There is a kaleidoscope of life and cultures around the Etang de Thau. About 21 kilometers long and 8 kilometres wide, this stretch of water is one of the largest natural lagoons in the Mediterranean. The area is a haven of great seafood, safe adventure, charming villages and wonderfully colourful traditions. The Languedoc-Roussillon is France’s biggest wine producing region, and there are plenty of vineyards to visit and sample the Roses! Here are just a selection of the activities on offer and suggested days out.
You are entitled to four half days of complementary water-sports per week during your stay (weather-permitting). You have kayaks (single and double), paddle boards and the use of our speedboat, ‘Le Petit Amazon Creek’ (for tours, water skiing, wakeboarding or ringo-ing!) to choose from. We will discuss your preferred water-sports programme with you upon your arrival.
Other water-sports available in and around Sète include jet-skis, SCUBA diving, windsurfing, sailing and kite-surfing.
Sète boasts 12 kilometres of sandy beaches with the beach continuing on to Cap d”aged to the West.
Closest to the villa is the Corniche beach. There are facilities for children, including a Fantasy Park which has 1000 m² of inflatable games, as well as trampolines, a toddlers’ corner, and shaded relaxation area; open from May to September. As well as many bars and restaurants nearby (see Restaurants and Bars).
The Lazaret Beach is named after the holiday centre “Le Lazaret”, located nearby. This sheltered beach is protected by sea walls, which makes it safe for small children to paddle in the shallow water. This beach is near the centre of Sète.
Further along the coast, you will find the beaches ‘La Fontaine’ and ‘Lido’. These beautiful beaches have recently been widened by about 100 meters. There is a free car-park nearby.
Relaxation & Wellbeing
A brand new centre exclusively for relaxation and well-being has opened this summer in Balaruc-Les-Bains (a few kms north of Sète). O’balia is a chic and extensive day spa with wellness treatments and facilities based around the warm water from the town’s natural thermal springs. Its outdoor features range from a large thermal pool with geyser and hydro-massage benches to an onsen, a Japanese-style pool complete with waterfall. You can even relax to underwater music thanks to the latest technology. Other facilities include a caldarium steam room, with chromatherapy lighting and aromatherapy effects. Available treatments include wraps, footbaths, facials and massages. The complex is set in gardens overlooking the Etang de Thau.
Open every day from 10am – 8pm. General admission is 16€, but prices for many of the treatments include the entrance fee. The website has lots of information and tariffs of all treatments, however it is only in French!
There is an international tennis centre in Cap d’Agde, which has 32 tennis courts, 2 squash courts, and 2 badminton courts – as well as a gym and a swimming pool. It is open every day from 8.30am – 8pm and you can simply hire a court or take part in courses or private lessons. Courts must be hired 24 hours in advance. Racquet hire is available.
Le Cap d’Agde Golf International Centre includes both18-hole and 9-hole courses, a driving range, putting green, chipping green and a practice bunker. The golf courses offer undulating greens and well located water hazards and bunkers. There is an on-site restaurant and pro-shop and you can also hire golf clubs and buggies.
T: 04 67 26 54 40
Sète Equitation Passion riding centre offers riding lessons all year round. The centre is located just across the main Sète-Beziers road, by the Lac du Thau.
Europkart, located in Marseillan Plage (approx 20 mins away), caters for adults and children. There are three sizes of kart available: adult, adult/child and junior (from 8 years of age). In May, June and Sept the track is open every day from 2-7 pm. In July and August, the track is open every day from 11am-1am (children from 11am-8pm only).
The first water park built in Europe, this large park is open every day from the 15th June – 8th September, 10am – 6pm. Aqualand provides lifeguards, lockers and changing facilities in addition to snack stands (fast food/grill) and a gift shop.
Montpellier’s new ‘Mare Nostrum’ aquarium features 3,500 exhibits and 300 species of marine life. There are lots of interactive exhibits for kids – all very educational, covering everything from reefs to currents, ice bergs to waves and sharks to penguins. Experience stormy seas on a fishing trawler. Watch brightly coloured fish in a tropical reef, and see sharks and jellyfish. Open every day from 10am – 8pm.
Réserve Africaine de Sigean
Located between Narbonne and Perpignan (direction Barcelona on the A9), this extremely popular reserve is open every day of the year between 9am and 6.30pm. This well established park has been open since 1974 and hosts nearly 4000 animals which share an area of 300 hectares. Animals to watch out for in the drive through area include elephants, giraffe, gibbons, lions, black bears, rhino and many more. While the on-foot section hosts African antelopes, chimpanzees, elephants, reptiles, turtles, tortoises, alligators, snakes, and other creepy crawlies. This zoological park is designed to give the animals a territory vast enough to allow as close to natural habitat and behavioural patterns as the wild. The reserve is located just south of Narbonne, approximately an hours drive from the villa.
