Agde (French pronunciation: [aɡd(ə)]; Occitan: [ˈadde, ˈate]) is a commune in the Hérault department in Southern France. It is the Mediterranean port of the Canal du Midi.

The cathedral
The cathedral
Coat of arms of Agde
Location of Agde
Agde is located in France
Agde is located in Occitanie
Coordinates: 43°18′39″N 3°28′33″E / 43.3108°N 3.4758°E / 43.3108; 3.4758
IntercommunalityCA Hérault Méditerranée
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Gilles d'Ettore[1]
50.81 km2 (19.62 sq mi)
 • Density570/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Agathois.e (French)
dagdenc.a, agatenc.a (Occitan)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
34003 /34300
Elevation0–110 m (0–361 ft)
(avg. 5 m or 16 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Location edit


Agde is located on the Hérault river, 4 kilometres (2 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea, and 750 kilometres (466 miles) from Paris. The Canal du Midi connects to the Hérault river at the Agde Round Lock ("L'Écluse Ronde d'Agde") just north of Agde, and the Hérault flows into the Mediterranean at Le Grau d'Agde [fr]. Agde station has high speed rail connections to Paris Lille Genova, Perpignan plus Spain, and regional services to Narbonne, Montpellier and Avignon.

History edit

Fountain of the Republic in town centre
Amphitrite in the place de la Marine at the river, by Léon François Chervet[3]
Joust shield

Foundation edit

Agde (525 BCE) is one of the oldest towns in France, after Béziers (575 BCE) and Marseille (600 BCE).[4] Agde (Agathe Tyche, "good fortune") was a 5th-century BCE Greek colony settled by Phocaeans from Massilia. The Greek name was Agathe (Ancient Greek: Ἀγάθη).[5][6] The symbol of the city, the bronze Ephebe of Agde, of the 4th century BCE, recovered from the fluvial sands of the Hérault, was joined in December 2001 by two Early Imperial Roman bronzes, of a child and of Eros, which had possibly been on their way to a villa in Gallia Narbonensis when they were lost in a shipwreck.

Development edit

The inlet in the Hérault river, Grau d'Agde, became from the Antique to the Eighteenth century period the most important port in this occitanian region of the Mediterranée for trade.[7]

Cardinal Richelieu undertook the construction of a roadstead for an Harbour, a strategic point in the Mediterranean area. The work, made difficult by the gradual silting up of the coastline, was abandoned after the death of the Cardinal. Fort Richelieu remains in place.[7]

At the end of the eighteenth century, when tall ships gave way to motor merchant ships, Agde changed its activity towards the exploitation of the land, market gardening, olives and fruits. The local viticulture then experienced one of its greatest moments of prosperity until the phylloxera.[7][8]

Actual shore developpment began in the 60's following first waterfront in Grau d'Agde.[9]

The heads of the inter-ministerial mission developped collective facilities to attract the greatest number of tourists: holiday centres and camps of the nationalised PTT, EDF, SNCF; holiday villages houses with belgian, netherland, german investments. Campsites are created, one with the first naturist settement in France. About leisure, tennis courts, discotheques, amusement parks (an aquatic park) are built. The National Forestry Office with arboriculturists (e.g. Vilmorin) contributed to the creation of green spaces in the resort, and reforestation. Hundreds of thousands of seedlings are then distributed free of charge to individuals.[10] After the installation of basic urban networks, going further, in the same time of cycling infrastructure reamenaged because of car traffic jams in the 2010s, plus municipal car parks receive solar panels in 2017 2019.[11][12]

Historical act in Agde : French Clergy and property edit

In the history of Roman Catholicism in France, the Council of Agde was held 10 September 506 at Agde, in Saint-André church, under the presidency of Caesarius of Arles. It was attended by thirty-five bishops, and its forty-seven genuine canons dealt "with ecclesiastical discipline". One of its canons (the seventh), forbidding ecclesiastics to sell or alienate the property of the church from which they derived their living, seems to be the earliest mention of the later system of benefices.[13][14]

