Day Trip: Sète, France

Canal1One of the things I love about south of France is the people – it’s super easy to start a friendly conversation with strangers! People here are so open and curious, making it easy to share each other’s life stories. Inevitably, I always end up discovering new things.

I first learned about Sète when I ate at a family caterer in Montpellier. The owner shared his passion for homemade Sétoise food and his hometown (in French of course!) “You have to visit! It’s right by the French Mediterranean sea with all the seafood you can eat, not to mention the beautiful canals…”

Well, he had me at ‘seafood’.

So on a sunny day, my husband and I took a 20-minute train ride from Montpellier to visit Sète. Located in the Languedoc region at the end of the Canal du Midi, the town is referred to as the ‘Venice of the Languedoc’ by the Sétoise. Along the edges of the canals are parked boats in various sizes while shops, bars and restaurants lined the streets.

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It’s a little strange that the tourism office is located far from the train station, so brace yourselves for a 20 minute walk to the city centre. The walk didn’t bother us though, since you’re walking along the canals the whole time. Sète is not a large town and can be easily done in a day, even at a slower pace. In fact, the trick is to slow down and soak in the vibe of the town…and eat seafood, but more on that later!

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Some fun facts about Sète:

  • Before the construction of the port, Sète served as a hide out place for pirates
  • Hometown to two famous French artists: Paul Valéry (poet) and George Brassen (singer)
  • Every summer, Sète holds water jousting tournaments (jousting from boats instead from horses!) Google it, it seems really fun!
  • Tielle is a specialty dish of Sète containing spicy octopus and tomato sauce. It’s quite yummy! The locals must really love tielles since we saw tons of artisan shops dedicated to only selling tiellesTielle_IMG_8991

Now let’s get to my favourite part…

Seafood!

You can buy a variety of seafood in Sète, especially at the farmers market.

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I don’t remember whose brilliant idea it was to check out the market on empty stomaches but I do remember checking my watch non-stop to see if it’s time for our lunch reservation. You can see more pictures of our seafood lunch here. Let me just say, I was one happy lady!

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Thanks for reading, à la prochaine!

xo

Mary

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6 comments

  1. Emmanuel says:

    The seafood is reason enough to visit….the urchins look amazing…the waterfront looks like a more intimate, more serene version of Marseille!

    • Mary says:

      That’s right! It’s very different from Marseille. Speaking of which, I need to go there again to try the bouillabaisse! 😀

      • Emmanuel says:

        I wasn’t actually that wowed by the bouillabaisse in Marseille, to be honest…it was good, but not as good as I expected it to be….

  2. Karen says:

    Looks amazing! I love following your weekend trips. Can’t wait to see where else you go. I highly recommend San Sebastian (really good seafood) and Dordogne Valley (especially Sarlat on market day).

    Also for some inspiration, google “prettiest villages in France” as well as “festivals of France”. They have some fun ones, like the lemon festival in Menton! I came across it a couple years ago and it’s very high on my list.

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