City Sète brings together all the pleasures that a Mediterranean city with a long history can offer, located on an enchanting coastline. Its festivals and museums, as well as the discovery of its natural environment; add to the happiness of staying in this beautiful corner of Languedoc… seven days a week!
A Languedoc city that has fishing
Sète was founded in 1666 by order of Louis XIV to provide an outlet to the Mediterranean for canal du midi. The city was and remains, even today, an important commercial and fishing port. Note that Sète is the first port of fishing from the French Mediterranean coast. Sardines, tuna and anchovies are the king fish of this activity, but not the only ones (sea trips allow you to discover it).
Crossed by canals, which gives them an air of Languedoc Venice, its old quarters have a lot of charm. Must-see: the Old Port and the Jean-Baptiste Marty promenade; the Quai Lemaresquier, with its consular palace in art deco style; the fishing district of Pointe Courte; or the Quai de la Marine and its restaurants.
You will taste a gastronomy generous locality through menus bearing the names of poetic dishes: tielle (bread dough pie garnished with octopus cooked with tomato, spices and herbs), macaronade (pasta with spicy tomato sauce and its three meats), or bourride monkfish (monkfish), cuttlefish rouille, stuffed mussels and squid, fish soup, sea bream, shellfish from the Thau lagoon, zezettes (dry biscuit made from rosé wine), frescati (dessert) ...
For your gourmet shopping, be sure to visit the specialist shops and markets in the city, especially the Halles centrale. Here and there, we offer you all the best products from the land and the sea that Sète and its surroundings offer.
Sea, lagoon, forest: an exceptional nature
In Sète and its very close surroundings, beautiful natural sites reserve unforgettable walks for visitors.
La white stone forest extends over the slopes of Mont Saint-Clair. Along the pedestrian paths, one admires the formidable points of view on the city, the sea and the pond of Thau, the experts appreciating on the way botanical treasures: giant orchis, prickly pear, Jupiter's beard ...
Being part of the lagoons that border the Mediterranean in Languedoc, theThau pond (19,5 km long) is remarkable thanks to the diversity of the environments it presents (sansouire, near wet, salt marshes, afforestation, brackish water expanse, mudflat, reed bed, herbaria). Its fauna and flora are exceptional. It is notably a land of welcome and passage for many birds that we observe throughout the seasons.
On the coast, we venture on the shore, a 12 km strip of sand that separates the sea from the pond. This beach dream conceals a succession of spots where you practice water sports such as kite surfing, kayaking, paddle, windfoil ... As for lovers of navigation for pleasure at sea and river, they will find in Sète everything they need to set off on the waves of salt or fresh water!
Finally, lovers of the navy should not miss Escale à Sète, celebration of maritime traditions which brings together an armada of old ships every two years (next dates: from March 27 to April 2, 2018).
Unmissable festivals and museums
Port open to the Mediterranean, Sète is also a city of culture. From Paul Valéry to Agnès Varda, from Jean Vilar to Georges Brassens, from Hervé Di Rosa to Robert Combas, many have drawn their inspiration from the streets of this maritime city on a human scale, alive and lively all year round.
The great emblematic event of Sète remains its nautical jousting which take place on a part of the canals called Cadre Royal. They happily commemorate the birth of the city every year, from mid-June to early September, especially in August during the Saint-Louis celebrations.
They begin with a parade bringing together the jousters, dressed in white and wearing a boater, accompanied by traditional musicians. Aboard boats that evolve thanks to rowers, they then engage in duels, competing in skill. Equipped with a spear, their objective is to make their opponent fall into the water!
Sète is also a land of festivals. Many of these high quality and diverse events take advantage of the splendid setting of the Théâtre de la Mer.
Here are the dates for 2017, in order of arrival at the port: ImageSingulières photographic meeting (from May 24 to June 11) Live, festival of urban cultures, with artists' installations in the city, concerts ( from May 29 to June 4) you adventurous current music (from July 3 to 9) Festival, completely rap (from August 10 to 12); La Route du large and its various concerts (August 14); My Life, electro nights (August 25 and 26); BD Plage Sète (August 26 and 27); Convenanza, also electro (September 22 and 23); Les Automn'Halles, book festival (from September 29 to October 1); 22 Vl'à Georges, popular festival celebrating Georges Brassens' birthday (from October 22 to 29).
But culture in Sète is not limited to these numerous festivals. It is also lived on a daily basis, because there is always something happening in Sète, in all seasons: theaters, cinema, media libraries, art galleries, as well as museums varied, welcome Sétois and visitors all year round.
There is something for everyone according to their desires. One of them is dedicated to a well-known native singer of the city: the Georges Brassens space. Through an audio headset, it is the great Georges who guides us on a journey retracing his life and career. A rare moment of intimacy and a great moment of emotion for fans of the author of Les Copains Première.
Other places not to be missed include the Musée de la Mer (history of the port), the Center Régional d'Art Contemporain Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée, the Chapelle du Quartier Haut (contemporary art exhibitions), the Maison de the Documentary Image, the open-air museum (street art), as well as the unique and playful International Museum of Modest Arts, founded by Hervé Di Rosa and Bernard Belluc.
On one of the sides of the Mount Saint-Clair, which dominates the city from the top of its 175 m, the Paul-Valéry museum pays tribute to this great Sète poet, but also to other artists, with his beautiful collection of paintings. The place is sublime, especially the view of the Mediterranean and the marine cemetery de Sète, celebrated by Paul Valéry - “Noon, the righteous are made up of fires / The sea, the sea, always starting over! " - in the poem that bears his name.
Now it's your turn to be inspired by Sète, this beautiful muse emerging from the waves of the Mediterranean ...
For more information
Sète tourist office: www.tourisme-sete.com