Population edit

Agde's inhabitants are called Agathois.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 6,744—    
1800 6,744+0.00%
1806 7,639+2.10%
1821 7,726+0.08%
1831 8,202+0.60%
1836 8,230+0.07%
1841 8,251+0.05%
1846 8,884+1.49%
1851 9,115+0.51%
1856 9,439+0.70%
1861 9,747+0.64%
1866 9,586−0.33%
1872 8,829−1.36%
1876 8,251−1.68%
1881 8,170−0.20%
1886 8,446+0.67%
1891 7,389−2.64%
1896 8,478+2.79%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 9,533+2.37%
1906 8,435−2.42%
1911 9,265+1.89%
1921 8,325−1.06%
1926 9,360+2.37%
1931 9,605+0.52%
1936 9,242−0.77%
1946 7,592−1.95%
1954 7,897+0.49%
1962 8,751+1.29%
1968 10,184+2.56%
1975 11,605+1.88%
1982 13,107+1.75%
1990 17,583+3.74%
1999 19,988+1.43%
2007 21,104+0.68%
2012 24,651+3.16%
2017 28,609+3.02%
Source: EHESS[15] and INSEE (1968-2017)[16]

Wine, wineyards and winemakers edit

Electric wine pump "Catalane" Agde Model, 1891-92, [17].
Old port in city-center (Background old bridge over Hérault river)
Old suspension bridge (on it trucks of wine barrels for shiping)
" À la Belle Epoque "
Wineyards in La Roquille, foreground Mont St Loup

The vineyards in Agde are among the oldest in France.[18] Viticulturists, winegrowers experienced the problems of viticulture in the 19th century with diseases. However, while Aramon was able to save the production situation (see the electric pump) in the region by cultivation near the sea,[19] the intensive production of wine in the colony of Algeria caused both the low profitability and the low quality of Agde wines among Languedoc zone. Production began to decline. And production has plummeted since the station was planned, as housing needs space. The Richemer Cellars were born from the merger of the cooperative cellars of Agde [1936] and Marseillan.[20] However, tourist festivals are still present in the 21st century[21] tourist wine sales too.[22] And if the last vineyard of Bagnas is now very small below Château Maraval[23] and the Meyer distillery in ruins walking in is a leisure, its wine is better for "connoisseurs".[24][25] and "Wine tourism" has been in full development for several years.[18]

Architecture edit

Genouillade chapel
Saint-Joseph Bridge over the Canal du Midi
Town centre, pedestrian area
Château Laurens and the river Hérault
Maréchaux Bridge and the Hérault River
Bishops's mill

Agde is known for the distinctive black basalt used in local buildings such as the cathedral of Saint Stephen, built in the 12th century to replace a 9th-century Carolingian edifice built on the foundations of a fifth-century Roman church.

Bishop Guillaume fortified the cathedral's precincts and provided it with a 35-metre donjon (keep). The Romanesque cloister of the cathedral was demolished in 1857.

The sanctuary of Notre-Dame-du-Grau was once an ancient temple, for dévotion in the Antique. The Agenouillade (Kneel) is built after a miraculous prayer by Our Lady (Mary, mother of Jesus) to avoid flooding in Agde in the Sixteenth century.[26]

Near by the Agde Round Lock, aside the rail-way, Château Laurens is an splendid furnished villa, dandy residence. Inside is a gothic style "salon de concert" with original 19th century stained glass windows from Bézier's school. [27] All like some wine châteaux of Bordeaux were built in classic style due to winer richess, this one comming from an Agde wineyard income is in eclectic style, [28] it is the most beautiful concrete building in Occitania from Belle Epoque.[29] But if it includes a electric power plant, it does not include a producer wine cellar.

