BEZIERS HISTORY

"Si Deus in terris, vellet habitare Biterris"

Version Française  Main Menu | Ancient Photos | History | Legends | Landmark Dates | Leaders | Maps | Anecdotes | Links


BEZIERS MAPS

 Plans are superposables, allowing so to see the evolution of the city following times.

 Fortifications are colored in brown. I think the tracings are correct, as well as the various doors of the XV-th's map. On the other hand, I do not guarantee the exactness of the internal tracing of the city. This one has, indeed, undergone numerous alterations during centuries. I have extrapolated especially for the III-th century Roman map, although the axes of the streets : Rue Française / Casimir Peret, 4 Septembre / Viennet, even Rue d'en Vedel / rue des anciens Combattants, remained the same in the course of time and without forgetting the Domitian way which crosses our city on both sides. Romans firsts had reorganized the city; then in 1209, it was burned in large part and reconstructed. Under François 1er, wooden houses were demolished, considered unhealthy and dangerous. Finally new axes were drilled in 1894 : la rue de la République and l'avenue Alphonse Mas (national street). It is interesting to note that if some axes remained, in particular at the east of the city : the Domitian way / avenue Saint Saëns and Avenue Clémenceau, others are not used on the west side as the entrance through Canterelles or Tourventouse. The biggest "loss" is certainly the axis of the street Française/Casimir Perret (former street Straight) which connected the heart of the city - marketplace, in front of the City hall - to its symbolic heart : the Saint Aphrodise's church.

 Click to enlarge
 Map of Béziers 2002 (625 Ko)
 

 Click to enlarge
 Map of Béziers in XV-th century (371 Ko en JPG)
ou
Map of Béziers in XV-th century interactive
(66 Ko in Flash)
Possibility to Zoom (with the mouse's right-click)
and viewing of the main city's gates.



 

Map of Béziers III-rd century (238 Ko)
ou
Map of Béziers in III-rd century in Flash (18 Ko)



 

Map of Béziers X-th century (249 Ko)
or
 Map of Béziers in X-th century in Flash (20 Ko)


OTHERS MAPS

Map of Béziers end XIX-th

Map of Béziers 1914


To have an idea of what the city's center looked like in the XIV-th century, here is a passage of some articles, "Dix ans de Consulat à Béziers de 1384 à 1394", published in "l'Hérault" - a Friday weekly - by M.A. Baluffe :

"Houses were small, low, pressed by their sides, like if they wanted to feel their elbows, packed on themselves as to escape from the people's attention and the storm's outbursts.

 

 Narrow and tortuous streets where air, sun, life, circulated with difficulty and where the passers-by walked sometimes one after other, through endless enlargements, ceaseless circuits, perpetual undulations transformed into maze their inextricable and whimsical network.
Houses left so few space to the traffic that, face to face, the neighbours could talk in a low voice from their windows and even shake hands. By exception, two or three streets were more large; It was the large arteries and were considered as real marvels.
As such, the Rue Française was legendary, so that nowadays even, in spite of the opening of many others wider and more regular streets, it keeps - for the artlessly enthusiastic old men's eyes - a magnificent prestige of incomparable splendor. / .../

 A little bit rural was the face of the city. The farmers were not ashamed to attend to their works in streets : here one sieved the wheat, there one walked on the grapes, with the risk to intercept any passage.
 And as it wasn't enough to block streets by this congestion of rural occupations - not salubrious enough to maintain public neatness - the inhabitants had, along their houses, stony benches, where all the family sat down on summer's evenings, and where most of the traders exposed their objects to sale.
 The saying which had for a long time course here dates from this time : "A Béziés, treuco taulié !" Indeed, it was impossible to walk in a street without colliding in some stony bench, in some stall, in some storekeeper's table.
 To the picturesque supporters' eyes, this state was maybe interesting; but it was also dangerous. Epidemics engendered or favored by the defect of aeration, were frequent and terrible. The consuls, worried about the general healthiness, had to found some remedy : they did not fail in it.

 

 Here is exactly a police regulation which prescribes special measures for that purpose. "It is in Romanic language (translated here in English):

<< This is the carrayratge of the city of Béziers, it should be known that in the city the carreyriers (citizens) will have to be supervised as follows >> :