Over the Sete Canal
Thau Neighbourhood and the Étang de Thau
The first stones of Sète were put into place on what would become the first breakwater, which would be lengthened in the 18th century. The people from neighboring villages: Bouzigues, Mèze, Frontignan and Marseillan, now came to work in Sète. Little by little, town life began to organize itself around the essentials of life with the creation of several commerces. And the town of Sète was born.
In the 18th century, small cabins, built out of dry stone, called “baraquettes” were gradually built on the mountain. Traditionally, on Sundays, families would climb the mountain to spend the day in the country at the “baraquette”. Over the years, the baraquette became a real institution, with its rituals and traditions becoming part of family life for Sète’s people.
Sète has a living maritime heritage, commercial ports and cruise terminals, a fishing port in the heart of the town, and a fish auction supplied by a whole fleet of trawlers and tuna boats.
Other reminders of its maritime history can be seen in the fishermen’s districts, the traditional Catalan fishing boats along the canals, Fort St Pierre (now the Théâtre de la Mer), the Musée de la Mer, and the famous Pardon de St Pierre fishermen’s festival, etc.
And last but not least, ‘Escale à Sète’ is the top festival of maritime traditions, when all manner of maritime-related themes come together in one place, for you to discover a unique heritage and a host of colourful characters.
Water jousting is a Languedoc tradition dating from the eighteenth century: the first jousting competitions took place in several Languedoc villages: in 1601 in Agde, then in 1627 in Frontignan, and in 1665 in Mèze.
In Sète, the first water jousting tournament took place the 29th July 1666, in order to celebrate the foundation of the port which was deeply linked to the digging of the Canal du Midi. More than a sport, much more than simple folklore or tradition, jousting reflects the very soul Sète’s inhabitants!