2013 Best Summer Trip #5
A network of canals and bridges crisscrosses this working port-seaside resort on southern France’s Languedoc coast. Sandwiched between oyster-rich Thau lagoon and the Mediterranean, and trailed by a kite-tail strip of sandy beaches, unassuming Sète delivers abundant sun, sea, sand, and seafood under the well-trod tourist radar.
When to Go: June-August; August 22-27, Festival of Saint Louis Joutes Nautiques, traditional Languedoc water jousting competitions staged on the Canal Royal.
How to Get Around: Start with a hike or taxi ride up 564-foot Mont St. Clair for an overview of the city, lagoon, and sea. Then head to the city center and meander along the main Canal Royal, lined with outdoor seafood restaurants and dockside bars. Beaches are on the public bus route, and most other destinations are easily reached on foot or by the ubiquitous powerboats. Sète is also the starting point for westward sails along the Canal du Midi.
Where to Eat or Drink: Dining at Terre & Mer is like pulling up a chair to a foodie friend’s crowded kitchen table. The lively market-bistro specializes in fresh oysters and mussels (straight from the lagoon). Limited seating makes reservations a must.
Where to Stay: Splurge on corner, canal-side lodging at the 43-room Le Grand Hôtel de Sète for the floor-to-ceiling windows, main canal views, and refreshing breezes off the private balcony. The vintage belle epoque facade conceals an airy, glass-roofed courtyard where the daily breakfast buffet is served. Walk from here to the marina, shops, art galleries, and seafood restaurants.
What to Buy: Canadian Nancy McGee’s Absolutely Southern France arranges custom shop, cook, and eat tours; gourmet walking tours; and local oyster bed excursions. Shop in the Sète’s fresh seafood and produce markets with a local chef and English-speaking guide, and then turn your ingredients into a traditional French meal.
Fun Fact: Jousters may get all the glory at the Festival of Saint-Louis joutes nautiques, but water jousting is actually a team sport. Each jouster is perched atop a wooden platform (tintaine) extending out from the end of a long wooden boat. Ten rowers (usually local fishermen) power the boats, and, before and during each match, an onboard drummer and oboist pump up the team by playing traditional jousting tunes.
CONTACT: Nancy McGee
BUSINESS: Absolutely Southern France
PHONE NUMBER: +33 613 231035
GOURMET WALKING TOUR OF SETE (France) EARNS 2013 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE
Honoured as a Top Performing Tour as Reviewed by Travellers on the
World’s Largest Travel Site
Sète France May 23rd 2013 –– Absolutely Southern France (ASF) today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.
To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.
“ASF is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Nancy McGee, Director of ASF. “We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews on TripAdvisor. With 30 visiting luxury cruise ships and visitors from around the world, Sète is growing in importance as a tourist destination. Because France is known for its food and wine tradition, I identified a need to offer a gourmet experience and at the same time a glimpse of the town’s many attractions and local colour. “
Absolutely Southern France’s Gourmet Walking tour is an intimate and unique culinary adventure in Sète. An English speaking guide will accompany groups of no more than six along the canals of the “Venice” of France, past historical and cultural attractions, while sampling local specialities and meeting merchants. The visit will include delights such as pastry, oysters, cheeses, wines and other fine foods. Visitors will discover the true scents and flavours of southern France while visiting the outdoor and indoor acclaimed markets with their unrivalled displays of fish, seafood and abundant local seasonal produce. The merchants, whose expertise is often handed down through several generations, are always delighted to explain how to prepare their produce.
Following the success of the gourmet walking tours in Sète, ASF is now offering a similar experience in nearby Montpellier.
ASF provides it services and local knowledge to travellers who are looking for unique and customized experiences such as wine tours, yoga tours and much more on the Riviera, Provence and the Languedoc regions.
Thousands of people travel to China for business every day. Every month Flying Blue Club China meets some of these travelers in order to discover their experiences in China so far. This week we meet Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France at http://www.flyingblueclubchina.com/travel/on-the-road/nancy-mcgee-china-is-a-fascinating-country.