Every month, we introduce you to an interesting woman living in Languedoc. Curious as we are, we like to find out why she lives in this beautiful region, what she does for a living and some of her Languedoc favourites. This month we would like you to meet Monique Boulze-Pillevesse, PR Manager of the Béziers Tourist Office as Ramoneta of the Month.
My father is a native of Béziers, whereas I was born in Casablanca, Morroco and lived there for the first couple of years of my life. I studied foreign languages (English, German and Spanish), but it was my love of history that introduced me to journalism. As a journalist, I have travelled the world and lived in many places in France and abroad, like the USA, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg. Unfortunately, I had a serious accident, which made me reflect on my life so far. It was clear that it was time to shake things up. As a result, I decided to go back to school to study tourism.
Settling in Languedoc
After graduating from my new studies, I accidentally found a job in the area of my father’s roots: Béziers (1 + 2). I started working for the Tourist Office in Béziers 15 years ago, at first under the inspiring leadership of Richard Astre. He was a former international rugby player and, at the time, Béziers was a major force in rugby. After he retired from his sports career, Richard became the director of Béziers Tourist Office, where he created a great team. So, 2006 was the year when I found my new job, settled in a little village near Béziers, and got married to my husband. Quite a good year, I would say!
Office de Tourisme Béziers
I have been having a blast living and working here for the past 15 years. I love to share information about the beautiful region I live in and help visitors discover Béziers and its surroundings. I’m glad that I still write a lot in my function as PR manager. Every edition that the Tourist Office publishes comes from my pen. It’s also a pleasure to welcome foreign journalists and help them discover the soul of the region.
Working in tourism is different from my old profession in journalism. However, I can still share my love for history. Telling little stories often helps to understand the bigger picture. And now it’s not me who’s asking the questions, but I’m on the other side, providing the requested information and more!
Living in the South of France
I appreciate my life in this part of France. The light. The way that all the universes come together in one region, from the sea to the mountains. Basically, it’s a region where you don’t get bored easily!
Living in a small, quiet village brings me the reflection I need. Putting on my walking shoes for a round in the vineyards (3) gives me time to reflect on life. But I also enjoy sitting on a terrace along the Canal du Midi (4), in the shade of plane trees, while the wind brings the typical garrigue fragrances. Every time I come home, the song of the cicadas gives me goosebumps. Once you have lived in the South of France, it will stay in your heart wherever you go.
Best Languedoc wine
One wine estate that is doing an extraordinary job is Domaine de L’Arjolle in Pouzolles. Their wine is like velvet in your mouth, and it’s pure joy.
I also have a great affection for the Domaine des Amiel in Montblanc. This wine estate has been in the Amiel family since the 1490s (!), and today the brothers Aymeric and Jordan are in charge. Their wine tells their history and why it is important to stay close to nature.
Of course, I don’t have the time to discover and test all of the region’s wine. There are so many other domaines worth trying. The most important thing is that the wine you’re drinking gives the best of itself by representing where it was born and the soil where it has grown.
There are of course the four ‘grands classiques’ of Béziers: La Maison de Petit Pierre, Pica-Pica (5), L’Alternative, and L’Ambassade. Besides these high-quality restaurants, I can recommend Le Sépia in Valras-Plage without hesitation. Also, Le Boucan in Villeneuve-lès-Béziers is worth the detour.
In Les Halles (6), Béziers’ covered market, you will find À La Maison and La Gargote des Halles. The latter even cooks the products you have just bought on the market for you. Le Patio, situated in an ancient Hôtel Particulier, is fabulous for a dinner under the olive trees on the terrace.
You see, there are so many good restaurants around here, and it’s up to you to discover them all.
Perfect day out in Languedoc
I start my day with a mountain bike ride through the vineyards or a hike. There is a great trail called ‘Les Balcons d’Alignan-Du-Vent’. While I’m there, I pay a visit to the nearby Domaine de Brescou, a wine estate with a wonderful art gallery. And our picnic would be from L’Auberge De La Tour, a hotel in Valros that also runs a fabulous épicerie and catering service.