Pézenas gets it name from the older name Piscenae, probably from the Latin word piscenis, meaning fishpond. According to legend, there was a lake full of fish behind the Chateau. Inhabitants of Pézenas are Piscenois.
The origins of Pézenas are unclear, but were influenced by three factors: water from the River Peyne, an ancient pre-Roman route from Rodez to Saint Thibéry and a defensive hill.
The town has a history stretching from the Middle Ages and is full of artists and craft shops as well as being famous in France for its antique shops. There are a large number of restaurants and bars in the town and every Saturday one of the largest street markets in the Hérault department.
It is a pretty town that was very prosperous in the 15th and 17th Centuries and contains some magnificent stately homes. There is a sign-posted tour of the town that takes about two hours on foot.
The local speciality is 'Le petit pâté de Pézenas', which is the size and shape of a large cotton reel. It is a sweet/savoury pie supposedly made to a recipe from Clive of India. There are also boiled sugar sweets called 'Le berlingot de Pézenas'.
Unlike some parts of the Hérault and Gard, Pézenas is shielded from the worst of the Mistral and the Tramontane, as it sits in-between the air flows of the two currents, catching the tail of the winds from the Rhône valley, and the tail of the Tramontane coming up the valley from Narbonne and Perpignan. The climate and weather in Pézenas due to its situation in the Mediterranean, offers one of the best and sunniest climates of the whole of France - there are more than 300 days of sunshine per year! Pézenas and its region are attractive all year round.
Le Pré Saint Jean Quite - 18 avenue Maréchal Leclerc F - 34120 PEZENAS
This discreet busy roadside facade hides a welcoming winter garden-style dining room. Updated regional cuisine and fine local wine list.
La Table de Stéphane - Impasse Marie Celeste F - 34300 LE CAP D'AGDE
Veranda-dining room with a mural depicting kitchen life, dishes in keeping with current taste and good regional wine list: the restaurant is often full.
La Table d'Emilie - 8 place Couverte F - 34340 MARSEILLAN
Enjoy a lovely dinner in this small 12C house and its dining room with exposed stonework, ogive vaults and verdant patio. Cuisine based on ingredients of the day.
Le Château du Port - 9 QUAI DE LA RESISTANCE F - 34340 MARSEILLAN
A contemporary bistro housed in a fine 19C residence, serving seafood and regional modern cuisine; pleasant terrace overlooking the canal.
Tournesol - 2 RUE ROGER SALENGRO F - 34800 Clermont-l'Hérault
Tasty seasonal cuisine, based on reinterpreted local specialities. Terrace veranda.
Le St-Clair - quai du Port F - 34540 BALARUC LES BAINS
Charming restaurant with a veranda-dining room overlooking the quayside and a terrace, adorned with palm trees, facing the Thau basin. A must for fish and shellfish enthusiasts.
The town has a history stretching from the Middle Ages and is full of artists and craft shops as well as being famous in France for its antique shops. There are a large number of restaurants and bars in the town and every Saturday one of the largest street markets in the Herault department.
Of particular interest in the town are many festivals and events based on Moliere, a playwright in the16th century whose patron lived here, the Duc de Montmorency. Many events are held to celebrate Moliere and the period, often circling the cobbled streets.
Details can be found at the Tourist Office in the centre of Pezenas for current local events, ideal for adults, families and children.
With the Mediterranean only 20 minutes drive away and some superb sandy beaches you can be sure of a good break.
Castelnau de Guers - On a spur overlooking the Hérault valley, a medieval town named after the Barons of Guers who dwelt in the feudal castle with a splendid view of the valley from the terrace.
Nézignan-l'Evêque - Once a Roman villa, then owned by the Counts of Béziers, Nézignan-l'Evêque was taken over by the bishops of Agde in the 12th c.
Aumes - On a promontory overlooking the plain of the Hérault.
Bessan - Small town of 4200 people away from the seaside resorts, set in ancient vineyards between the Ramus hills and the Hérault.
Florensac - On the left bank of the Hérault in Bas-Languedoc wine country, near the sea.
Pomerols - A typical Languedoc wine-producing village with the advantages of both seaside and countryside, Pomérols has managed to conserve its environment and its friendliness.
Situated in a sunny area close to the Mediterranean beaches and the wild Camargue country, the Montpellier Massane 18-hole international golf course, designed in 1988 by Californian architect, Ronald Fream, has been built to offer you a unique golfing experience.
The pitch&putt course "Ecureuil" (9 holes, par 27) is also ideal for improving your game or savouring the joy of golf for the first time.
The training centre has 50 bays as well as driving ranges for specific types of shots: long shots on mat or grass, sand shots, putting green, pitching green, etc.
Golf de Montpellier Massane has a David Leadbetter Golf Academy. David Leadbetter is recognized as the leading golf instructor in the world. His teaching theories and methods have revolutionized the game and his influence on all levels of golf is unparalleled.
On the edge of a lagoon, a stone's throw from the beaches, the golf club at this famous seaside resort offers two 18-hole courses and a compact 6-hole course, all laid out in the best Florida traditions by the designer Robert Trent Jones Senior.
You can play here year round under the Mediterranean sun, stay for a weekend break with the family, or take an intensive training course.