Thursday, September 19, 2019

October 26, 2018 – Sete, France – Partly Cloudy – 65F

Sete, France is the country’s largest Mediterranean fishing port.  Sete has a series of canals that are reminiscent of Venice.  It is our first visit to this port.


It's a chilly day today in the south of France.  The port is very close to the city of Sete and we will check it out later.

We are on tour today – “Camargue and Aigues Morte” – Camargue is a nature preserve with a large population of flamingos and Aigues Morte is a walled city from the 13th Century built by King Louis IX - later to be Saint-Louis.

It is about an half hour to Aigues Mortes from Sete; Although Camargue is on the way to Aigues Morte, our bus must have passed it pretty quickly as I didn't see any town.  I did see the famed flamingos out in the water - there were quite a lot of flamingos but I could not get a decent picture of them from the bus.

Aigues Mortes, which means "dead water' or "stagnant water" is a well preserved Medieval walled city with a current population of about 8300 people.  Our guide gave us some background information on the city before letting us off on our own to shop or check out the restaurants.  The following photos of the city clearly point out the medieval character.  The walls are impressive and the streets are narrow.  You enter the city through a series of gates.

The first sight we visited on arrival was the Tower of Constance.  This structure was built in 1242 on a site of a previous tower built by Charlamagne (about 500 years earlier).  The tower is over 120 feet tall and about 70 feet in diameter.  Trees obstructed the view of the tower but I still got a pretty good shot.

The main square - The Square of Saint-Louis - contains a statue of the king

as well as a nice garden area and restaurants.

We stopped in at El Mio, a restaurant in the square.

The cafe owner spoke very little English but I managed to get my order in.  I brought a baguette for 80 Eurocents and a coffe and creme (3.50 Euros) and dipped the bread into the coffee (heavenly).

We checked out the various shops looking for trinkets (mainly magnets) but were unsuccessful in finding any.  Shopkeepers were all very friendly and helpful.

We got back in time to have lunch in the Oceanview Café and then go back out and see the town of Sete.  Since you can’t walk in the pier area, the port authority provided a free shuttle from the ship to the entrance of the port.  From there, you just have to walk across the street to get to the town.  

The town was not as non-descript as Shorex made it out to be.  Sete reminded me of a less dark and moldy Venice. There are canals but there are also streets.  We had low expectations but were pleasantly surprised by this cute little town. The weather was good and the outdoor cafes were bustling with locals.

On particularly interesting statue called "A La Gloire des Joutes" statue of a boy with a pole and a shield.  It commemorates the sport of water jousting which is jousting carried out on boats - a tradition in Sete.

Showtime tonight was the Production Show, “The Land of Make Believe” – we saw this mashup of Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and other fairy tales six years ago on the Constellation.  Some of the songs have changed but it is both silly and entertaining.  The new singers and dancers performed well (almost all of the cast came on board this cruise).

A pleasant day in the South of France.

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