

...but there are some great views from the Bishop's Garden - also = picnic lunch spot. See the old Roman bridge over the Orb at lower left.
Béziers, France

Beziers' Roman Arena is now an open space garden with just a hint of its past glory.
Béziers, France

Béziers, France

The views of the Cathedral improve as one goes down to the river and the old bridges.
Béziers, France

Béziers, France

Béziers, France

Béziers, France

Béziers, France

Approaching the staircase Fonserannes Locks of the Canal du Midi with 9 locks (8 basins).
Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

A boat is going downstream through the locks which generates excitement from young and old.
Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

We I could have watched the locks for hours, but there was a bus to catch so it's downstream to the Pont Canal where the Canal du Midi crosses the Orb River on a bridge.
Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

And then to the bus.
Canal du Midi - Béziers, France

A view from the bus window that is more or less towards Sete, France.
Looking from the bus window towards Sète, France

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