Sète & surroundings
A dream on the French Mediterranean sea
Sète is a port city on the Mediterranean coast of southern France. With over 40,000 inhabitants, it is the third largest city in the Département Hérault, which is located in the Occitan region. The city is located 32 km southwest of Montpellier (the capital of the region) directly on the Mediterranean Sea on a narrow headland between the sea and the 18 km long lagoon "Étang de Thau" (also called "Bassin de Thau"). Sète is surrounded by water practically on all sides and is therefore also called the "Little Venice" of Occitania. Sète, written "Sette" in royal times, has fewer bridges than the Italian lagoon city, but no other city in the south of France is crossed by so many water veins and has so much Italian old town flair as Sète.
Already the French chansonnier and famous son of the city, Georges Brassens, sang about the twelve kilometre long beach. The peninsula with one of the most picturesque fishing villages in the Occitan region not only pleased King Louis XIV, but also poets and pirates. On the banks of the „Thau“ lagoon or in the heart of the wine growing regions: Stop off at the oyster fishermen and wine growers. In Bouzigues you can taste the famous oysters, in Frontignan and Mireval nutmeg wines, in Marseillan the vermouth Noilly-Prat, in Pinet the Picpoul wines.
Less than 50 kilometres to the north, the river Hérault has carved wild gorges in the Massif de la Séranne. There, canoeists and canyoning enthusiasts get their money's worth, for example in Saint Guilhem le Désert (one of the most beautiful villages in France) on the river. A photo of the bridge "Pont du Diable" (a UNESCO world heritage site) is a must when visiting the region.
A few kilometres to the east, in the huge nature reserve of the „Camargue“, you will find
uncountable flamingos, the wild herds of the white Camargue horses, a horse breed only
found here, and the sometimes very large herds of the Camargue bulls.
To the northwest is the "Grands Causses" nature park, which combines the tranquillity of nature with the flair of small towns. The nature is extremely varied and often holds positive surprises in store.
To the west is the nature park "Haut-Languedoc", a vast mountain park with hiking and
cycling trails, numerous bird species, wild sheep and more.
To the southwest (towards Spain) is the nature park "Narbonnaise en Méditerranée", a varied protected landscape area. Here you will find the lagoons and fine sandy beaches of the Mediterranean coast as well as the rocky slopes of the Clape massif and the vineyards and garrigue landscapes of the Corbières massif.
Welcome to the heart of the „Hérault“ !