Béziers is a city located in the south of France in the Occitania region, Herault Department, 12 km fr om the Mediterranean coast. The population of Béziers is 78 thousand people. According to the population it is the second largest city in the Herault department.
The city which was founded in the VII-th century B.C. has a lot of historical monuments testifying to its rich history: antique amphitheatre, Saint Nazaire Cathedral (the first reference in the VIII century), Saint Madeleine Church (XI century), the Southern Channel (XVII century). According to the latest archaeological finds, the city of Beziers is the oldest city in France.
Béziers industry is presented by private enterprises working in the field of machinery manufacturing, metal processing, renewable energy, information and communication technologies. Industrial parks were established in the city, they combine technological processing enterprises, firms working in the field of logistics and the latest technology, production of packaging.
Favorable changes in the city such as the development of housing, the opening of new modern shopping centers, active restoration of the old center, modernization of the airport runway provide a big inflow of investments.
The Ministry of Culture of the French Republic twice (2017 and 2019) awarded the city of Beziers the honorary title “City of Art and History” for its active efforts to preserve, restore and popularize historical heritage.
Béziers is called “a capital” of French wine. Great efforts are taken to sel ect and grow new sorts of grape, update technologies introduction of wine production and storage.
Beneficial location of Béziers on the important commercial ways and availability of modern highways connecting southern French cities promote tourism development. Traditional holidays and different festivals are held in the city to attract tourists.
Consistent work is carried out in the field of demographic policy. Lately the city authorities being worried about the population “ageing” have taken efforts to prevent youth departure to large cities and capitals. In Béziers there are 6 colleges, three of them are private, wh ere students get general secondary education, and 5 lyceums (two of them are private). After graduation the students get bachelor’s degree providing a right to enter Institutions of Higher Education.
Nowadays there are two higher education institutions: the University named after Paul Valéry (Montpellier III) and the Institute of Technology. There is also the Conservatory of Arts, the Center of vocational retraining for adults. During the last decade a revival of interest to historical roots is observed. Due to this fact an Oxitan (Languedoc) language previously considered to be dead are actively learnt today as well as national traditions. Nowadays an Oxitan language is included into a list of optional subjects of the secondary and higher schools. The city of Béziers is announced “a capital” of Oxitan language.
In March 2020, Mr. Robert Ménard was re-elected for a post of the Mayor of Beziers.
Additional information about the city of Béziers you can find on the website: www.ville-beziers.fr.
The Agreement on establishing friendly relations between Stavropol City and the City of Béziers was signed in 1982.
The relations between our cities are characterized by certain stability. Close contacts are made at the municipal level. Visits of official delegations were carried out. They were aimed at sharing experience in the field of socio-economic development, acquaintance with the work of municipal services, commercial and catering enterprises.
The representatives of the socio-cultural sphere of the city visited Béziers a lot of times. Health professionals from Stavropol got acquainted with the health service system of the sister city. The Association “Pharmacists without frontiers” and the Friendship Societies of our cities organized rendering charitable aid to the Stavropol city Hospital No.4.
Cooperation in the field of education was carried out. Representatives of pre-school institutions participated in the colloquium on pre-school education issues which took place in Beziers. The exchange of the groups of lyceum students from twin-cities was carried out.
The relations in the field of culture and sport are being developed. The painters from Stavropol and Béziers exchanged the exhibitions of their works. National artistic groups and modern musical groups from both cities visited each other. Stavropol Academic Drama Theatre named after M. Lermontov went on tours to Béziers under the active support of the Béziers municipality.
The pupils of children sport schools from Stavropol took part in the International Youth competitions in Béziers and won prizes a lot of times.
Stavropol residents participated in one of the charitable telethons which were held regularly in Beziers. The parcels with handicrafts were sent to our twin-city, cash assets from those items sale were sent to the Fund of people who are ill with myopathy (progressive muscular dystrophy), for rendering aid to invalids, carrying out scientific research and new study of hereditary diseases.
