Our Monday Posts are dedicated to personal points of view and newsworthy facts. Today, we welcome a new contributor, Michel Pampaloni, who hails from France and photographs a lot during his professional travels. You can find Michel’s work on 500px and his first DS post below. It is all about Sete, a small town in Languedoc, in the South of France. Please welcome Michel !
Located about thirty kilometers South-West of Montpellier in southern France, Sète is a small town of just over 40,000 inhabitants.
I discovered Sète a little over fifteen years ago -it’s my wife hometown- and since then I return regularly to visit our family.
Fishing and pleasure port, wedged between the Mediterranean Sea and the pond of Thau, the city is completely surrounded by water and from a distance we can only distinguish the Saint Clair mount.
Sunny climate, rich cultural season, lively city with miles of sandy beach, all assets that makes Sète a popular holiday destination.
Whether your interest lies in architecture, landscape, or street photography, the city has a lot to offer. The best season is probably spring, in the summer the city is very crowded.
What stands out at first sight are the canals, a sort of little French Venice. The most beautiful is undoubtedly the Royal Canal. I like walking there early in the morning to photograph the coloured houses on the docks and the fishing boats. No need to bring a polarizing filter, the intense light of the South of France, provides dazzling colors naturally.
On this canal the summer weekends, take place a sporting event unique of its kind which seems straight out of the Middle Ages : Jousting. It is relatively easy to find a good location and make some nice shots. However, for the main tournament which takes place late August for the city celebration the “Saint Louis”, you have to be there well in advance to find a good location.
Continuing along the canal, you have to go to the Mole Saint Louis, a 650m jetty, where stands the old lighthouse. If the weather is nice you’ll have a nice view; but if you’re lucky enough to be there on a windy or stormy day, then you’ll be able to take spectacular photos, waves crashing and jumping over the pier. Make sure your gear is waterproof!
From here you can walk up to the marine cemetery by the road. The place is splendid and offers a 180 ° view of the harbor and the sea. Walking the aisles, one can admire the architectural beauty of some chapels like the “Pleureuses”. Several burials remind the maritime vocation of the city.
The city center between the “Canal Royal” and the “rue de la Caraussane” is somewhat dilapidated. The district is nevertheless interesting you can take a 35mm around the neck and discover at the corner of a street, a work of Street Art.
Do not miss the “Les Halles” market, preferably in the morning, you can buy or taste local food such as the “Tielle”, “Macaronade” or stuffed mussels.
To have a global view of the city and the surroundings the best place is the “Mont Saint Clair”. There are two must-see places, a belvedere near “Notre Dame de la Salette” and the white stone promenade “Les Pierre Blanches”.
You can climb to the “Mont Saint Clair” from the city center by stairs. Some 250 steps await you before you can enjoy a 360-degree landscape. At sunrise or sunset, the view is splendid.
The promenade “des pierres blanches” allows to see the other side, the beaches and the coast which extend until “Cap D’Agde”.
Among the typical neighborhoods of Sète that I particularly like, there is the one named « Pointe courte » . This area was originally made up of fishermen’s cabins, built anarchically. Today small houses have replaced most huts. But the charm always operates.
When you have finished strolling the streets of the city, take the time for a boat trip, you will discover the city under a new aspect.
Finally in summer, if you have the opportunity to see a concert at the theater “theatre de la mer” don’t miss it .It’s an old fort, converted into an open air theater by the sea.
These are my favorite places. I hope that these few lines and images will make you want to spend a few days in this beautiful city of the South of France.
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