The town of Sète is like an island. Lying between the Mediterranean and a huge salt water lake, this lovely place is really worth a visit. It is located only 20 min from Montpellier which has an airport. In years gone by this town was home to a number of artists amongst which the famous Paul Valery who nicknamed it “the uncommon island”. Another famous nickname for this town is “the blue island”.
Between shores and vineyards, the town has a strong cultural identity expressed through its culinary traditions and through its dialect. Artists such as Paul Valéry, Georges Brassens, Manitas de Plata, Jean Vilar and the Di Rosa brothers lived in the coastal town. The name of the town changed several times, from Cette to Sette or Cete, eventually becoming Sète.
This name was given as a reference to the shape of a neighbouring hill called Mont Saint-Clair which has ‘the shape of a whale’ which is a Cetacean (Sete being above all a fishermen’s town at that time). The final name was decided in 1928 after long debates and local political struggles.
Sète is often described by property specialists as a fishing port with a typical life all year round. This town combines many assets such as its location - close to the trendy Cap d'Agde – and a much diversified environment around: the Camargue, the Provence, the Cévennes mountains range as well as the “Grande Motte” (one of the most famous coastal resorts in France) are very close. Montpellier is also within a stone throw, which gives a high value to this area. The town itself has a strong character which is excellent for holidaymakers.
Sete is not as expensive as Agde for example, with an average price per sq m of €2,670 and a rental average around €11 /sq m /month. This means that there is a superb buy-to-let potential in this area, in any season. Buy cheap, rent for a higher price. An investment here is really worth it, indeed, prices in Sete are still low when compared to the departmental average being around €3,050/sq m.
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There are lots of reasons to buy a property in Sete:
Typical character: Sete is full of character, with strong local traditions. Celebrations take place all year long such as the ‘fete des pecheurs’ (fishermen’s party) or ‘fete de la St-Louis’ (popular rowboat races) in August. The town is full of ancient buildings, kind of a small heaven on Earth!
Food delights: the town has many culinary specialities such as the Tielle à la Sétoise (an octopus tart), the Macaronade (beef meat and tomato sauce), Setoise mussels or the famous monkfish Bourride. Other stunning dishes are the Rouille de seiche (fish soup), the Frescati (sweet and sour cake with raisins), encornets farcis à la Sètoise (squids) and the outstanding zezette de Sète (biscuits).
Location: Sete combines the assets of the South (climate, food and wine traditions, peaceful rhythm of life) with other qualities such as its location. The town is close to the mountains, the sea and the big city of Montpellier (just 20 minutes away). The best French coastal resorts are located less than an hour away (Agde, la Grande Motte). Eventually, the town is very typical and many Brits promote its charming town centre or its authentic fishing harbour.
Sete has no particular house style but properties, especially in the town centre, that really are typical from the South.
Houses in the town centre: these small town houses often have a symmetrical layout and are taller than they are wide. Walls are painted in soft colours such as yellow, red, sometimes blue or green. Balconies are also typical of Sete’s houses, with a view over the harbour (obviously). Some of them, of larger dimensions, recall the famous bastides/ maisons de maitres visible in the southern hinterland. These properties are more elegant and evoke the wealth of the landlord.
Apartments: with the boom of tourism in this area, many apartments were built. They have no particular architectural style and their design is generally simple. Some are new-build properties, you can even buy off-plan. These properties are ideal as holiday homes or to serve as buy-to-let investments (see above).
Click here for more info about the Architecture of Languedoc-Roussillon.
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