La Forêt d’Acrobates
This high-ropes facility (20 minutess away) consists of five courses set in a beautiful forest, providing 2-3 hours of fun for the whole family. There are English speaking and friendly staff to ensure your safety, with a thorough briefing before you venture into the trees. Courses include: ‘Panoramique’ for great views of the region and the longest zip-wire in the Languedoc – 150m long, 20m above the forest floor, ‘Sportif’ for those that want fancy something a bit more physical and ‘Lilliputien’ for children from 3 years.
The site also offers other activities such as Archery, Canyoning, Canoeing and Kayaking, Via Ferrata, Climbing and Caving. There is a lovely restaurant just outside the entrance to La Forêt d’Acrobates. The Auberge de Bessilles serves lunch every day from 12.30 – 4pm, making it very convenient for lunch before or after you take on the forest!
Located 40 mins away just east of Frontignan, there are two sections: EXPLOR’ parc: A maze of games and puzzles set around a huge boat where you join the explorers returning from lost countries. Share and discover their treasures and finds while completing the 1.7 hectares of challenges, slides, water games and obstacles. ACRO’ parc: A high-ropes course made up of 23 progressive levels and 250 games to complete along the way. There is a 200m long, 35m high slide, and a 14m high suspension set among the trees, with a view of the sea. The centre has English speaking staff and a small snack bar. There are also picnic tables provided should you wish to take your own lunch. We recommend you allow 3 hours to complete the labyrinthe.
From coast to mountains, you are rarely far from a vineyard in the Languedoc, and as such, there are too many wine-tasting establishments in the surrounding area to mention here. Whilst you are out and about, look out for signs saying ‘Dégustation’ (tasting) as you pass the numerous rows of vines hugging the landscape.
The nearest establishment offering wine-tasting and a sales vault, is the Château de Villeroy, on the way out of Sète, direction Marseillan/Agde. With 300 hectares of vines, the following grapes can be sampled here: Reds: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Grenache. Whites: Chardonnay, Muscat d’Alexandrie, Sauvignon, Ugni blanc.
We can also recommend visiting the Abbaye de Valmagne, approximately 30 minutes’ drive away (located very close to La Forêt d’Acrobates mentioned above). An architectural marvel, this huge Cistercian monastery survived the widespread destruction of the French Revolution when it was sold to the Granier-Joyeuse family who conserved the church by turning it into a winery. The property was subsequently bought by the Count of Turenne, whose descendants still lovingly look after it today, complete with enormous wine vats punctuating the stupendous nave. Open every day from 10am-6pm (from 2-6pm only before the 15th June), an entrance fee of €7.50 includes access to the Abbey, a wine tasting, and access to the gardens, which include a cloister Garden inside the abbey, as well as a medieval garden and ‘le Conservatoire de Cépages’ outside. English speaking staff.
Mussels and Oysters Farms
At the western end of the Etang de Thau (Marseillan) you will find La Grande Bleue Oyster and Mussel Farm, run by Stéphane Saez. Stéphane explains to visitors that because the Canal du Midi empties into the lagoon nearby, there is a special quality of part-fresh, part-salty water that is richly beneficial for growing oysters. Guided visits around the farm are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4pm. The tour culminates with a tasting accompanied by a glass of the local Picpoul de Pinet white wine, which is a particularly good match with seafood.
Art & Culture
The Espace Georges Brassens is a museum dedicated to the singer-songwriter Georges Brassens, a native of Sète. This is the most visited museum in Sète with 50,000 visitors per year. Visitors are guided by the voice of Georges Brassens, through headphones, as they tour the museum, learning about the artist’s life and work. At the end of the visit, a series of previously unseen films and recitals are presented in the video room.
The Régional Centre for Contempory Art (CRAC)
Houses a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions of Contemporary Art. Free Entry.
Paul Valéry Museum
This museum presents varied art collections and retraces the history of Sète and the people of Sète. There is a special room dedicated to jousts: results, old shields, gravures, from 1666 to the present days. There is also a hall dedicated to the poet Paul Valery, with a view of the “cimetière marin”.
The International Museum of Modest Arts (MAIM)
The museum presents everyday novelties and gadgets in a kind of organized chaos. It offers visitors a new way of thinking about everyday objects: toys, gadgets, knick knacks. The unique spirit of the Di Rosa brothers, two of Sète’s most famous artists, is pervasive throughout the halls of this singular museum.