PÉZENAS – Architectural heritage (en anglais)




Pezenas, located at the heart of the vineyards and wine country between Montpellier and Beziers in southern France, has since ancient times served as a transition zone for bustling activities between the sea via the lower Hérault Valley and the highlands via the Peyne Valley. It became a royal town in 1262, and drew its fortune through the dual economic and political role it played until the end of the Ancien Regime. The annual fairs held in Pezenas attracted Jacques Cœur and was a decisive factor in the town’s development. As of 1456, and for two centuries thereafter, this role was further enhanced by the presence of the Dukes of Montmorency and Princes of Conti, governors of Languedoc region, as well as the Etats généraux consultative assemblies (of the three estates: clergy, nobility and the third estate, or commoners), and Moliere’s three stays in the town between 1650 and 1656.
The town, in an interplay of light and shade between the facades and courtyards, is a rich architectural resource that can be deciphered on a human scale. From the large mansion houses in the medieval town of the late Middle Age and the early 16″‘ century, to the 18″‘ century mansions in the modern town, generations of master masons, carpenters, sculptors, locksmiths and gipiers (plasterwork artists) endowed Pézenas with an incredible architectural heritage, as confirmed by its classification as a protected site in 1965.

The author

Jean Nougaret was born in Béziers (Hérault, France) on 22- September 1939. He was appointed as an Honorary Head Curator of Heritage in France. He has worked for many years for the “Service régional de l’Inventaire of the Direction Régionalie des Affaires Culturelles du Languedoc Roussillon” (France). He is a former Curator of the Musée de Vulliod-Saint-Germain in Pézenas, cofounder of the journal “Etudes sur Pézenas” (now “Etudes héraultaises”), and a foremost specialist on the history and heritage of Pézenas.

(Connaissances & Patrimoines)

Format 21×29,7
116 pages couleur
ISNB 9 782915 652970


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