Some remarkable people, heroes and extraordinary people came from Hérault. Singers, poets and historic figures have all shared the same love for this homeland. In Agde, Pézenas, Sète or Béziers, famous people from Hérault, who have transported their region’s reputation beyond the borders of France, are still widely celebrated even today. Come and meet them!
Molière’s Illustre Théatre company
“Jean-Baptiste Poquelin may have been born in Paris but Molière was born in Pézenas!” as Marcel Pagnol once pointed out. In 1650 when Pézenas hosted the Estates of Languedoc, Molière and his theatre company were selected to entertain the Estate members. Molière’s moment of glory came in 1653 when his Royal Highness the Prince of Conti chose him to entertain his court.
To visit Pézenas is to walk in the footsteps of Molière. His haunts included the Gély barber’s shop where Molière listened for inspiration for his plays, on Place Gambetta, in noble mansions and the Domaine de la Grange des Prés. Molière’s soul lives on in Pézenas, where theatre still thrives.
You’ll also find Molière at the Musée de Vulliod Saint-Germain, where you can admire his bust created by Antoine Houdon and the barber’s chair he sat in.
Last but not least, stop at Square Molière to see a marble Molière memorial, created in 1897 by the famous sculptor Jean-Antoine Injalbert. Claude Alberge, former president of the Amis de Pézenas, association helps you understand the symbols with a few conversations overheard next to the monument.
Boby Lapointe, the cult singer from Pézenas
Pézenas is not Molière’s birthplace, but Boby Lapointe was born here in 1922.
The writer and composer was the adored local lad of Pézenas. He loved words and French popular music and was nicknamed the Douanier Rousseau. Packed with puns and spoonerisms, his texts made him a popular singer and songwriter in Pézenas. On Place Gambetta, you can visit the A-musée, a museum that showcases the local singer’s work and personality.
Step inside to see his colourful, jolly world, the pride and joy of the region, or come in April for Printival Boby Lapointe, a festival dedicated to him. The ultimate in French popular music, this festival unites composers, songwriters and poets in their love for lyrics !
The Youth of Agde : a witness to local history
If you want to know who is the greatest local celebrity of Agde, you may be in for a surprise. Standing 30-metres tall, you won’t find the bronze statue of the Youth of Agde at the beach or on the riverbank. He has his very own museum. This Hellenistic bronze statue from Ancient Greece, dating back to the 2nd century BC, represents an extremely handsome young man. It was found in 1964 in the Hérault river, next to Saint-Etienne Cathedral, and now stands proudly in the Musée de l’Ephèbe, the underwater archaeology museum.
You are invited to visit his home. Always present and keen to meet new people, he welcomes you like royalty, just like the other residents of Agde. This statue of Alexander the Great is one of the town’s icons. Don’t miss it when you visit the Languedoc region.
Emmanuel Laurens and Art Nouveau madness
If you fancy plunging into the iconic and colourful world of the 1900s, then Château Laurens, located at the confluence of the Hérault river and the Canal du Midi in Agde, is the place for you. Here you’ll see a mix of Egyptian, Greco-Roman and Eastern influences chosen by Emmanuel Laurens, the owner and a passionate art collector, for the construction of his palatial villa where many renowned artists worked.
A jewel of southern Art Nouveau, this perfect palace, like a scene from the Arabian Nights, reflects Emmanuel Laurens’ passion for travel and the different artistic trends of the early 20th century. Much more than just a residence, this Outstanding Feature of Languedoc takes visitors on a voyage through the arts, with its furnishings, ironworks, murals, decorations and, for the period, modern architecture and technical prowess.
A tour of his personal fantasy !
Claude Terrisse, the big-hearted captain
Have you heard of Claude Terrisse, the privateer? Born in 1598 into a family of merchants from Agde, this sailor accomplished his career during the reign of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. He took to the sea at the age of 20 and led many a naval battle to protect the coastline from pirates, heretics and traffickers.
Aboard his ship, the Ange Gardien, the captain was called up by Cardinal de Richelieu to serve the King of France and became a commanding officer in the French Royal Navy.
After his seafaring career, he was appointed several times First Consul of Agde and left his possessions to a charity that helped the town’s poor people. In 1874, as homage to and in remembrance of this man dear to the hearts of the people of Agde, a bust sculpted by Auguste Baussan was erected in the historic centre. It can still be seen in Agde, near the Promenade.
In Autumn, to celebrate the 350th anniversary of his death, the town will gather around the replica of his vessel, the Ange Gardien.
Sète and Béziers – a home to great men
The artists’ town of Sète was the homeland of two great poets: Georges Brassens, the famous troubadour poet, and Paul Valéry, a writer, poet and philosopher. Visit the museums created in their honour: the Musée Paul Valéry where you can admire some of his most beautiful paintings and manuscripts, and the Espace Brassens to immerse yourself in the world of the musical poet sporting a moustache and pipe, who was so very fond of his home town.
Musée Paul Valery – Rue François Desnoyer. Sète
Espace Georges Brassens – 67 Boulevard Camille Blanc. Sète
Maison Natale de Jean Moulin – 6 Rue d’Alsace. Béziers
REPRODUCTION DES PHOTOS INTERDITE