Days of French Culture were held in the city of Stavropol several times. A number of activities were connected with those events: French artists’ paintings from the fund of Stavropol Regional Fine Arts Museum were exhibited; French literature exhibitions were opened in the city libraries as well as the information about friendly relations between Stavropol and Beziers. Weeks of French cinema and the Days of French cuisine were organized too.
Twin cities development relations issues were covered by mass media: regional TV, a newspaper “Vecherniy Stavropol”.
During the Year of France in Russia and the Year of Russia in France a joint plan of activities was worked out by the International and Interregional Relations Department of Stavropol city administration. Within a framework of its implementation a ceremonial opening of the exhibition was arranged in the Stavropol State Local Museum Preserve named after G.Prozritelev and G.Prave. It was devoted to the history of twinning relations between Stavropol and Beziers. A books exhibition “France: country, people, traditions” was arranged in a Stavropol central library network branch. Books by French and Russian writers devoted to France’ culture, geography and traditions were displayed.
A music and poetic composition “Under the sky of Paris” in the Stavropol children music school was devoted to the Year of France in Russia and the Year of Russia in France. Slide shows about history and culture of Paris and other cities, reproductions of French artists’ paintings were organized. Classical and modern music of French composers, poetry and songs in Russian and French were performed. A contest of feature stories devoted to France was organized among students of higher and specialized secondary educational institutions. The contest was monthly covered in the Stavropol youth newspaper.
“Ten-day period of French culture” was held in the Stavropol centralized library network branches. The books exhibitions were arranged. The club meetings of books’ lovers dedicated to historical past and present of French literature were held. Groups from municipal concert and art association “Akkord” performed musical programmes dedicated to the Year of France in Russia. The city residents got the possibility to enjoy French poetry as well as French composers’ opera and instrumental music.
Within the Year of France in Russia the Stavropol State University together with the educational institutions of the city performed a concert programme “A walk around Paris”. It included fragments of presentation-lessons dedicated to the history of twinning relations between Stavropol and Beziers. The French poets’ poems were recited, variety and folklore songs were performed. An international exhibition of children's drawings "My origins" was organized in the Stavropol child art school with the assistance of the international and interregional relations department. The exhibition presented pupils’ photo collages and drawings of the twin-city Béziers elementary school "Maireaux" and college "Pic".
For further development of friendly sister-city relations in November-December, 2011, the ensemble of folk songs “Lada” of Stavropol city House of culture visited the city of Béziers to participate in the 30th anniversary of the French choir “Bramayer”.
Participants of the ensemble were given a warm welcome at the City Hall of Béziers and at the Association “Friends of Béziers – Stavropol”. During the visit, several concerts of the ensemble “Lada” were organized in various cities in the south of France, an interesting rich program was represented there. The French audience appreciated the sincerity of a perfectly matched national repertoire. An original gift was the performance of the Stavropol ensemble at the anniversary concert. The prospects for creative interaction and expansion of cultural cooperation were discussed during the visit of the ensemble “Lada” in Beziers.
In recent years, the interaction at the municipal level of the twin cities is being constantly maintained. The exchange of informational photos and video materials about the most important events of Stavropol and Beziers is being carried out. A film on Stavropol socio-economic development, videos of performances by the folklore ensemble "Lada" named after L.A. Jacobi of Stavropol city House of Culture, the ensemble of Stavropol and Terek Cossacks songs "Heritage" of the city of Stavropol, as well as information materials on the history of the Cossacks in the city of Stavropol were sent for presentation within the framework of the Days of Russian Culture in 2017 and 2019 in Beziers. The municipality of Beziers prepared and sent a video congratulation of the mayor of the French sister city on the 240th anniversary of the city of Stavropol.
As part of the further development of friendly twinning ties Stavropol city administration has developed a Consolidated Action Plan dedicated to the Cross Year of Regional Cooperation between Russia and France for 2021.
The Week of French Language and Culture was held at the North Caucasus Federal University in the period from 19 to 22 April, 2021.
