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Sete, France is located at the foot of Mont Saint-Clair, and, like Venice, Sete is considered primarily a canal city, which adds a sense of romance and charm to exploring. Sete is sometimes affectionately nicknamed “Little Venice,” and it’s not hard to see why. This laidback port of call on a Western Mediterranean cruise isn’t filled with crazy surprises. It’s not a party city like Barcelona, and it doesn’t try to live up to the romance of Paris. Sete simply is.
Take a half-day hike to the summit of Mont Saint-Clair, where you can see 360-degree vistas of the French countryside and the elaborate system of canals. Head to Corniche Beach and enjoy a cold beer under the warm rays of the summer sun. Enjoy sampling wine from the Montpellier region, or learn the process behind how local seafood is caught and prepared. On your Sete cruise, you’ll discover everything is done with care here, making it easy to wish you could stay just a little while longer.
A trek to the top of Mont Saint-Clair promises the best views of Sete you’ll ever see, plus the physical exertion to the summit makes the sunset panorama feel like an even bigger accomplishment. Bring comfortable shoes and a camera to snap photos of the tiny canals below.
As the largest and most prominent fishing port in the French Riviera, the Port de Sete is your best introduction to what makes Sete so special and energetic. There are plenty of eateries and bars to keep you occupied as you explore.
Head to the fisherman’s district and the lagoon of Étang de Thau for views of tiny fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. Take a break at one of the cafes or restaurants lining the waterfront.
Wine tasting in the region of Montpellier is a popular group activity, where some of France’s most famous wines are produced and exported from. Add on an oyster tour, so you can familiarize yourself with the delicacies that make Montpellier an unforgettable place.
French cuisine in the countryside and along the coast of Sete is truly unlike anything else, from freshly shucked oysters and aged cheese to filling locally baked pastries. The act of preparing food in this part of France is a labor of love. Take your own gourmet tour or simply restaurant hop until you can’t eat anymore.
The laid-back, family-friendly beaches of Lazaret and Corniche are closest to the city center and will definitely meet your beach needs. Head a little further out to Villeroy Beach for day drinking and general fun.
Address: 9 quai Maximin Licciardi
The main reason to check out Oh Gobie is for the harbor-fresh seafood, which can’t be beat. Oysters, sardines, and mussels are simply but deliciously prepared.
Address: 1 chemin du Cimetière Marin
This Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant, headed by chef Anne Majourel, is a must for an upscale experience in Sete. You won’t find a set menu at this date night spot, however. Fresh, ever-changing dishes based on local ingredients and demand run the show here. Reservations are required.
Terre et Mer Sete
Address: 28 Promenade Jean Baptiste Marty | Place du souras bas
Another restaurant where fresh seafood is integral to the menu is Terre et Mer Sete, where cooked oysters, tuna roasted in butter, lamb rice, and fresh anchovies are just a few of the rotating options on the multi-course evening menu.
Sete has been an important commercial port city for France since the 1700s and helped usher in some of France’s most important exports and cargo. In the late 20th century, Sete grew in popularity as a vacation and cruising destination. The fisherman's quarters, the view from the top of Mont Saint-Clair, and the area’s incredible seafood are just a few reasons why people flock here each year.
You can find wifi at the cruise terminal, as well as a currency exchange and an information center for tourists. Restaurants and cafes are just a few minutes’ walk from the pier. There’s a shuttle bus for cruise passengers to get to the center of Sete as well.
A free shuttle bus will take Sete cruise passengers to the center of the city, and taxis are commonly available to pick people up from the pier. The area is fairly walkable, particularly when you only have a day to see it all.
You won’t find typical department stores or huge shopping centers here. Instead, Sete is known for its quaint shops and boutiques along the Port de Sete and surrounding neighborhoods.
The official currency of France is the euro. Credit cards are commonly used in France. It’s not always necessary to have cash on you, but it can be helpful should you need to make a quick purchase at a small restaurant or cafe. While on cruises to Sete, it’s important to know the tipping protocol. Leave 10% to 15% for taxi drivers, a euro or two for an alcoholic drink at a bar, and a few cents for a coffee. Restaurants are legally required to include a service charge, so you don’t have to tip additionally when you eat out.