One of the perks of living in Montpellier is that it’s located close to many beautiful french cities and just hours away from Barcelona. This is perfect for cheap short weekend trips, and following last week’s trip to Nîmes, I decided to get out of Montpellier on Saturday and spend the day in Sète,a port city with a series of canals that connect the lake “Étang de Thau”, which is the second largest french lake, to the Mediterranean. The city is situated at the foot of Mount St. Clarie and it’s the most important port in the region. It doesn’t have big museums or great buildings to visit; its charm lies on the streets and canals themselves, the beautiful view from the top of Mount St. Claire and the peaceful beaches.
We started of our day strolling around the streets along the main canal “Canal Royal”, made our way to “La Criée” , a fish auctioning house where buyers from restaurants and fish shops come to get fresh fish and seafood. Unfortunately it’s closed on the weekends so we couldn’t witness the action going on inside, but we got lucky and just outside there was an importan rowing race going on.
We then made our way to a quiet beach to relax for a bit and prepare for the climb up the hill all the way to the top of Mount St. Claire.
There are stairs that will lead you right up to Mount St. Claire, but we took the road instead, which may have been more exhausting but the plus side was that we got to see the beautiful and huge mediterrean style houses built on the mountain. I was very tempted to trespass and jump into the swimming pools of these houses.
As any other port it offers a wide range of seafood dishes being oysters and mussels the most popular ones. I am not a seafood eater, but I felt like I at least had to try the fish. In all honesty the best thing on my plate was the lettuce and it freaked me out that they served me a fish with the head and skin on. My friends had mussels and they were not impressed either, but they are tough judges taking into consideration that they are from Belgium and one of their typical plates are mussels or “moules-frites”.
But leaving the cuisine aside, if you are travelling around the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France,Sète is definitely worth a visit for a day or two.