According to the program of the events Days of French literature, painting, French cinema were organized. NCFU students prepared meaningful presentations in French dedicated to the life and work of prominent figures of culture and art in France.
A phonetic contest, a dictation on knowledge of the French language, quiz "Francophonie - 2021", as well as a film screening in French with an analysis of the most vivid and interesting linguistic and cultural fragments were held within the framework of the week. The directions of further development of the French-speaking culture were discussed.
A meeting with the head of the cultural and educational public organization "Alliance Francaise - Rostov Region" was organized. During the meeting students got acquainted with information about training programs in France for the upcoming period, obtaining a grant for education, preparation for the international certification exam in French DELF/DALF.
Students and teachers of NCFU took part in an online meeting with a graduate of the University of the Sorbonne, who spoke on the experience of studying in France. The presentations on internships as Russian language assistants in schools and colleges in France were also presented.
A methodological seminar "French: certification exams, international competitions for schoolchildren" was organized in the North Caucasus Federal University on May 18, 2021, with the participation of the Deputy director of the cultural and linguistic Samara regional public organization "Alliance Francaise Samara" for education in France in the Volga, Southern and North Caucasus Federal Districts, as well as the director of the French language resource center of the NCFU Humanitarian Institute. The main purpose of the seminar is to support the interest in learning French, to further improve the quality of language knowledge. The seminar was attended by more than 100 representatives of students and pupils, teachers of educational institutions of the city of Stavropol. During the event, video presentations, information materials about the higher education system, the features and prospects of studying in France, the scholarship programs of the French government for teachers, schoolchildren and students were presented. Special attention was paid to the preparation and passing of the DELF/DALF international certification exam. International competitions in the French language for children were announced. The final part of the seminar was devoted to answering the questions of the participants.
As part of the further implementation of the General action plan for the Cross-Year of regional cooperation between Russia and France, a series of literary meetings «France: from classics to modern times» was organized at the branch libraries of the municipal budgetary cultural institution «Stavropol centralized library system». Presentations of French authors’ works were held, readers were given the opportunity to get acquainted with well-known works, as well as literary novelties. Special attention was paid to introducing secondary school students and students, people with disabilities to the creative heritage of outstanding French musicians and writers. Quizzes dedicated to the history and traditions of the French regions were organized. Information about the life and activities of prominent cultural figures, architectural tourist attractions, famous Franch art pieces were presented as an interactive format.
There was a presentation of the book «Everything I know about Paris», written by TV journalist Zhanna Agalakova, in which the author very subtly and with French charm describes the beautiful city.
Virtual book exhibitions «France: country, people, traditions» were organized to familiarize residents of Stavropol city with French literature, including the novel «A Year in Provence» by Peter Mail, the world bestseller about life in a famous French province, as well as the virtual excursion «A Walk through Paris»: according to fiction books about the capital of France.
In May this year, open lessons, master classes, concerts and lectures dedicated to French music and painting were held in children's art schools of the city of Stavropol. Organizers prepared the presentation materials about the works of prominent figures of culture and art. The Week of France «Walking in Paris» was held in the Children's School of Arts in Stavropol city. Students got acquainted with the works of famous artists, French folklore, traditional folk dances, performed musical compositions by famous French musicians, prepared and presented the exhibition of creative works dedicated to France.
With the purposes of popularizing knowledge about the cultural heritage and tourist attractions of France, master classes «In the footsteps of French artists», thematic lessons «The origins of Impressionism» dedicated to a significant direction in the culture of French painting were held at the Municipal budgetary institution of additional education «Children's Art School» of the city of Stavropol. The pupils got acquainted with the works of French artists, took part in the plein-air work. Young artists expressed their impressions of France in a variety of creative works.
More than 100 apprentices of the city of Stavropol aged from 7 to 18 years attended in the city's competitive exhibition of children's art «Inspiration of France». There were presented works of art in various painting and graphic techniques. The winners of the competition were awarded with diplomas and memorable prizes.