Famous for its canals and alluring island positioning between the Etang de Thau and the Mediterranean Sea, Sète – also known as ‘the Singular Island’ – is among the most popular tourist destinations in Occitanie.
Affectionately referred to as the “Venice of Languedoc”, Sète is a tranquil oasis with an enchanting port. Its reputation has grown over time due to its peaceful atmosphere; after all, it was here where Georges Brassens, Paul Valéry and Jean Vilar were born! This idyllic destination makes for the perfect holiday escape.
This guide provides the essential information necessary to explore what this area has to offer in 1 or 2 days. And if it’s wine, terroir, and culture that interests you most – Winalist gives access to some of Languedoc’s best activities. Don’t miss out on all the wonders this place holds!
What to do in Sète and its surrounding area
Home to some of France’s breathtaking scenery, it is no surprise that this third largest city in Hérault continues to draw countless visitors from near and far! If relaxation is what you’re after, Sète has it all – from sublime beaches and a marina to museums and classic downtown living. While visiting this gorgeous coastal location, take time to explore the iconic sites that make it so special. To get a full experience of everything Sète has to offer, we recommend staying for at least one night so that you have two days in which to enjoy its beauty.
Walk around the port of Sète, France
Stroll through downtown Sète’s canals and find yourself immersed in a pleasant atmosphere of exquisite houses, quaint shops, and leisurely lapping boats. Come out of season for the most peaceful experience or join us during summertime when the marina is filled with life on Wednesday market day.
Don’t miss your chance to experience the one-of-a kind event at the port of Sète: The feast of Saint Louis! From August 19th – 24th, 2021 this patronal feast will be filled with over 70 street performances and endless entertainment opportunities. Even more spectacular is the renowned maritime jousting tournament that you won’t want to miss! With so much fun packed into a few days don’t delay in making plans for this extraordinary occasion.
Visit museums in Sète, Southern France
Sète is a city of culture and heritage. The Sea Museum ( 1 Rue Jean Vilar) retraces the history of the port of Sète since the 18th century and houses an impressive collection of model ships.
On the slopes of Mont Saint-Clair, the Paul Valery museum dominates the marine cemetery just below. The geographical location of this building designed by Guy Guillaume in the 1970s is quite simply exceptional. The view from the terrace is breathtaking: not to be missed for some photos! Inside the museum, we find more than 7000 works and a stunning collection of fine arts. Events are also organized at the Paul Valery museum (concerts, poetic recitals, or conferences and literary meetings).
Finally, the Georges Brassens museum is a tribute to the life of the singer and poet born in Sète. The museum dedicated to him is now the most visited in the city. 2 types of exhibitions are open to the public:
- The permanent exhibition: the Espace Georges Brassens offers you a virtual meeting with the singer, during which it is Mr Brassens himself who tells you about his life, interspersed with musical extracts, thanks to the audio guide provided;
- The temporary exhibition: Find the last temporary exhibitions (photos, testimonies) having taken place on the life of Georges Brassens on the site of the Espace Brassens;
Rent a boat in Sète, France
Escape to the Mediterranean for a sun-soaked getaway like no other! At the Sète port you can rent motor boats, sailboats and even catamarans – so pick your vessel of choice and start exploring with friends or family. From Agde to Camargue and Palavas, awaken all five senses as you immerse yourself in nature’s beauty on this incredible voyage of discovery.
For a truly memorable experience, why not rent a boat in the Mediterranean and sail out to explore for just half-a-day or several days? If you’re feeling adventurous, some rental companies even have wakeboarding buoys, water skis and more that can be towed behind your vessel – adding extra thrills during your journey! Whether you are traveling solo or with an agency, there is something for everyone’s sailing needs.
Do you also like water sports? Some rental companies offer you to enhance the trip at sea with some thrills! For example, you can rent a wakeboard, a buoy or water skis towed by a rental boat.
