Sète – a day trip in a beautiful setting
Sète is a coastal town popular with tourists, both French and foreign. I visited for the day from Montpellier. Taking the train it’s about a 20 minute journey. You can check out all the affordable ways of getting around the region in this previous post.
The town of Sète itself is bordered on 2 sides by water. On one is the Mediterranean Sea and the other is the Etang de Thau lagoon. On a warm sunny you can sit at one of the many cafés and bars alongside the canal. If you don’t want to spend money you can sit on the grass and watch the boats go by. It’s a great escape from the city.
Traditional shops galore
There were many traditionally-styled, open plan shops lining the streets like the one above.
Fancy a Tielle?
If you like seafood and pies then you are in for a treat. Home of the French Tielle (La Tielle Sètoise) the options are plentiful. It is a simple, soft pastry with squid (poulpe) in a tomato sauce (pulpe), like a ragout. The saltiness of the squid really comes out in the flavour, which is why it wasn’t to my liking. The day I visited was coincidentally the weekend of the Tielle Festival (Fête de la Tielle) and I happily tried one. Along with my pie I had a glass of rosé. Both combined set me back 3€.
Or a hilltop panoramic view?
A very steep path called Le Chemin De St Clair (the path of St Clair) leads west from the town centre and up to the Mont St Clair lookout. Depending on your fitness it could take up to 45 minutes to walk up but wow is it worth it. It is the site of the chapel Notre Dame de la Salette and a huge white cross, which you can see on the extreme left of the photo above.
On a sunny day, as it was when I was there, it’s a great place to sit and relax and read. There are wooden decks that form a path and steps that you can sit on. I love these views.
And then a drink by the water after your descent
As I said earlier, it’s a great town to sit and watch life on the water go by. Sète struck me as somewhere people go to retire, and spend their leisure time on their boats. I saw several older couples go by smiling. With over 300 days of sunshine per year I don’t blame them. For the first photo below I was sat at a café with a hot chocolate. For the second I found a patch of grass next to a bridge to enjoy the sun and the view.
I found an authentic boutique cheese shop
And some cool street art
Sète is a great little town, surrounded by water. Go in September/October for the best mix of weather and low tourist numbers. Try a regional delicacy in a Tielle, get some exercise walking up to Mont St Clair, and enjoy walking down some typical South of France alleyways. If you enjoy wandering around town and letting the sights find you, you’ll enjoy Sète.