TO DO | SHOPPING
One positive thing about the Polygone shopping mall on the outskirts of Béziers is that it means the city centre is free from commercial shopping chains. So that instead the heart of Béziers is filled with lots of unique independent boutiques. Somehow, I find that I don’t go into the centre very often myself, so I decided to visit and take plenty of time to roam the historic streets. Below, you will find 10 of my personal favourites. Although I’m sure you will end up adding more to your own list.
1. Architruc & Baltaz’art – 5 Rue Montmorency & 28 Rue de la Citadelle
Whenever I’m in town, I always have a peek in the interior and exterior design store Architruc & Baltaz’art. They sell contemporary furniture by well-known design labels such as Kartell and Fermob, supplemented with original and very desirable accessories. I love going in here to sniff out some inspiration, although Chéri would prefer it if I didn’t, as it always ends up with me adding things to my wish-list. The shop on the Rue Montmorency is their main one, and then they also have a smaller annexe on 28 Rue de la Citadelle with mainly accessories and gifts.
2. M’Y VRAC – 11 Rue Paul Riquet
Not to be confused with the Allées Paul Riquet, the central avenue in Béziers, the grocery store M’Y VRAC is on Rue Paul Riquet. This is not just any grocery shop. The zero waste movement has also reached the South of France, and M’Y VRAC is the first shop in Béziers which sells food, cleaning products and personal care products without any packaging. In fact, at M’Y VRAC you’re encouraged to bring your own packaging materials, such as empty jars, reusable containers and washable cloth bags. Which you can also buy on the spot of course. I’m a big fan of this concept!
3. L’Affineur – 16 Rue du Chapeau Rouge
The minute you step into L’Affineur, you’re in cheese heaven. As a cheese lover myself, it always takes me ages to buy cheese. There is a such a wide selection of different types of cheese, and to make it more complicated, some cheeses are sold in their various stages of ripening, a process which is done in the cave below the shop. Choices, choices! If you are really having trouble picking which cheese to buy, or if you are curious by nature, you can try a cheese tasting. Ask to purchase a few different pieces of cheese, and then you can savour them in the shop, accompanied by some freshly baked bread and a good glass of local wine. It might make your choice easier. Or not.
4. Si Le Thé M’Était Conté – 24 Avenue de la République
This shop sells tea. Only tea. Okay, and some accessories that go with tea, such as mugs and teapots. But the focus definitely is on tea. The passionate and experienced owner of Si Le Thé M’Était Conté only sells the best selection from exclusive brands like Kusmi Tea and Dammann Frères. Whether you prefer black, white, green, herbal or organic tea, it’s all here. They even have Rooibos tea, which is our kids’ new favourite house tea after our trip to South Africa and which is very hard to find in France.
5. L’Appartement – 8 Rue du 4 Septembre
Zabeh – 4 Rue du 4 Septembre
When coming from Les Halles, I immediately aim for Rue du 4 Septembre. This street is full of charming shops, including a fair amount of women’s clothing boutiques. One of my favourites is L’Appartement, with clothes for both women and men. Besides gorgeous clothes (with brands like Vila Clothes and Grace & Mila), they also have beautiful bags, jewellery, homeware, scarves and shoes. Then, a bit further down the same street, there is also women’s clothing boutique Zabeh, which is like stepping into a modernised 18th-century living room full of frivolous and glamorous objects. You should definitely go into this tiny and shiny shop, just for the experience.
6. Lili Cerise – 5 Rue du 4 Septembre
L’Appartement and Zabeh are just a few of the many beautiful and one-of-a-kind boutiques on Rue du 4 Septembre. There is something for all wallets and tastes. Lili Cerise, for example, is always worth having a glance inside. Their colourful, bohemian and still chic clothing and jewellery awaits you, so that you can try it all on and fall in love with your new captivating self. But wait, there is more… If you pass through the little secret door, you will enter a Valhalla of interior design. With findings from all over the world, you can’t help but spot something original at this boutique. Well, I hope I haven’t set your expectations too high and that you discover something you like!
7. La Selection – 2T Rue Mairan
I don’t know why I hadn’t heard about this fantastic shop before now, especially as La Selection has been open since the beginning of 2017. I really should go to Béziers more often… This furniture, lighting and accessories store is housed in a gorgeous historical building and has a cool mix of new brands from all over the world. I’m afraid my wish-list got a little bit bigger again after visiting La Selection. But then, if it just stays on my wish-list, Chéri need not worry.
8. L’Aureta – 1 Rue Mairan
A few doors from La Selection is another little gem. L’Aureta needs a closer look if you like authentic products with a vintage look. This interior design shop is small, but has a lot to offer, with a great range of tableware, pots, pillows, rugs and so on. I’m especially fond of their straw bags, which are different from the ones I see around everywhere else. Their bags seem very solid and come in delicious colour combinations.
9. Les Bêtises de Malie – 33 rue de la Citadelle
Although you might think this toy store is just for kids, Les Bêtises de Malie welcomes everybody- from 0 to 99 years. Their shop window always looks so bright and colourful, with the most adorable stuffed animals. You will find gifts in every price range, from decorative objects, balance bikes without pedals, soft blankets and a lot more… I couldn’t resist the cutest tiny mouse in a matchbox, which I bought for my 5-year-old niece. I think I might have to go back to get myself one as well. Luckily, I’m not over 99 years old yet!
10. Le 15 Août – 14 Rue Française
After all this wonderful strolling around, you might want to bring home a souvenir of lovely Béziers. Or maybe you are a proud ‘Bitterois’ and you want to show it off. In any case, I suggest you to go to the recently opened Le 15 Août, founded by Stéphanie Marinesse. She has created a clothing line that has a personalised South of France touch. Meaning you will find striped sailor t-shirts in simple, but beautiful, blue, red or black designs that include slogans about Béziers or Les Bitterois. Béziers is now the shop’s third store, after Narbonne and Carcassonne.