“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen”
– Leonardo da Vinci
The Greeks founded this southern French city in the sixth century BC. Later, the Roman Empire came to the city and connected the city to Narbonne by the Domitian Way. Later, the Visigoths who settled there invaded Béziers.
During the crusade to purge the land of the Cathars the papal legate from Rome was given orders to “Kill them all, let God sort them.” The burning of Béziers and the massacre of its population took place on July 22, 1209.
One of the first cities in the southern part of France to be chartered, a government and consuls who exercised their power over the ancient Roman Forum was Béziers.
Pierre-Paul Riquet was born in Bézieres in the early 1600’s. He drew and designed the Canal du Midi, which profoundly altered not only the landscape but also the activity of the area. Louis XIV obtained permission for the canal to be built. I have enjoyed many strolls and meals along the banks of the canal. The canal itself will be a future topic on this blog. Monsieur Riquet had achieved what no other person had to date. The canal was the solution for providing water to the channel, permanently by linking the Garonne (Atlantic) and the Mediterranean. This would provide, develop and secure trade between the two seas.
The most propitious period for Béziers was in the nineteenth century. With the advent of the automobile and open trade in the wine market that employs a great number of people it lead to an unparalleled increase in the population and fortunes were created.
The most auspicious period in the history Beziers is situated in the nineteenth century. The growth of industry, car, and open trade in the local wine market and wine world, which employs thousands of people, lead to unprecedented population growth.
Today, Béziers is a city of just over 70,000 people. When I visited Béziers in 2006, I found a lovely bookstore and picked up Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. While I was not interested in carrying such a large book around France, the shop owner highly recommended it. Coming out of the bookstore at lunchtime, I followed my nose to the neighboring café and enjoyed a most delicious lunch in the sunshine. I am looking forward to visiting Béziers in the spring and exploring more of its wonderful layers. From previous experience, I know that the wines of the area are well worth the trip alone.
Being a poet myself, I was intrigued with the lovely Parc des Poetes. This city is certainly worthy of your consideration. If you are interested, you can view my other blog at: http://poetryphotosandmusingsohmy.wordpress.com