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, considered 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), surrounded by shoppers and tourists on market day.
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.
Moliere spent only a few days in Pézenas, where he put on several of his less critical theater works. Nevertheless, the town honors his contributions to the arts in France. I need to learn more about Moliere than I picked up from the movie “Mozart.” Moliere was depicted as far from a “nice guy.”
Marianne, a symbol of the French Republic
One of the more apparent 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 lightning in her right hand. The lighting rod symbolizes human rights, “Droits de l’Homme.”
She stands atop a column that 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 incredible architecture in the town. I understand most of the large buildings were hotels or homes. The French and other Europeans of long ago loved to stay or visit 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
As 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
After spending more time than I should have with the designer at a fabulous jewelry shop early in the day…
… here’s the welcoming sight waiting for me when I stopped in later 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 …
Categories: Around France, Blog, Pezenas
Hi Deborah- My wife and I met you in Uzès several years ago, before I retired from the wine business. We lived nearby Pézenas and visited the market many times. I forwarded this post to a local French chef, here in VT, who grew up in Pézenas. Always enjoy your posts.
So glad to hear from you, Kenneth. I enjoy your writing and hope we’ll have a chance to visit again. Let me know if you’re in Uzès or nearby. Thanks so much for the note.
Deborah I just saw Lynn McBride’s recommendation to visit your blog, merci Lynn. I look forward to contacting you via email. We rented a village house in Pezenas and like you loved the Saturday market. We followed our hearts and dreams of living full time in France in 2012 having visited yearly for twenty years or more. Like you we obtained the long stay visa and renewed it the second year. We just returned to the U.S. for a wedding and to spend time with family for the holidays. Plan to return in early January 2016. So happy you are living your dream in beautiful Uzes, anothe favorite of ours. So looking forward to connecting with you soon. Wishing you much happiness and fulfillment. A tres bientot.
Thank you for reaching out to me and for sharing your happy story. I’m so happy to know others who have acted on their dreams and made a new life they love. Hope you will get to Uzes and we can meet sometime. Love Lynn’s blog! We were almost neighbors in the states!
Lovely place! I spacially love the view you had for lunch time. 🙂
Yes, I’m looking forward to go back there again. Thank you for your note!
I went to Pezenas when I was in Montpelier and loved it! I agree about the solo dining comfort level…I had lunch at the very same restaurant and was very at ease..and there was so much to see! It’s on my list of places to consider.
I definitely think you would like it there, Paula. But why not Uzes!??
Deborah the pictures are wonderful and really give one a feel for this beautiful village. I can hardly wait to visit. The people, the colors and the food look like my cup of tea or perhaps my verre de vin rouge!!!
You are going to love it!
Great town – I have visited several times and always enjoy the ambiance and activity!
Love your blog. Just added it to my favorites! Thanks for the note!
I agree with everything you say about Pezenas, Deborah. I ‘ve been lucky enough to visit it several times, usually on a Saturday and, therefore, on market day. Super Bon! I’ve even eaten in the restaurant in your photos – which are fab, by the way! Thanks for another great post. http://www.fancyingfrance.wordpress.com
Pezenas may be that one place that I could have lived if I hadn’t fallen in love with Uzes. They seem very much alike. I’m anxious to visit during the summer for some of the festivals… Next year! Thanks for your note, June!