Sète, France

“Sète is the most fascinating small town on the French Mediterranean coast precisely because it doesn’t go out of its way to be charming. It doesn’t have the time. This is an attractive – but serious – port full of working people with stuff to ship out and turbot to sell.

The site is wonderful. Sète encircles a lone hill, the Mont St-Clair, on the otherwise flat Languedoc coast. And it is all-but an island. There’s the sea out front, of course. Behind, though, is the Thau lagoon – a vast expanse of salt water, colonised by oyster- and mussel-beds. Between the two, a network of canals brings the scramble of port and fishing activity right into the town centre.

The canals both define the town and provide the current that energises the place. Many townsfolk have their own little boats to take them shopping. Anglers with apparently unlimited time on their hands line the banks and, come summer, the main Canal Royal is the theatre of Sète’s famous water-borne jousting. Sète is, in short, a swirl of a spot, with constant movement on land and canal.

It helps, of course, that Sète has the finest unsung beaches of the French Med – eight miles of them stretching along the spit of land separating the lagoon from the sea. An enormous scheme to tidy up access and the shore-side promenade is under way. But don’t wait. Go now to find the unfiltered boisterousness of the real Mediterranean. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Anthony Perigrine, Telegraph travel

More Stories

Eye of the Wind with Classic Sailing

11/05 Voyage Reports

Crew report Sailing on a Tall Ship Eye of the Wind

Sailing on a Tall Ship Eye of the Wind. Last year I spent a week on a tall ship sailing amongst the rocky islands

Read More
sail on Oosterschelde with Classic Sailing

29/04 Uncategorised

Last Places on Oosterschelde in Scotland

Last Places on Oosterschelde in Scotland Two Voyages Only One cabin on each voyage. .

Read More
RYA Yacht Master Ocean Theory Course

27/04 No Experience required

Brilliant Coastal Sailing

Brilliant Coastal Sailing Voyages that follow the coast, and start in one port and end in another, offer a real exploration journey where there

Read More