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Ophorus Tours - Sète

Shore Excursions / Mediterranean

Sète

The small town of Sète was built under the command of Sun King Louis XIV who wanted to create a new port that would be more reliable than Marseille. Today, the harbour is a lively fishing, leisure and commercial port and the town itself, surrounded by water, makes it one of those charming small towns of France.

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Learn more about Sète

Sète Travel Guide (Occitanie, France) The town of Sète is located on the Mediterranean Sea between the City of Montpellier and the town of Narbonne. The town stands at the foot of the Mont Saint Clair that culminates at an altitude of 175 meters (570 feet). A bit of History Sète (that was spelt 'Cette' until 1928) is one of the youngest port towns of France. The small town was born in 1666 from a Royal decision and the will of three important persons: King Louis XIV (the one who had Versailles Palace built), Pierre Paul Riquet (the engineer behind the building of the Canal du Midi) and the Chevalier de Clerville. Paul Riquet was looking for a perfect area on the Mediterranean ...

Sète Travel Guide (Occitanie, France)

The town of Sète is located on the Mediterranean Sea between the City of Montpellier and the town of Narbonne. The town stands at the foot of the Mont Saint Clair that culminates at an altitude of 175 meters (570 feet).

A bit of History

Sète (that was spelt 'Cette' until 1928) is one of the youngest port towns of France. The small town was born in 1666 from a Royal decision and the will of three important persons: King Louis XIV (the one who had Versailles Palace built), Pierre Paul Riquet (the engineer behind the building of the Canal du Midi) and the Chevalier de Clerville.

Paul Riquet was looking for a perfect area on the Mediterranean where his Canal du Midi could finish. In addition, the Sun King Louis XIV had asked his minister Colbert to find an ideal location to create a port so as to ship the goods of the Languedoc. It was the Chevalier de Clerville who identified the Cape of Sète as being the ideal location for a port.

In the early 19th century, the population multiplied by three and the urban area expanded towards the Thau Bay. The port continues to develop thanks to the commerce of wine, wood, sulfur, cereals and iron. It is at that time that the port of Sète becomes the 1st in the world to export wooden barrels.

Since most of the local wine arriving in Sète was already in barrels, a great number of barrel makers decided to set their business here.  The wine trade declined when the Phylloxera disease hit the vineyards of France.

The port town then transformed itself into a fishing port or began importing goods from other cities or countries. Today, there are still a number of buildings that witness this wine trading past, especially the large wine cellars located on Quai des Moulins or those of the wine merchant Robert Skalli that have become a theater.

A famous Poet & a famous Singer

The town of Sète is the birthplace of two very famous french personalities: Paul Valéry, a French Poet, essayist and philosopher and Georges Brassens, a French singer-songwriter and poet. Both were born in Sète and are buried in Sète also, although not in the same cemetery. Paul Valéry is buried in the Cimetière Marin de Sète. The name of the cemetery dates back to August 1945 and is a reference to the title of a Poem written by Paul Valéry - Le Cimetière marin (1920).

Georges Brassen on the other hand, is buried in the Le Py cemetery that faces the Bay of Thau. The cemetery of Le Py is nicknamed the cemetery of the poor in contradiction to the Cimetière des Marins that is coined the cemetery of the rich. Brassens had always made it clear that he wanted to be buried in Le Py cemetery.

Things to see & do in Sète

Coned the Little Venice of the Languedoc, Sète will charm you with its many canals that run through town including the larger Canal du Midi that ends its course in the Thau Lagoon. Far from the tourist crowds that are present in other major seaside resorts, the old port of Sète has kept its charms and is the perfect destination if you like seafood.

As mentioned above, the Cimetière Marin is certainly one of the most popular visits that one can do while in Sète. Overlooking the town of Sète and the whole Etang de Thau, the panoramic views over the whole Mediterranean Coast are stunning. Another great location for an exceptional view is Mont St Clair that dominates the port city.

Finally, the town is also home to a Museum dedicated to Paul Valéry and an Arts & Exhibition center dedicated to Georges Brassens. The Paul Valéry museum makes for a pleasant visit and has an interesting collection of paintings from the 19th century. On the first floor there is an exhibition dedicated to the Poet and philosopher with first editions, watercolors and drawings. The Gorges Brassens center evokes the life of the artist, his childhood in Sète, the works and writers who inspired him and of course his songs.

Our Shore Excursions from Sète Cruise Port

We organize private small group shore excursions departing from Sète Cruise Port. The town is a perfect departure point for those that wish to visit the main attractions of the Languedoc region of France.

Sète private gourmet food walking tour

Depart for an intimate and unique food tour of Sète. Discover this beautiful town of southern France located on the Mediterranean coast as you stroll the streets along the canals, past historical buildings and reach the historical city center.

Coined the southern Venice of France, join your English-speaking host for an intimate and highly recommended activity that will take you on the walking tour of Sète. Your guide will certainly point out the main landmarks of the town including the Mont Saint Clair and panoramic views on the Thau lagoon.  

Here, you will sample some of the most delicious local specialties meeting passionate merchants, getting historical and cultural tips, and who will educate your palate with their fresh produce. The visit will include delights such as pastry and chocolate, fine foods, cheeses and wines.

Your culinary adventure will also take you to les Halles the harbor’s colorful and authentic fish and seafood market. Unfortunately, due to very uneven grounds this tour is not wheelchair accessible. 

Carcassonne on a half day or full day Shore Excursion

Depart from Sète and reach the mighty fortress of Carcassonne. Follow your private guide on a walking tour to discover the famous Cité de Carcassonne. Here, you will admire the castle and ramparts at the heart of the medieval city; explore the Cathedral and the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire; and visit la porte Narbonnaise, which was the principal entrance to the Cité. A dreamlike destination with a romantic ambiance, this guided tour is tailor-made to enchant you.

On the full day tour, after the visit of Carcassonne, discover the superbe site of the Lastours Castles. In the afternoon, you will then have the opportunity to admire the Castles of Lastours. The location is a splendid archaeological site, with its four castles: Cabaret, Tour Régine, Surdespine and Quertineux. Below, the medieval village of Cabaret is nestled deep in the valley. Upon arrival, discover the stunning panoramic view from the Belvedere.

Then, visit the most beautiful town of Minerve. Completely surrounded by deep canyons, the small Cathare Village of Minerve is a mineral location set in the heart of the Languedoc garrigue landscape. A stroll through the village will clearly make you understand why it is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Here you can shop for local arts & crafts, taste some delicious Minervois Wines or just wander in the village past bookshops or art galleries.

After the visit, return to your Cruise Ship in Sète.

Languedoc wine tour

After your pick up at the Cruise Port in Sète, we will begin our private tour with a drive through the Languedoc Roussillon area that offers a magnificent landscape of rolling hills covered with vines. Reach the first winery where you will have the opportunity to visit the cellars and learn about the history, the local terroir, grape varieties that are used for winemaking. After the tour, participate in a commented wine tasting session.

From there, we will move on to our next stop which is programmed in a second winery that produces a very large range of Languedoc wines. This is also where we will stop for lunch (meal not included in price) as the location is ideal for small group day tours. Here, if you opt for the lunch option, you will taste 3 wines as an aperitif followed by a 3-course typical local meal accompanied by a glass of wine.

Finally, your tour will end with a stop at a third winery that is located in the middle of the vineyards. Here, do not forget to take a look at the stunning Oak barrel cellar before tasting a range of different wines – red, white or rosé depending on your wishes.

After this last visit, it will be time to start making our way back to the Ship. We will end the tour at Sète Cruise port and that will be the end of our services.

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