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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Sete, a French beach holiday site

By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sete, France

If you want to travel in France and don’t care where you go, just put your finger on a spot on the map. Then go there.

Sete by the Sea

That’s how I decided to take my French beach holiday in Sete (pronounced “set”).

A little bit Venice, a little bit Riviera
Sete is a town of approximately 40,000 people who primarily earn their livelihood from the sea. Louis XIV was instrumental in establishing Sete as a prosperous shipping center during his reign. He understood the value of a seaport on the Mediterranean that could bring in the goods and valuables he desired to fill his lavish tastes.

Seal for Sete a French beach holiday siteIt was not until years later that Italian immigrants helped turn the city into a fishing Mecca. Sete is now France’s biggest fishing port on the Mediterranean and provides the world’s largest tonnage of tuna, sardines, herring, and anchovies. In the inland waters, oyster and mussel farms are abundant and thriving.

Connoisseurs say that oysters from Sete are the best anywhere.
Sete, a French beach holiday siteThe early name for Sete was Cette (Cettoise), which means “whale”. The name of the city was changed to Sete in 1929. The name was given by sailors who, when passing the undeveloped island, thought it looked like a giant whale

Known as the Venice of France, Sete has 24 bridges crossing the city to carry people and vehicles from one station to another. If you miss the last bridge, you run into the sea wall that separates the town from the Mediterranean.

Beyond the seawall are rocky cliffs where sunbathers stretch out if they choose not to head down the road to the miles of sandy beaches. (Stay tuned for a visit to the beaches.)

Every day markets
Sete is not a tourist place…yet. So, the markets and stores are devoted to the general population. Food and other goods purchased in Sete are at least half the price of Uzès or nearby Montpelier.

An indoor city market is open 6 days a week, and a large outdoor market is open on Wednesdays. Now, I’ve been to both, which are pretty different.

The indoor market is a place for social meetings. Everyone in town comes to do their food shopping and to meet their friends and neighbors. For the older generations, it’s a place to meet and enjoy a glass of wine, beer, and oysters… in the morning.

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Buildings and architecture

The center city of Sete is filled with ornate buildings with carvings and pillars that testify to the city’s early wealth. Many downtown apartments were created from majestic homes bordering the canals.

Is it any wonder I find Sete such a fantastic place for a French beach holiday?

Day trip from Uzes to the Cevennes

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