Cap d'Agde, footbridge from the Flanerie market street to the Port, in the background the old city centre with annexes

The urban planning of the 60s in France for the new towns separates car traffic and pedestrian-cyclist traffic with some footbridges.

The Bishops's Mill is now (2010) a cultural exhibition center, it was " a 13th century building and former flour mill rehabilitated in the last century as a hydraulic factory and then as a "sardine factory".[30]

The cooperative winery is created in 1936, but merged in 1998 with the one of Marseillan, activity in Marseillan, traffic on Beziers-Sète road.[31] It is transformed into offices and apartments in 2021.[32]

Pedestrian lane from La Clape (Museum) to La Roquille (beach), concrete tunnel support for flower trees "charmille Tony Garnier" style

Former National and Municipal Police Station is founded in the old building of National Police in the town-center in 2004, the new one is an extension. And the new establishment replacing the old one in Cap center is open in 2020 (cost 1,2 million€). [33][34]

Ephebe Museum

The Musée de l'Éphebe was inaugurated in 1987 after a series of clandestine archaeological excavations of the Roman villa in front of the arena, culminating in the first official underwater archaeological museum.[35] The new municipal and departmental swimming pool L'Archipel, cité de l'eau, is created in 2011, a wooden structure, glass roof.[36]

New congress centre

The new town centre of Cap d'Agde, design Jean-Michel Wilmotte (architect), with its twin Spanish-style esplanades (Barcelona) (2018 the first one, 2020 the twins), tall circular buildings with large crenellations on the upper floors plus interior gardens, a new annex of the town hall, a new post office, a new congress centre (architect Philippe Bonon [37] and Hervé di Rosa), a new tourist office, ground floors a shopping area (housing starts from 2020 to 2024).[38][39] Circular Casino Barrière (architect Philippe Bonon), is the first built with the today redevelopment of the Ile des Loisirs. [40]

The Maison des Savoirs, former Agde high school transfered at Paul Emile Victor school in Cap d'Agde site, is a Médiathèque, it is the transformation of the old school (built in the 19th century), the first phase was designed in 2000 by Denis Milhé, the second phase is that of Philippe Bonon, opened in 2020.[37]

The theatre, associated with the media library of the Maison des Savoirs has been rehabilitated since 2020,[41] the whole renovation of the esplanade starting from the Hérault and ending at the theatre will end in 2024.

History of the communities in Agde edit

Spanish community edit

Gypsy community edit

Jewish community edit

It is assumed that a Jewish community was established in the town around the sixth century AD. During the Council of Agde, assembled by the Catholic church in 506 AD, Christian laymen and ecclesiastics were prohibited from eating with Jews or hosting them. This prohibition suggests that the town Jews held good relations with their town neighbours. It is also assumed that the Jewish community was never large, since it did not own a cemetery and buried their dead in Béziers, three miles away.[43]

The Jewish name of the city was Agdi, or Akdi (אגדי).[44]

Agde camp edit

Agde was one of the Internment camps in France, 1936-1946, for the "dangerous peaople". [45]

During World War II, about two thousand Jews from Germany and Austria were sent to the camp near the town; most were deported on 24 August 1942.[46]

D-Day Memorial

Sport and leisure edit

Agde golf course (seen from Mt St Martin, back to the housing estates)
Swimming pool Cité de l'eau, overall shape Japanese helmet design (deliberate, inspired by comic book manga). Foreground bus station.}

In 1993 the Mediterranean Games began in Cap d'Agde. To celebrate the memory of first 1601 historic tournament in town, in 2001 the city of Agde organised major festivities bringing together all the jousting societies of the region.[47]

Agde joutes, Belle Epoque
Racing Club Agathois, 1929

Agde has a football club RCO Agde who play at the Stade Louis Sanguin.[48] They currently play in the Championnat de France amateur 2.

Agde also has a rugby club, Rugby Olympique Agathois (ROA), who play in the French Federale 1 competition.

