734km (456 miles) SW of Paris; 39km (24 miles) S of Lodève; 24km (15 miles) NE of Béziers; 22km (13 miles N of Agde
This attractive town between Béziers and Montpellier was briefly home to Molière in the 17th century, and it won't let you forget it, especially during its summertime festival celebrating France's greatest playwright. Pézenas doesn't need the Molière connection, however, to entice you to visit its medieval- and Renaissance-era splendors. Medieval walls surround the old town, which is a maze of narrow, pedestrian streets filled with artisans' workshops, boutiques, and cafes. The newer part of town surrounding the center still dates from the 17th to the 19th century, so there's plenty of history to savor. Vineyards surround this part of the Languedocian plain, and numerous caves are happy to offer wine tastings. The Saturday market, which runs all day, is one of the biggest and liveliest in the region and includes a large number of stalls selling organic produce.