Pézenas is an inland town midway between Nîmes and Béziers.

map pezenas

Map showing location of Pézenas

Pézenas was originally a marshy area rather than a town.  It comprised lots of little villages built around a church and / or a chateau.  In Roman times, there were luxurious villas in the area, as it was  not far from the Via Domitia, the main road that linked Spain to Italy. 

Medieval house
The Canal du Midi

It was the Templars who improved the region by draining the marshes, reclaiming land for agriculture and establishing farms. 


Templars' building from 11th century

Pézenas soon became built up as a town, with big fairs to attract merchants.  In the 1600s it was the capital of the Languedoc region and has many lovely buildings and carved stone frontages to remind people of the town’s important past.  

Street scene in Pezenas

The famous French playwright, Molière, lived in the town and wrote some of his most famous plays here.  Louis XIV was a visitor.  hote de lacoste
Stairway in the atrium of the 15th century Hotel de Lacoste, where Louis XIV and his court stayed.

Many streets have vaulted passageways between the buidlings like the one below.

vaulted passage
Cottages along the canal banks

Nowadays Pézenas is a charming little town, with interesting old streets and churches and a well preserved Jewish Ghetto which dates from the Middle Ages.  It is a centre for arts and crafts.


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