Twin towns - sister cities edit

Town State/Region Country
Antequera   Andalusia   Spain[49]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French)., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ The sculpture rebaptised Amphitrite formerly stood on the façade of the Palais du Trocadéro, built for the Exposition Universelle (1878) and demolished to make way for the Exposition of 1937. She was preserved and offered to the city, where she now symbolizes Agde's maritime vocation. Base Palissy: Statue : Amphitrite, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)
  4. ^ Ludovic Trabuchet. "Des révélations sur le passé grec de Béziers". Midi Libre (in French). Archived from the original on 15 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  5. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica, §A11.1
  6. ^ Pseudo Scymnus or Pausanias of Damascus, Circuit of the Earth, § 208
  7. ^ a b c "Une histoire venue de la mer". (in French).
  8. ^ "Berges de l'Hérault". (in French).
  9. ^ "LE GRAU D'AGDE - Une rétrospective d'hier à aujourd'hui et des photos inédites !". (in French).
  10. ^ Moreau, Gilles (3 April 2017). "Le Cap d'Agde : une histoire née de la mer et des hommes" (in French).
  12. ^ free carpark Catalogne-Gallois, beach Môle and campsite
  13. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Council of Agde". Archived from the original on 29 October 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Medieval Sourcebook: Council of Agde: Concerning Slaves of the Church, 506". Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
  15. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Agde, EHESS (in French).
  16. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  17. ^ "pump and silo for grapes" (in French). The engineer-architect Paul Brès patented this system for his reinforced concrete silo tank, he would have considered this silo to be a kind of "cathedral" because it was visible from afar. Excerpts from the label of the exhibition LA CAVE COOPÉRATIVE D'AGDE, DE SA CRÉATION À NOS JOURS", Office du Tourisme, Agde, 09/2020.
  18. ^ a b "Hérault - Cap d'Agde Méditerranée présent à la « Fête des Vendanges » de Montmartre". (in French). 2 October 2019.
  19. ^ See Vias by the sea on sand and Lézignan-la-Cèbe with the Minervois AOC on pebbles inland with other grape varieties
  20. ^ "LES CAVES RICHEMER – CAVEAU D'AGDE" (in French). The Richemer Cellars were born from the merger of the cooperative cellars of Agde and Marseillan. They bring together 350 winegrowers on a vineyard of 1500ha and an annual production of 100,000hl with 65% white wines, 25% rosés and 10% red wines. They owe their name to a legend: Henri de Richet, a winegrower from Marseillan who is said to have made his fortune in the wine trade, thanks to maritime trade. He was soon nicknamed "Henri de Richemer". They bring together 350 winegrowers on a vineyard of 1500ha and an annual production of 100,000hl with 65% white wines, 25% rosés and 10% red wines. They owe their name to a legend: Henri de Richet, a winegrower from Marseillan who is said to have made his fortune in the wine trade, thanks to maritime trade. He was soon nicknamed "Henri de Richemer.
  21. ^ Fauli, Arnaud (23 October 2023). "Fête des vendanges à Agde : engouement populaire et tradition au rendez-vous". Midi Libre (in French).
  22. ^ []
  24. ^ "Hérault : Quels sont les 8 vins du département médaillés au Mondial des Vins Blancs de Strasbourg ?". (in French). 10 April 2024. Hérault: What are the 8 wines from the department that have won medals at the Mondial des Vins Blancs in Strasbourg? The Richemer cellars, located in Marseillan in the Hérault, were particularly rewarded, with two gold medals for their IGP Pays d'Oc Richemer Viognier 2023 and the Souvenir Cap d'Agde IGP Côte de Thau 2023.
