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Béziers

Béziers is a city located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in the Hérault department. Béziers is known as one of the oldest cities in France.

This city has a rich history. Excavations have shown that the city was already inhabited in 575 BC. The city was on the Roman road that connected Provence with the Iberian Peninsula. This made the city grow steadily. The land in the immediate vicinity of the city soon turned out to be very suitable for viticulture. It wasn’t long before many amphoras of white wine were exported to Rome.

Later, the city was confronted with the Crusade against the Cathars. The city was one of the strongholds of the Cathars, which the Catholic Church saw as heretics. On July 21, 1209, the Crusader army reached the city gate of Béziers. The Catholic inhabitants of the city were presented with an ultimatum. They had to hand over the Cathars to the Crusaders’ army, or they had to leave the city before the siege began. The Catholic inhabitants of Béziers, however, supported the Cathar inhabitants of the city. A day later, on July 22, 1209, the city was looted and massacred by the Crusader army. Nobody was spared. Not even the Catholic priests who sought refuge in the church. This slaughter is a black page in the history of the city.

Visit the Saint-Nazaire cathedral, located in the old part of the city. This cathedral can be seen far beyond the city, and is a good example of the Gothic architecture of the fourteenth century. Other nice sights are the two arenas in the city, and the museum of fine arts. Finally, there is the beautiful old town, where you can safely spend an afternoon. The beautiful old streets and the pretty squares ensure that you can walk around for hours.

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