Béziers: The South of France's Best Kept Secret

Ah, the South of France. Just the mere thought of this lust-worthy place conjures up images of endless fields of flowers, picturesque coastlines, and quaint villages teeming with authentically French restaurants. For me, going to the South of France always remained a bit of a pipe dream- Paris was easy enough to get to, and the rest of the country seemed only discoverable by car.

But when the prospect of traveling down to Béziers (wait, where?) on holiday presented itself, I jumped at the chance to finally see the South. Granted, it was pretty easy to "jump" when the flights from London were only £14 roundtrip- pretty good, right?

Visiting a place that I had never (and I really mean never) heard of was one of the great joys of planning out and anticipating this trip. It's something I'd encourage anyone to do, even if you're the most meticulous of planners. I'm definitely not a "throw caution to the wind" kind of gal, but having a less predictable holiday was just what I needed. And it ended up being even more relaxing because there was no pressure to do anything in particular. You know when you go to a major city and feel like you just have to see their most famous sights, and end up shelling out a ton of cash for them? This was not one of those trips.

So I thought I'd use this post to share some snaps from one portion of my holiday, and maybe try to convince you to keep Béziers on your radar for your next trip- after all, RyanAir flies to Béziers from a few major UK cities for very reasonable prices.

Our first impression of Béziers was that it was small. If the airport was to be any indication of what was to come, then we expected to be in for some small town fun. With just one departure gate, Béziers airport had to be the smallest airport I had ever set foot in. But despite our predictions, the city itself was a bit more busy than the airport made it out to be- not major by any means, but perfectly buzzing. 

Because our airbnb apartment wouldn't be ready for us to settle into until 5 o'clock, we spent our morning wandering around the city, taking pictures along the way. Our first stop was to see the Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire-et-Saint-Celse de Béziers at the top of the hill. While it wasn't open for visitors at the time we were there, we had a great view of the 13th-century masterpiece. From there, we were able to have a fantastic vantage point to the outskirts of the city below. 

Béziers is not lacking in views. Whether from above or below, there's always something photo worthy. As long as you don't mind walking, that is. Pont-vieux offers the city of Béziers at its most breathtaking angle.

Having walked back up the hill, we decided to settle into the restaurant that faces the Cathedral. Considering its proximity to the city's most popular attraction, it was very reasonably priced and authentic. The plat du jour was the name of the game for us- I mean, when in France, right? I had succulent lamb chops, with cheesy courgette, and pan potatoes. Ben's dish had the same sides, but instead featured crispy sardines. Washed down with a glass of cold white wine, it was the perfect meal to start our trip on. 

Béziers boasts a solid number of fascinating museums for a relatively small city. It was our plan to visit them all on our first day, while we wiled away the time before heading to the apartment, but unfortunately they were all closed on Mondays. Instead, we wandered the city a bit more, popped into a park, and had a drink al fresco. 

After this trip, I am officially airbnb loyal. We couldn't have asked for a more fanastic host couple, nor could we have been lucky enough to snag such a stunning little studio apartment (and on the cheap!) For just £20 per night, we stayed in this quaint, uber-French, apartment just 5 minutes from the main square. Not only was the apartment itself as comfortable as could be, but it was fitted with absolutely anything we could need- including a bit of food, some beer, and all types of skin care products. When you're looking for something a bit more sophisticated than a hostel, but can't quite afford a hotel, airbnb has you covered. 

One of our favorite aspects of having the apartment was having the freedom to cook our dinners, and prepare breakfast in the morning. Not only was it a massive money-saver, but it allowed us to really experience fresh French produce, and spend time together in the evenings doing something we both love (cooking doesn't feel like a chore to me, if you haven't already noticed!) We really took inspiration from our surroundings (aka Ben came up with most of the ideas), and cooked mainly French-style food. From ratatouille to coq au vin to buttery pork chops, all the way to baguettes a fresh strawberries in the morning- our meals were tres French from start to finish.

While Béziers provides a taste of city life in the South of France, it also has great access to the coast. On our second day, we headed toward the bus station to catch a bus down to the beach. At only 50 cents a pop, it was a no-brainer. 45 minutes (and many stops later) we were on a picturesque beach called Valras Plage. During the summer months, this beach can get pretty hectic with tons of tourists (mainly from other parts of France) enjoying the sunshine. Luckily, since we went in mid-May, it was plenty warm enough to go to the beach, but we missed out on the crowds. We packed a picnic and spent the day laying out on the beach, reading our books, and swimming in the ocean.

One thing we had our sights set on doing from the beginning was renting bicycles and going for a long(ish) ride together. Ben's been really getting into his cycling lately, and while I probably can't even be considered a novice, I thought I would humor him by agreeing to go for a ride. After all, cycling is a great way of discovering new places. Luckily, there was a bicycle rental service in the center of town where we could easily rent for just £20 each for the whole day- with all the bits and bobs included. To make matters even better, the owners spoke perfect English (the woman we spoke to was from America). I'm all for immersing yourself in different cultures and languages while traveling, but when doing something as complicated as a bicycle rental, I was relieved to have English speakers around. You can find more info on them here.

Once we set off on our bikes we were free to explore. We headed down the main canal for a smooth and easy ride, bypassing more than a handful of stunning wine vineyards as we rode. It was about 15 kilometers to get to the coast, and this time we went to a less popular beach, Portiragnes. Armed with a picnic of meats, cheeses, and bread (what else?) we settled into the sand and tried not to make our respective sunburns much worse. After lunch, we explored the area, trying to spy flamingos along the marshes, and stopped for an ice cream before heading back.

There's still one day left to write about in our little French saga, but I'm holding out for a bit, as I think the small French town that we visited on a day trip is worthy of its own post. Even so, I hope this post has shown you that the South of France, and the little-known city of Béziers, has a lot to offer- especially if you're traveling on a budget. I mean, it's just too tempting not to book those cheap flights- what are you waiting for?


  1. Looks amazing Leda! I had a lot of holidays in the south of France as a kid but unfortunately was too young to really remember where

    1. Thank you Hayley! Ah, that's too bad that it was so long ago- you'll just have to go back ;)

  2. that looks stunning! I wish i could travel as easily and so cheap! a flight to the next state is about 45 pounds


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