April 10, 2007

A Day Out in Béziers

We go to Béziers a lot.
It is the "big city" where we go to run endless bureaucratic errands, visit the hairdresser's, for doctor's appointments, to buy impossible-to-find-elsewhere Asian groceries at an Asian épicerie, to drool over shoes and purses at little boutiques (that would be me, not my husband), to buy any necessary DIY stuff at Castorama, to eat some delicious crêpes or Chinese food and to browse at a wonderful little English bookshop, named, appropriately, Le Bookshop.

My ideal day in Béziers would begin around 10:30 in the morning. From our village it takes about 45 minutes to get there once you wind your way into the center and find parking. There are some charming little café's in the old part of town where I like to have a noisette and a pain au chocolat before running errands and window shopping.
First to Monoprix to see what's new and buy any make-up or hair products before heading down the Allées Paul Riquet to Galleries Lafayette to browse their shoes, purses and clothes.

Crossing les Allées, I head into the maze of little streets in the old quarter where I browse in shops like l'Occitane en Provence, Mango, paper shops, a shop full of wonderful kitchen utensils, pet shops, shoe shops and chocolatiers.
Le Bookshop is tucked away on one of these little streets. The owner, Deborah Bragan-Turner, sells English language books and greeting cards and the upper floor of the shop is a sweet little children's book section. Browsing through books is one of my favorite things to do, so I could easily spend an afternoon here!
Just up the street is les Halles, the covered food market. This noisy, smelly place is a fabulous French food shopping experience.
The ideal day also includes lunch. Partly because most shops are closed from noon to 2 pm so it's either eat or go home, and partly because there are some great little restaurants in Béziers.

Before I know it, my day comes to an end and it's time to have one last little coffee and head home.

We're going to Béziers again this Thursday. I got a letter in the mail on Friday that requires yet another trip to deal with bureaucratic incompetence. One benefit of our trip will be lunch at La Table Bretonne, a little crêperie with a beautiful, sunny terrace that looks out on the Gothic Cathedral Saint Nazaire. The savory crêpes are made using blé noir (buckwheat) and dozens of sweet crêpes are offered for dessert. The owner's, Jean-Pierre and Agnès Ponthieux, are a delightful, friendly couple and the restaurant is one of our favorite's.

La Table Bretonne
21, rue Viennet
34500 Béziers

Le Bookshop
18, rue des anciens Combattants
34500 Béziers Pin It


Brenda said...

Hello sister -- Let's go here :) I love the idea of walking, eating and shopping. I am SOOOO excited

Betty Carlson said...

I went to Béziers once and really enjoyed it. It felt so different from Rodez, like I was in Spain or something! You did well by the city in your post.

Katie said...

I've been to Beziers. I really liked it, it's a nice size. Our main town is too small to be interesting and Nantes is pretty big and too far.
A noisette and pain au chocolat is the best way to start any day. And I envy you Le Bookshop - we actually were in it.

Jennifer said...

no problem! You'll love Jean-Pierre and Agnes and their crepes

It is a lovely place, you should visit again!

what is your main town?

Anonymous said...

I love Béziers, and really enjoyed reading this post :-) We are moving from St. Louis, MO to Béziers in one month. Can't wait to go to La Table Bretonne....it's so very yummy!! Hope you don't mind, but I'm going to share this post on my FB page called Living in Languedoc. This is a great blog that I really enjoy reading as we plan our big move.

Jennifer said...

Glad you enjoyed the post and wish you all the best in your move to Béziers.
fyi This was written several years ago. The Crêperie is still open, but le Bookshop has since closed.
Take care!

Anonymous said...

I am getting married just outside Beziers in July. Do you have any suggestions for a good, English speaking hairdresser that can help me out on my big day? Very much appreciated

Jennifer said...

I wish I could help you, but I'm afraid I don't know of any. Maybe you could check with the hotel or owner of the place where you're staying? Congratulations!

Unknown said...

Hello! I'm looking for al asian epicerie in beziers, please can you tell me rhe name of the shop you're going? Thanks!

Jennifer said...

It was called Chez Lin and was at 33 Avenue Maréchal Foch. Not sure if it's still there. Good luck!

Michał Witaszek said...

Thanks for this post, have few interesting suggestions. Our small polish family 2+1 plans to see a bit of Languedoc end of August. We plan to stay few nights in Sete to have train day trips to montpellier and braziers (including beach by bus no 16 I think) so this is really useful post. I hope it will be possible to see both best of Braziers + varies plage beach in a day. Would you recommend some other place to see nearby as well?
Many thanks,

Jennifer said...

Pezenas is a lovely town, as is Uzès. Enjoy your time in the Languedoc!