Open your eyes wide, and discover the architectural treasures of the “Black Pearl”. Explore all the corners, picturesque streets and surprising basalt buildings, during a walk where you will go back in time and discover this town, born in Antiquity!
Stones, witnesses to the former geological activity
Located on the banks of the Hérault River, at the foot of the ancient Mont Saint-Loup volcano, Agde is characterized by the unique appearance of its architectural monuments, the result of the use of basalt in their construction. The use of this anthracite-coloured volcanic rock has shaped its peculiar identity, unique in Languedoc-Roussillon. It is also because of this geological characteristic that many call Agde, the “ville aux pierres noires” (town with the black stones).
A town steeped in history
Alone on a self-guided tour or accompanied by a guide, relive past times with an Agde history walk. Adge is one of the oldest French towns, and today, its monuments remain places of memory and witnesses to a considerable historical heritage. An ancient Greek city, it also holds traces of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The architectural elements of its historic heritage show these different influences.
A walk in “Belle Isle” park?
Located at the intersection of the Canalet, Hérault River and Canal du Midi, this former agricultural area became an island following the construction work on the Canal du Midi in the 17th century, and is today a pleasant area for walking. Its charm and location make it an ideal site to spend peaceful moments as a couple, a family or with friends, in the shade of the trees.
“Belle Isle” park also contains the chateau Laurens, a listed historical monument. Built between 1898 and 1901, by Emmanuel Laurens, a rich inhabitant of Agde, passionate about travelling, this construction – mixing neo-classical architecture, Art Nouveau decoration and oriental inspiration, as a souvenir of his travels – is quite unique. Today it is undergoing restoration work to show and preserve this astonishing architectural heritage.
Discover Agde with the tourist circuit
Plunge into the heart of Adge’s town and history with the discovery circuit where you will discover the Romanesque style fortified St Etienne Cathedral (12th century, keep from 14th century), the typical private mansions dating from the 16th century, the ramparts and the labyrinth of narrow streets. See the guide “Discover Agde”
These fortifications are the witnesses to the ancient and medieval history of the town. Their base was erected by the Greeks in the 6th and 4th centuries BC; their layout was then used during the Middle Ages to build a protection wall for the town.
See if you can spot the old coat of arms with 4 waves, symbolizing the old religious wars.
The underground cooler
Located in the oldest quarter of the town, justly named La Glacière, this former cooler was used to store ice collected in winter, via a cylindrical basalt well. The aim was to use its insulating properties to keep food cold, and even sometimes to cool feverish patients.
The Belle Agathoise fountain
The majestic Belle Agathoise fountain was built in 1858 by Auguste Baussan. This allegory of the ancient city of Agde “Agathé Tyché”, represents a protective women accompanied by three lions who watch over the town. A mix of Carrare marble, African marble and basalt, this fountain is named “Agathé”, meaning Agde in Greek.
The bust of the privateer, Claude Terrisse
Auguste Baussan also produced this homage from the town to Claude Terrisse, a former privateer for the Kingdom of France in the 17th century, and influential member of the Consul of Agde, who bequeathed his fortune to the poor after his death. He is known today as the benefactor of the town of Agde.
For more information…
- Download the audio walk “Agde, cité historique” (Agde, historic town) to make your discovery of Adge more enjoyable, with commentaries for the main sites and historic monuments in French, English, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish (mp3 format file).
- Follow a guided tour and “hear about the history of Agde”