The other side of Sète

La Pointe Courte is an unusual neighbourhood in Sète, created by the fishermen of the Etang de Thau, which has managed to keep is character. L’Etang de Thau is the largest lagoon in Occitanie with a unique biodiversity.

La Pointe courte

In the middle of the 19th century the arrival of the railroad cut la Pointe Courte off from the rest of Sète. Sitting between l’étang de Thau, a large salt water pond, and the Sète Canal is this little place known as the Pointe Courte. Over the years it became a veritable fishing village with its inhabitants known as les Pointus, after buying the land from the city in 1969. The rickety fishermen’s shacks evolved over the years into colourful little houses bordering the lake which adds to its unique charm.

In 1954/5 Agnès Varda, a young Belgian photographer turned director made a film called la Pointe Courte thought by some to have been the first of the French New Wave film movement and bringing some notoriety to the area.

At the end of the quai de la Daurade, is an historic building originally the “Station Zoologique de Sète”, built in 1896. It now serves at the “Station Méditerranéenne de l’Environnement Littoral “and is attached to the University of Montpellier. This Coastal Mediterranean Environment Station is well placed on the Etang de Thau as a biology and marine ecology research centre.

L’Etang de Thau

The Etang de Thau is 19km long and 5km wide. It provides a rich habitat for birds of many species, eelgrass beds, 88 species of fish, 70 species of mollusks, 110 other crustaceans and all kinds of other little shellfish which I cannot pronounce or eat.  Who would have known so many exist? Certainly not me being allergic to the lot! There are even ‘hippocampe moucheté’, or long snouted seahorse. How horrid that we used to be able to buy them for good luck in the 70’s. I most certainly did not! Nor did I ever buy rabbit feet alleged to bring good fortune to the owner. As if! We may have actually made some progress over the years after all. There is also a lot of oyster production here in the Bassin de Thau.

La Corniche

The promenade along the sea that stretches from the edge of town to the 12 kilometres of beach that eventually lead to Agde is my current favorite walk! This is a dreadful shame now that I am back in Toulouse feeling decidedly landlocked. The evening that we were granted liberty to travel more than 100 kilometres from home  after being ‘deconfined’ and go anywhere we wanted in France we  jumped in the car and headed to the seaside. The promenade runs high above the sea between the sparkling blue Mediterranean and the Mont St Clair with a defined separated path for pedestrians and cyclists (somebody please tell the people in charge of Toulouse who seem unaware of the concept). There is a little park half way along named after a very famous Sètois (man from Sète) called Georges Brassens. High above the lagoon there is even a small museum dedicated to the poet musician; le centre Georges Brassens click here

Le vieux port

 Staying in the vieux port I marveled every night at the comings and goings of the fishing boats and pleasure boats and highly excited seagulls which gave rise to my appetite, now that restaurants are finally open.  Sète is a fabulous city to become reacquainted with the concept of dining out. Al fresco, obviously, for the sea air and the bluest skies I have ever seen. There is no shortage of bustling cafés, bars and fish restaurants. For more on Sète read here.

I hope that you have enjoyed this post ‘the other side of Sète’. Follow me to keep up with me on my travels around beautiful Occitanie…………………………..à bientôt Christina


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