Béziers was founded by Greeks in the 7th century BC, 2700 years ago. The Béziers area has become a land of history and tradition over time.
The origins of Béziers
Occitanie, land of history
A crossroads, a welcoming region, a land of conquest, it has been marked by its history from Antiquity to the present day. A rich heritage born from a language: Occitan. Disseminated, carried and adorned by the courtly love invented by tireless Occitan poets, the troubadours. Sincere and generous, rich in colour, spontaneous and dynamic, Béziers Méditerranée Occitan has its roots in the land, in the crossroads between Provence, Catalonia and the Toulouse region. Did you know that “Le Breviari d’amor”, the longest work ever written in Occitan, in 1288 (35 600 lines of verse), came from the pen of Matfre Ermengaud, a troubadour from Béziers, who later became a Franciscan monk and lawyer?
For 340 years, all the people of Béziers, wearing buckled shoes or trainers, with a wig or clean shEveryone from Béziers Méditerranée, whether they be in buckle shoes or trainers, with a wig or a buzz cut, has seen the Canal du Midi as “theirs” for 340 years. They come here for a run, walk, chat on a bench, on their own or with family, just like other people go to the park. On top of that, Pierre-Paul Riquet, the brains behind the Canal, was from Béziers too! This waterway, which we call “nostre canal” (our canal) with love and pride, has been watering, feeding and transporting since 1681: it is the artery that goes straight to the heart of locals.
A land of rugby: « Aquí, aquí, es Besiers ! » (*)
The people here are combatants, and sometimes with rough edges – hence, perhaps, their love of rugby – but also rich in knowledge and history. In sports history, too: the Association Sportive Biterroise is the French rugby club that has won the 3rd most titles (11 times Champion of France, just behind the “2 Stades”: Français, 14 times, and Toulousain, 21).
The “great Béziers” of the 1970/80s owed its success to an exceptional generation of players (Richard Astre, Armand Vaquerin, etc.) and to its coach: Raoul Barrière.
Today, the ASBH plays in Pro Division 2, at the Stade de la Méditerranée (“The Shell”) and still has a first-class school of rugby and a training centre, where present-day internationals got their start (Dimitri Szarzewski, Yannick Nyanga). All through the year, a public that is fiercely loyal to the “red & blues” brings the stadium to life.
(*) “here, here, it’s Béziers”
The Béziers Feria
If there’s one event that nobody in Béziers misses, it has to be the Feria (a giant party surrounding bullfighting, concerts, horse shows etc), held during 5 days in August, around 15 August. The Castelbon de Beauxhostes Arena, opened in 1897, gives Béziers its reputation as “the French Seville”. The greatest matadors have performed there: Luis Miguel Dominguin, El Cordobès, Nimeno II, Espartaco, Richard Milian, Sébastien Castella etc. In Béziers on the weekend of 15 August, the whole town is turned into one gigantic party with bodegas, parades, stalls and concerts.
Fisherman, the Sea thou shall forever cherish
The beautiful and eternal Mediterranean Sea, « our Mother sea » gives birth every morning to the first morning of the world. If you want to live this magic moment, stand up before dawn and walk along the sandy beaches and highest sand dunes of the french Mediterranean.
Then on the banks of the river Orb, welcome the fishermen, coming back from a long and hard night of fishing, with their pots full of shining fresh fish. And even… try to fish for yourself, out at sea, or collect seafood on the shore, just to taste this lively and generous sea.