Sete is a party city. There’s a celebration of some sort going on all summer. Sometimes two at a time.
Right now there’s a music festival that features famous DJs from around the world. There’s also the festival of St. Peter happening downtown with its parades and fair-like atmosphere. Lucky for me, the Fourth of July is celebrated here by English-speaking expats. Nancy, my Airbnb hostess, invited me to a party to meet some of the members of the expat club who have settled around this area from England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and the US.
Christina Rabaste, an American who has lived in France most of her adult life, hosted the party at her home in downtown Sete. The interesting, multi-level house is a combination art studio, indoor garden, patio and home. The party was held in the first floor, inside garden of Christina’s home where some of her life size “statues” were standing among the red, white and blue decorations. Her studio was open for guests to visit, and dining tables with chairs were placed around the large room.
When I strolled into the studio, I fell in love with her whimsical paintings and sculptures. Not only was there a collection of her art on canvas, she also had painted her odd characters on pieces of wood and old chairs. Perhaps there’s a Michelangelo hiding deep down inside of me, because I have a great affinity for artists. Maybe it’s because they express themselves so openly. They are fascinating people to know.
Time out for the beach
When not partying, people in Sete hit the beach in droves. Outside the city, beyond the seawall and rocky shore, a long beach stretches for miles along the Mediterranean. Closest to the city, the beach is mobbed with people who, mostly, are standing waist deep in the water. Farther down the long road that heads out of town, the crowds thin out and beach lovers go to the “mini-resorts” that are spaced every half-mile or so along the shoreline.
The mini-resorts are run by restaurant owners from Sete and from the surrounding areas who lease space on the beach during the summer. Each place has dining service, beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. For a small fee (10 Euros), you can rent an umbrella and chair for the day. Food can be purchased and is prepared fresh in the beach-side kitchens and served at a table or on the beach.