Celia's blog

Musings on life in Lodeve, Languedoc

February Saturday in Pézenas

Posted by celiahukins on 15/02/2010

Back to the blog – and apologies for the lack of posts. January snow in Birmingham wasn’t very inspiring. I came back to snow here on Thursday, but it has gone away now although there is still a cold wind.

It must be a while since I’ve been to Pézenas – May last year I think. At the weekend I went to the Saturday market, which I’ve never been to before, and found some changes around the town, which seems to have become more aware of how it can promote itself. The Office de Tourisme has moved and is in a new building which has multimedia presentations about the life of Moliere, the 17th century French playwright who moved here when the Prince de Conti, governor of Languedoc, had his headquarters here and encouraged artists and writers to live and work here.

Pézenas has a history going back to Roman times. You can stroll round the narrow streets in the old town using the Tourist Information map, which gives information on the medieval buildings and the 17th century hotels particuliers. In the Middle Ages Pézenas was an important trading centre, and you can find antique and bric a brac shops everywhere – if you look carefully!

There are lots of restaurants and cafés where you can take a break from your explorations. This is useful as the narrow streets can be confusing and I often have trouble getting back to places I’ve remembered from a previous visit. However this time I found my way around without difficulty. The market seemed much like the Lodève market, but perhaps it was cold and a bit late in the day to get a feel for it. Unlike the Lodève market it goes on all day, so offering somewhere to go on a Saturday afternoon.

Another reason for going to Pézenas was to visit the Musée Boby Lapointe. As it was on the site of the former Tourist Information Office I didn’t have any problems finding it. It was good to warm myself up again after walking round the narrow streets which of course get little sun at this time of year. Boby Lapointe the singer was born in Pézenas and after pursuing his career in Paris returned to die there in 1972. His songs, dependent on puns and plays on words, were popular from the 1960s onwards. Before you dismiss him completely, you might like to know that he played as a warm up to the Rolling Stones at Olympia in 1964. Here’s his web site if you’re interested.

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