Bédariciens, as the locals are known, certainly know how to enjoy themselves and for a small town, there is a lot to celebrate. More than 40 different festivals and cultural activities are planned during the summer. Early June sees ‘Cuisines dans la Rue’ when, for just 15€, you can sample up to 9 dishes prepared by some of the best chefs from locally-produced foods and saveurs of the region.
Other events lined up for both locals and visitors to partake include music from Chile, classical concerts, stand-up comedy, not to mention plenty of contemporary music and clubbing for the younger generation.
When you’ve had sufficient entertainment, it’s time to get out and about. Bédarieux is an excellent centre for all types of out-of-doors activities. The town’s proximity to the breathtaking High Languedoc National Park means you can easily access off-road biking, rock climbing and river exploring, trekking by foot or on horseback, fishing and paragliding. Even a simple hike in the hills can become an experience to treasure if you choose to go on a ‘balade gourmande’ - a guided walk for foodies. What better way to keep the waistline in check?
If you want to go further afield, then why not start with the amazing Millhau Viaduct? This is about 45 minutes up the A75 and people flock to this magnificent bridge, not just to cross it, but to admire it. It really is beautiful. Designed by an Englishman— Sir Norman Foster, and engineered by a Frenchman—Michel Virlogeux, it is a splendid example of 'l'entente cordiale’. From there it is a short drive to Roquefort-sur-Soulzon where the famous blue cheese comes from. This is an entire village given over to the glories of the smelly blue stuff. The big manufacturers invite you to their ‘caves’ where the cheese is produced (bring a sweater or jacket with you, the caves are quite chilly!), and then you can visit the restaurant where - guess what! - Roquefort cheese forms the centre of the menu. If you thought cheese was only to be slapped between two slices of bread, then a visit to this interesting little town will awaken your tastebuds and make you reconsider the place of cheese in your life.
Other trips could include Béziers—good shopping and three different markets on a Friday morning; Narbonne—a mini Avignon with its own Bishops’ palace and genuine Roman road; or the Cité de Carcassonne, World Heritage Site—not just a castle, more a way of life. Add to that the Canal du Midi, also a World Heritage Site and you can see that Bédarieux is an excellent point from which to see and enjoy the riches of the Languedoc.