One would sometimes like to sum up the Languedoc with its vast sandy beaches. However, it is in the back of the Mediterranean coast that some of its most beautiful jewels hide. Pézenas is one of them. During your CAMPING HOLIDAY IN THEHERAULT IN OCCITANIE,be sure to discover this beautiful medieval city anchored in History, in the heart of the Languedoc vineyard.
Pézenas, a perfectly preserved city centre
The city centre of Pézenas has been perfectly preserved since the 16th century. This is what makes it one of the prettiest cities in Languedoc.
Although traces of Pézenas are already found in the writings of Pliny the Elder, it was in the 16th and 17th centuries that the city experienced its heyday. At that time, the Montmorency, governors of Languedoc, choosed Pézenas as their place of residence. From this period, the city has preserved a rich heritage with elegant bourgeois mansions that are discovered along a maze of cobbled streets. While strolling through Pézenas, don’t hesitate to take a look in the courtyards of these mansions when access is possible. Some are real hidden treasures with majestic stone staircases. Among the most beautiful mansions in Pézenas, check out the Hotel d’Alfonce, a beautiful 17th century building, the Hotel de Malibran (18th century) or the Hotel de Lacoste (15th century). In Gambetta Square, the former consular palace, with its fountain in front, is arguably the most emblematic of these great mansions of Pézenas. It is now home to the “Maisons des Métiers d’Art” (crafts house).
In addition to its elegant bourgeois buildings, Pézenas also has an interesting religious heritage. The Chapel of the Black Penitents, in particular. Transformed into a theatre in the 19th century, the only remains of the chapel are its façade and envelope. The chapel of the Ursulines convent is worth for the quality of its furniture. In Saint Jean Collegiate Church you will discover its treasure which presents liturgical and religious works.
Pézenas, city of art and crafts
Despite its perfectly preserved historical centre, Pézenas is not a museum city. It has retained a tradition of art and crafts. The old Pézenas is full of craftsmen’s stalls that perpetuate the tradition of ancient crafts: cabinetmaker, cutler, weaver, ironworker, enamel, marbrier, jewelry designer, etc. Forty craftsmen are settled in the heart of the city. The former consular palace now houses the house of crafts. A space of 300 m2 is dedicated to handicrafts. Works of nearly 200 craftsmen are permanently on display for sale, in unique pieces or limited series.
If you like to hunt for old or rare stuff, the antiques road (along the D613), outside the historic centre, has about forty shops and galleries where you will find art objects, precious furniture as well as vintage objects. For amateurs, the only limit will be what you can bring back in your car or campervan from your HOLIDAY ON A CAMPSITE IN THE LANGUEDOC.
The city of Molière
Molière was born in Paris, but it was in Pézenas that his career really began. In 1650, while Molière walked the roads of Languedoc with his troupe, theIllustrious Theatre,the assembly of Languedoc was held in Pézenas. Molière’s troupe was then selected to entertain the representatives of this assembly. This allows him to meet the Prince of Conti, a theatre lover and third character of the Kingdom. An encounter that will lead him to court with the success we know. It is said that from his Languedoc years and in Pézenas in particular, Molière found inspiration for some of his best-known characters. The city has not forgotten Molière’s passage. Itineraries allow you to walk in the footsteps of the most famous French actor. You can discover his chair at the Vulliod Saint-Germain Museum and, every year, in June, a theatre festival pays tribute to him. Since Molière’s passing, theatre has occupied an important place in Pézenas. Its theatre, built at the beginning of the 19th century, evolves until the beginning of the 20th century. Even though it was restored in 2012, it is therefore the same as the beginning of the last century that this theatre is open to us. It’s a real gem. If you like theatre, don’t miss the opportunity to see a play during your camping holiday in Languedoc.