As you know by now, market day is my favorite time to visit new places in France.
Saturday in Uzes is a hard act to follow. Saturday market in Pézenas isn’t far behind.
One of the “most beautiful towns” in Languedoc
Pézenas, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in the Languedoc-Roussilon area of France, was once the political center of the États du Languedoc and the home of Parliament. The Hôtel des Consuls (Consuls’ Palace) stands on one of the main squares (Place Gambettat) which, on market day, is surrounded by shoppers and tourists.
The French Ministry of Culture designated Pézenas a Protected Area (Secteur sauvegardé) because of its over thirty historical monuments, including a monument dedicated to the French playwright, Moliere.
Apparently Moliere spent only a few days in Pézenas where he put on several of his less important theater works. Nevertheless, the town honors his contributions to the arts in France. For me, I need to learn more about Moliere than I picked up from the movie “Mozart.” In the film, Moliere was depicted as far from a “nice guy.”
Marianne, a symbol of the French Republic
One of the more obvious monuments in the center of Pézenas is a fountain with the statue of Marianne — a familiar symbol of the French Republic. Marianne triumphantly holds the flag of France in her left hand and a bolt of lighting in her right hand. The lighting rod symbolizes human rights “Droits de l’Homme”.
She stands atop a column which is surrounded by cherubs riding dolphins. On the column is inscribed with the motto of France: “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.” The statue in the Cours Jean-Jaurès. was molded in 1880. The fountain was built in 1887.
Architecture in Pézenas
During my short half-day stay in Pézenas, I was struck by the awesome architecture in the town. I understand most of the large building were hotels or homes. The French and other Europeans of long ago loved to stay or visit in Pezenas because of its beauty, culture and proximity to the Mediterranean. Many of the town’s structures qualify for the “Inventaire des Monuments Historiques” for their “porte à colonne et ponton” or “entrance with columns and carvings.”
Mostly, I was blown away by the vaulted passageways. They are not uncommon in France, but here they seemed more colorful, friendly and inviting.
Saturday Market in Pézenas
Food and more
For a solo female traveler, one of the things I often judge about a place is how comfortable I feel having a meal alone. In Pézenas, the scenery around the eateries — especially those in the city squares — is enough to keep you company. Here’s my view at lunchtime that day.
The Plat Du Jour
Later, after spending more time than I should visiting with the designer at a fabulous jewelry shop …
… here’s the view when I stopped for an afternoon refreshment.
Pézenas is a MUST GO BACK TO! place. There’s so much more to see and do. Stay tuned for more …