Enjoy the most beautiful beaches in Sète
Nestled against the breathtaking backdrop of Etang de Thau, Sète boasts nearly 12 kilometers of equipped beaches to entice visitors seeking seaside escapades. The main beach known as Lido is a 500-meter to 1.5-kilometer wide strip that separates the Mediterranean Sea and the Etang DeThau, comprised mainly of salt marshes and vineyards for an atypical nature experience.
Tourists can relish in Lazaret, Lido, La Fontaine or Jalabert Beach situated within Sète’s archipelago before journeying towards Marseillan where they’ll find another twelve kilometers worth of idyllic shoreline relaxation awaiting them!
Climb to Mont Saint-Clair
Rising 175 meters above sea level, this hill is an ancient island in the Mediterranean Sea. Today urbanized, Mont Saint-Clair still benefits from beautiful wooded areas, including the national forest of Sète on its western flank. To the east, the side of Mont Saint-Clair dominates the port with the Richelieu citadel, the lighthouse and the marine cemetery.
Ideal for a walk, and especially to find exceptional panoramas once at the top. You can see the Pyrenees in the distance, with a 360° view of the entire Sète basin, with the Etang de Thau on one side and the Mediterranean on the other.
At the top of Mont Saint-Clair, you can also visit the picturesque Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Salette, a 19th century Catholic place of worship decorated with interior frescoes that are worth a look.
Typical neighborhoods to see in Sète
Visiting Sète is not just about sunbathing, swimming and visiting museums. Sometimes, we simply want to walk in the city, to discover the place of life of the people of Sète and their heritage.
The oldest district of Sète is called the Quartier Haut. It is reputed to be the district of artists, and there are many Occitan inspirations in the architecture. The history of this district, created and animated by immigrant fishermen from Naples, sometimes earned it the nickname of “Little Naples”. The narrow streets as well as the small houses and artists’ studios take you back to authentic Sète.
The city center around the marina is mostly made up of Haussmann buildings, with a view of the canals. Quite chic and popular with newcomers to the city of Sète, this district is animated by all the shops as well as lively squares, such as Place Aristide Briand.
Discover the Hérault vineyards in the Sète region
Discover the Languedoc region around Sète like never before with Winalist! Our partner winegrowers will not only provide you with an amazing experience of tasting the local wines, but also impart knowledge about their history and culture. Soak in gorgeous landscapes as you explore this unique part of South-West France and savor some exquisite regional specialties to complete your journey.
Discovery of winemaking and tasting of cuvées in Adissan
Nestled roughly 40 minutes from Sète, Anqueven estate awaits your visit to introduce you to their wines and reveal the secrets of how they cultivate each variety – Syrah, Grenache Noir, Petit Verdot, and Carignan – with respect for nature.
Frédéric FAGES, independent winegrower and master of his craft, has a motto: “Let nature give us the best. Let’s take the time to do it right.” He offers an enlightening journey as he shows you his production methods and invites you to participate in a demonstration of winemaking. Afterward, savor several cuvées from this vineyard that come with Frédéric’s promise for excellence!
Discover the Anqueven estate now.
FAQ & Useful resources on Sète
What to see and what to do in Sète?
Recommended visits and activities in Sète are: Strolling around the fishing port and marina where the Nautical Jousts take place in summer, seeing the marine cemetery, visiting the museum of the sea and the Paul Valéry museum. You can also climb to the top of Mont Saint-Clair to discover the Notre Dame de la Salette Chapel. And of course, take a trip to the local vineyard, a few minutes from the beaches.
Where is the Tourist Office in Sète?
Located at 60 Grande Rue Mario Roustan, the Tourist Office welcomes you every day from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. to inform you about all the activities to do in Sète and the surrounding area. You can also book tickets for shows, tours and water sports activities.
How to get to Sète?
4 cities have direct trains to Sète: Paris, Montpellier, Marseille, Valence. By car, Sète is 2 hours from Toulouse and Marseille, 3 hours from Lyon, Grenoble and Nice. The nearest airport is Montpellier-Méditerranée.