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

Pieces of Eight

31/08 History

Pieces of Eight

We all know ‘pieces of eight’ from pirate stories but there is much more to it than that. It all started when the Spanish

Read More
Classic Sailing

24/08 1 - FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How fit do I have to be?

How strong and agile do I have to be? Our benchmark for arm strength is based on whether you could get from below decks

Read More
Classic Sailing

1 - FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Family Voyages

Family Voyages The simplest way is to join an existing voyage that is suitable for the age range of your family. The following vessels

Read More