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Canal Royal, Sète. Herault, Languedoc France

SETE

Sete
Languedoc Fishing Port and Resort
Fishing Port and Canal du Midi
Canal Royal and Water Jousting
The Museums
Paul Valéry and Georges Brassens
Manitas de Plata and Gregory Del Piero
The Beaches
Nightlife and Entertainment


 

What's to do:

Sète, Herault


Sète - Fishing Port and Canal du Midi

Originally called Cette, it is the meeting of 2 great canals - the Canal du Midi (1660s) and the Canal du Rhône à Sète. Previously it was on the Island of Saint Clair, being founded by gallo-romans; it first became known for its pickled fish and slowly the fishing industry created its wealth. Over the last 400 years it has suffered from an invasion from England in 1710, and the liberation, that damaged a lot of the town at the end of 2nd World War.

As a Fishing Port it has become France's biggest fishing port on the Mediterranean, though it is the 11th largest port as far as tonnage (3.6 million tonnes 2005). In the inland waters of the Etang de Thau - Oyster and Mussel farm fishing is King.

Sète - Canals and Water Jousting

In many ways the pride of Sete - is the Canal Royal - that creates an element of Venice in the lovely town. The parrallel Canal Maratime and the Canal du Midi and Canal du Rhône à Sète, creates the exotic mixed with commercial, that makes Sete unique. To celebrate the influence of water the Fête de St Louis (August 25) is a day when the Setois, take to boats like knights of bygone Medieval days, and joust. Joust to knock off their opponents into the salty waters. From late Spring to Autumn the teams of jousters ply their sport (there are about 12 teams in Sete); and its very serious, as its been in the Sètois blood since the mid 1770's in the hey day of Canal du Midi.

Sète - The Museums and Galleries
Centre Regional d'Art Contemporain

At the end of the Canal Royal, on the opposite bank to all the restaurants, the Centre Regional d'Art Contemporain, present varied and modern art exhibitions that vary from performance art, to film, photography, and painting. In 2009 Agnès Varda presents an exhibition about the sea.

Musée International des Arts Modestes. (MIAM)

Expect eclectic exhibitions of contemporary folk art at MIAM.! From graffiti works to political social comments on modern day living, often sewn together with a mad cap sense of humor. The exhibition for 2009 -"Kitsch Catch" exemplifies the art decorative objects you perhaps can expect.

Musée Paul Valéry

With 4000 works in its permanet collection Musée Paul Valery, has in its collections a very good representaion of Sete artists including François Desnoyer who moved to Sete in 1945, and more contemporary artists that replicated the glossy 1980s. There is even a good mix of orientalism in the art of Eugène Delacroix, Deneux Gabriel, and Alfred Dehodencq. The museum also exhibits photos, drawings, information about the history of Sete.

Espace Georges-Brassens


Enter the life and works of celebrated singer Georges Brassens, by visiting the exhibition area. You will see his films, hear his concerts, and be transported back in time to the 1950s. More about Espace-Georges Brassens

Sète - Famous sons

Paul Valèry

Best known as a poet, Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry, to give his full name, was perhaps the last of the French symbolists. His mentor was Mallarmé. In 1892 he had an existential crisis during a thunderstorm that stood him in stead for La Jeune Parque - a magnificent poem of 512 alexandrine lines in rhyming pairs, that made his name in French literature. This poem resonates the essence of nature and a woman, nature of elementals of life and death, rocks, stars, sea; similar to what can be experienced by visiting the Sailor's cemetary near his museum in Sete.

Georges-Brassens

Georges Brassens was born in Sete, near Montpellier in October 1921, growing up to be something of a vagabond in his youth, eventually going to Paris in 1940. His childhood idols were Charles Trenet (from Narbonne) and Tino Rossi (from Corsica). He worked briefly for Renault, and then due to the war, was equisitioned for the STO (Service de Travail Obligatoire) to work in Basdorf, Germany. He had time to return to Paris, going into hiding with friends living in abject poverty. All the time he was honing his skills as a poet and a singer. He was a shy man, who was finally introduced into the music scene by Patachou in a very well-known cafe, Les Trois Baudets.

Manitas de Plata

Born in a Manouche Gipsy Gitano caravan in Sète in a family that included the Gypsy Kings, he became well known by playing at the Gipsy pilgrimage at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, in the Camargue. He only went public 10 years after the death of Django Reinhardt - earning him praise from Jean Cocteau. By 1967 he was touring the world giving a Royal Variety Performance in London 1968.

Gregory del Piero

Born in 1972 he is a well known French DJ and music producer who is now living in San Francisco. He has created over the year deep and cutting house music, clarity beating out the best. More about Gregory del Piero.

Sebastien Roubinet


This Heraultais adventurer and sailor is presently (2009) preparing in Sete for his expedition alone across the North Pole by Catamaran (without engine) - uniquely designed to cross ice and water. See Sebastien Roubinet's website.

Sète - The Beaches

Just around from the port of Sete, you will find one endless 20kms length of sand that goes through to hedonist Cap d'Agde. Start by going to the Plage de la Corniche (buses - number 6,7,9).


Sète - Night Life and Entertainment.

It seems that Sete is somewhat limited for discotheques - except for the Casino at La Corniche which offers varied events; for those seeking dance - a little trip out of town to Balaruc Les Bains for Dancing Le Nostalgia, or Ellipse in Pousan, or Krys Club in Marseillan.
For theater - the Theatre Moliere has a very good selection of drama, dance, music and art in a superb architectural setting. This beautiful theater was opened in 1904, and was built on the skeletons of boats, so in effect it is steeped in history.
Concerts - In the Summer the Theatre de la Mer presents a great number of concerts, festivals (2009 Jazz Festival, Liane Foley, Fete la Biere, Patrick Bosso, Championship of Kite Surf)


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IDEAS

Take a day trip on the Etang de Thau - via bicycle, boats, or boat for wheelchair or reduced mobility


"You can visit Sète at any time of the year - as there is always something going on."

For a quick trip out of Sete visit visit the Musée de L'Etang de Thau to learn about shellfish farming, and fishing and then go along the waterfront boulevard of Bouzigues to dine on fresh oysters and mussels!


Visit the Venice of Languedoc at Sete, and bathe on its sandy beaches!
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