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Fun with Katherine, Part 3

October 17, 2014

There were many items on my list of things to do with my daughter: take a cruise on the Canal du Midi, do some wine tasting, show her the mysterious and atmospheric village of Minèrve, or visit the reportedly lovely town of Collioure, way down on the coast near Spain. Another was to go to Sète, also on the coast but only a bit more than an hour away, and she hadn’t really seen the Med yet, so off we went on another lovely day.

I have to pause here to comment on the weather. I know it’s been great in Connecticut, but it’s still late summer here, days in the mid to high 70s, nights in the mid-60s — and this is normal. The Languedoc-Rousillon claims to enjoy over 300 days of sunshine a year, and I’m buying it!

The last half hour or so of the drive to Sète takes you on a skinny strip of highway much like the road to the lower Outer Banks in NC, except you can’t really see the water on either side for the tall grasses. We could imagine bumper to bumper traffic in the height of the summer season, but now it was a breeze.

The city was larger than I expected, but very pretty nonetheless. It has two parts, the center around the harbor and canals (it’s known as “little Venice”) and the centre ville spreading upward behind the waterfront. It was indeed reminiscent of a newer, cleaner, less decadent Venice. There was some serious yachtage on the waterfront, but on closer inspection it was clear that many of these were fishing boats, and that Sète is a working city, not just a haven for the wealthy nautical set.


Ditching the car, lunch was, of course, our first order of business. We were lured into a nice little restaurant on the water by a handsome host and the appeal of the plat du jour: sea bream, roasted potatoes with aïoli and salad for Katherine, and mussels with aïoli and frites for me. This region is where they make Picpoul, my new favorite white wine, and it was perfect with our meals.

Lunch 1    Lunch 2

Reeking of garlic from the abundant aïoli, our post-prandial stroll took us to the breakwater, where waves were hurling themselves onto the rocks. The Mediterranean is so green…


As the city rises behind the waterfront, the atmosphere is very different: lots of shops, more restaurants, pedestrian-only streets, and a lovely square hemmed in by plane trees, where we enjoyed a café crème,  watched people, and discussed where we might find a roast chicken for dinner. 


Climbing further, we discovered a quiet park with a lily pond, but were disappointed that we couldn’t get high enough for an aerial view of the canals. One can actually climb the mountain overlooking the city, but without proper shoes we weren’t the ones to do it that day.

Leaving Sète just at rush hour, we expected to be able to find the long-sought-after roast chicken at a supermarket on the way home, but alas, our chasse du poulet left us empty-handed once again. I just don’t get it — a roast chicken should be the easiest thing to find here in the south of France!

So it was take-away lasagna from a restaurant on the square in Capestang — and quite delicious. As Katherine observed, the French do know how to make béchamel….

Barcelona awaits, and you know how that went….It was wonderful having Katherine here with me for a few days, sharing my space, getting all foodie and having a few adventures. There was so much to do and so little time, and I know that with everything I experience over the next few weeks I’ll wish she were here to share it. She’s a great traveling companion.

From → Solo travel

One Comment
  1. Tom Waring permalink

    Diana, Great Pictures!

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