  25. ^ MATHIEU, Danielle (18 October 2017). "AGDE BELLE EPOQUE à la FETE DES VENDANGES DE MONTMARTRE [Paris]". (in French). Présidente d'AGDE BELLE EPOQUE
  26. ^ "Découvrez le patrimoine religieux de l'ancienne cité épiscopale d'Agde". (in French).
  27. ^ "Le Château Laurens à Agde". Communauté urbaine d'Agde.
  28. ^ Daubrée, Anne (March 2023). "Le château Laurens, un envoûtant chef-d'œuvre Art nouveau aux couleurs de rêve". Connaissance des arts. Monuments et Patrimoine
  29. ^ Félix, Laurent; Palouzié, Hélène; et al. (15 June 2023). LE CHÂTEAU LAURENS. Le Cherche-Midi. p. 200. Laurent Félix, head of the heritage department of the Hérault Méditerranée urban community. Hélène Palouzié, Regional Curator of Historic Monuments.
  30. ^ "AGDE - Le Moulin des Évêques a ouvert ses portes au public". 8 April 2010.
  31. ^ Mission Patrimoine du Littoral exhibition in Ilot Molière
  32. ^ "AGDE - cave coopérative". 7 March 2024.
  33. ^ "LE CAP D'AGDE - Le nouveau Centre de Sécurité Publique bientôt en service". 31 October 2020.
  34. ^ Pocher (23 November 2018). "Un nouveau centre de police mixte pour la ville d'Agde". France Bleu Hérault (in French).
  35. ^ Ephebe Museum Anniversary exhibition 2015
  36. ^ "L'Archipel la cité de l'eau, un voyage aquatique en Agde". Midi Libre (in French). 13 October 2015.
  37. ^ a b Raynaud, Olivier (16 December 2019). "La Maison des Savoirs rouvrira ses portes au printemps prochain". Midi Libre (in French).
  38. ^ Wood (6 June 2022). "La première tranche du projet Iconic, au Cap d'Agde, inaugurée". Batirama (in French).
  39. ^ Greffin (26 October 2021). "Le Cap d'Agde : un nouveau pôle shopping de 2 500 m2 au cœur du projet immobilier Iconic". (in French).
  40. ^ Belkacem (15 June 2017). "Projet : ce que sera le Cap d'Agde à la fin du XXIème siècle. REAMENAGEMENT" (in French).
  41. ^ Greffin, Elodie (19 September 2022). "Agde : 3 jours pour découvrir le nouveau Théâtre AGathois" (in French).
  42. ^ Sartre, Patrice. "La piraterie en mer" (in French). Études 2009/3 (Tome 410). pp. 295-304. "The fledgling United States fought its first war, from 1798 to 1801 in the West Indies, against the privateers of the young French Republic plundering American merchant ships. Building on the successes of this French Naval War (Engraved on the monument to the Marines in Arlington), the United States will pursue in the Mediterranean the Muslim "barbarians" who negotiated for ransom the merchant ships they had captured and their crews, one of the motivations for the capture of Algiers by France a few years later."
  43. ^ "AGDE -". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  44. ^ Agde - Encyclopaedia Judaica |
  45. ^ Peschanski, Denis (18 February 2009). "Les camps français d'internement (1938-1946) [Abstract : French Internment camps 1938-1946]" (PDF). HAL (open archive). p. 952. [facsimile hors ill. & cart., 2000, Thèse de doctorat d'État en Histoire, direction AntoineProst, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, 3 vol., 948 p., bibliogr. pp. 898-948, index.. Num. national de thèse 2000PA010665]
  46. ^ "- Gale - Enter Product Login".
  47. ^ "Les joutes, une tradition sur Agde depuis 1601 !". (in French). On the occasion of the arrival of the Duke of Montmorency, Henri I, Constable of France, a sumptuous tournament of jousts was organized in Agde. At that time, the jousts traditionally took place on the feast of Pentecost.
  48. ^ "France - RC Olympique Agathois - Results, fixtures, squad, statistics, photos, videos and news - Soccerway".
  49. ^ "Spanish local corporations twinned with Europe". Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces. Retrieved 30 October 2009.

External links edit