What to visit in Pézenas and around ? Places not to be missed
Pézenas is a picturesque town located not far from Agde and the Bassin de Thau , in Hérault department.
A royal and radiant city during the Renaissance, the city of Molière and Boby Lapointe… let’s go and discover this city of character, labelled as a city of art and history and its surroundings. A destination with a rich cultural and historical heritage, with no shortage of tourist attractions.
A fair town in the Middle Ages, the place of the governors of Languedoc since the 16th century, the city of Molière and Boby Lapointe, Pézenas has preserved the traces of a flourishing historical and cultural past. During a day in Pézenas, on a self-guided or guided tour, you can wander through the superb cobbled streets to discover the sumptuous private mansions, the museums or visit the many artists’ and craftsmen’s stalls that are the pride of the town, which has been labelled “Pays d’art et d’histoire” since 2002.
Pézenas, city of the Grand Siècle : a remarkable heritage
Its prestigious past has left a legacy of architectural heritage whose homogeneity and quality of preservation make it a unique place.
Indeed, for more than a century, from the Renaissance to the 17th century, Pézenas was marked by the presence of the Montmorency family as governors of Languedoc.
During this period the influence of Pézenas was such that it hosted the Etats du Languedoc on several occasions. These provincial assemblies of the Ancien Régime, convened directly by the king, were held at the Maison consulaire (former town hall) in the heart of the historic centre. This superb building, classified as a historical monument, is located on Place Gambetta (pedestrianised). It is now home to the Maison des Métiers d’art (more about this below in the paragraph on arts and crafts).
As you wander through the town, push open the doors of the magnificent private mansions in the historic centre. Perfectly preserved and renovated, the architecture is of absolute finesse.
The most famous are the Lacoste hotel and the Sébassan fleet hotel. They are located in the heart of the historic centre and are freely accessible. They sometimes host shops, exhibition spaces or private flats.
Just a stone’s throw away, the Musée de Vulliod Saint Germain, which has been awarded the Musée de France label, preserves part of the town’s history. You can admire a rich collection of furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries with Louis XIII “cabinets”, seats, armchairs, sofas, etc. tracing the history of regional furniture from this period.
Works of art and sculptures are on display as well as a collection of 18th century earthenware, with remarkable samples of earthenware from Moustier, Montpellier, Marseille and other places.
The museum also has objects relating to Molière’s stay in Pézenas, in particular the famous “observatory” armchair, in which he used to sit when visiting his friend the barber Gély.
Pézenas, city of Molière and Boby Lapointe
Molière, Boby Lapointe, these illustrious men have left their mark on the town of Pézenas.
MOLIERE – THE MAN OF THE THEATRE
Pézenas is often associated with Molière and this is not by chance.
Indeed, although Molière was not born in Pézenas and never even lived there, he revealed himself as a man of the theatre. This sentence by Marcel Pagnol sums it up: “If Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was born in Paris. Molière was born in Pézenas”.
Indeed, at that time (around 1650) Pézenas was a strong and influential place of the Ancien Régime. It was the main residence of the Prince de Conti, governor of Languedoc. It was on the occasion of the Etats Généraux du Languedoc that Molière and his troupe of actors were asked to entertain the gentlemen of the Etats.
Then, three years later, Molière became an actor for the States General and for his Royal Highness, the Prince of Conti!
BOBY LAPOINTE, THE LOCAL BOY
Boby Lapointe is a child of Pézenas. Born in 1922, the author and composer built an edifice of consonants, vowels, words and syllable games, puns and other figures of speech that are as funny as they are lively.
His most famous songs ” La maman des poissons “, ” La peinture à l’huile ” or ” Ta Katie t’a quitté ” are still remembered.
In Pézenas, the museum “L’A-Musée Boby Lapointe”, located at 1 place Gambetta, in the barber shop Gél, is dedicated to him.
Adults: 2€ / 12->18 years: 50cts
And every year, in spring, Pézenas welcomes the “Printival Boby Lapointe”.
A French song festival organised by Jacky Lapointe, one of Boby’s daughters!
Pézenas, city of artists and craftsmen
In Pézenas there is no shortage of artists’, designers’ and craftsmen’s stalls. The artistic requirement and the quality are there.
Pottery, ceramics, jewellery, tableware, furniture, sculpture, fashion, painting… the town’s policy favours the installation of these creators, with moderate rents. And they are there.
They create and sell on the spot, so take advantage of it!
The Maison des Métiers d’art – Atelier d’art de France, located on Place Gambetta, is a boutique where unique or limited edition pieces by local craftsmen and women, as well as those from all over France, are exhibited and sold.
There are also many antique and second-hand shops in Pézenas. There are no less than 26 of them. A street is almost dedicated to them. They are listed on this website
What to do and see around Pézenas ?
The area around Pézenas is not lacking in interest. Within a radius of a few kilometres, there are many cultural and heritage sites to visit.
Here is a presentation of the main places to discover …
La Seigneurie de Peyrat (5 km from Pézenas )
Located between Pézenas and the Château-Abbaye de Cassan, the seigneury of Peyrat is in the heart of the Languedoc vineyards, this wine estate does not lack allure!
Indeed, in addition to producing quality wines from grape varieties such as sauvignon, viognier, chardonnay, pinot noir or tempranillo…the seigneury of Peyrat is a heritage site in its own right.
Since 1645, it has been the property of Etienne de Peyrat, descendant of an important family who controlled one of the five gates of Pézenas in the 15th century. He welcomed Louis XIV, who stayed there during his stay in Pézenas on 6 April 1660.
The magnificent architecture of the place and the chapel with its painted walls bear witness to this flourishing period.
Château Abbaye de Cassan in Gabian (12 km from Pézenas)
Located at the gates of Pézenas, in the heart of the vineyards and olive groves, Château – Abbaye de Cassan has been a listed historic monument since 1953.
Nicknamed “the Little Versailles of Languedoc”, the Château-Abbey of Cassan has undergone several transformations over the years.
It was once a monastic residence, occupied by the Canons Regular in the 11th century, then a Royal Priory and a Princely residence.
Its architecture bears witness to this eventful past (12th century church, 18th century salons) and gives this site a unique and exceptional character.
Valmagne Abbey in Villeveyrac (14 km from Pézenas)
One of the most important Cistercian abbeys in France, but also one of the oldest vineyards in Languedoc!
Founded in 1139, Valmagne Abbey experienced a period of splendour and wealth between the 12th and 14th centuries, becoming one of the richest abbeys in the south of France.
The abbey, whose church was transformed into a wine storehouse in the 19th century, has been open to the public for 40 years.
Château Laurens in Agde (20 km from Pézenas)
The Château Laurens or Villa Laurens is an atypical place where Art Nouveau, neo-Greek and oriental styles are mixed.
This sumptuous villa built in 1898 is located on the banks of the Canal du Midi, in Agde.
It was the property of Emmanuel Laurens, a wealthy heir, traveller, collector, music lover and friend of the arts. He turned his villa into a total work of art combining architecture, decoration, furniture and lifestyle.
The Villa Laurens is currently (2020) being renovated and will be open to visitors in 2022.
Mèze and Etang de Thau (20 km from Pézenas)
Situated only 20 minutes drive from Pézenas, Mèze is the oldest village and the largest port of the Bassin de Thau.
Mèze is an ideal stopover to taste some oysters and to relax on the beautiful sandy beaches, on the edge of the Thau lake.
The little plus: the large car park at the edge of the beaches is free, even in summer!
And to go a bit further…
Would you like to continue your discovery of places to see and visit in the Hérault?
Go to this page, we present you the sites not to be missed in this destination!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
By Arnaud Commune|2022-12-07T12:04:43+01:00December 7th, 2022|Général|Comments Off on What to visit in Pézenas and around ? Places not to be missed
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