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Canal Du Midi Bicycle Route Map / Itinéraire Parcours velo / Fahrradkarte / Fietskaart / Cykel Kort / Sykkel Kartet / Polkupyörä Kartta / Mapa de la Bicicleta / Mappa Biciclette:

Marseillan Plage - Sete

 

This part of the bike path is paved.

 

Bicycle Route Description

 

Follow Voie Verte (official bike path) along the beach from Marseillan Plage to Sete.  If you are on the road with cars you are in the wrong place and also breaking the law: turn around and head towards the beach to find the official bike path again.  In Sete there is a bike path that goes all the way around the mountain, with here and there a part missing though.  The bike path along the southern part is the most beautiful, as it overlooks the sea.  This part is also popular with walkers and tourists.

 

Historical Information

 

The bike path (voie verte) along the beach used to be the road taken by cars up to about 10 years ago, when the road for cars was moved inland about 100 meters.  The beaches here are relatively quiet, as many parts are only accessible by walking very far or taking the bike.  This also means that the beaches are unguarded, so you should take great care to not go to far into the sea, as the currents are strong and drownings happen every year.

 

Sete was founded by Pierre Paul Riquet in July 1666, when he started construction of the 650 m long breakwater (St Louis breakwater).  Sete was chosen as the sea port of the Canal Du Midi.  Agde had a problem with its river being to shallow due to the constant deposit of sand from upstream.  Sete is also called the "Venice of the Languedoc" due to its many canals.  There are not many architectural wonders to see here, due to the city's young age.

 

Mont Saint-Clair

A daring cyclists can attempt to cycle all the way to the top of Mont Saint-Clair (175 meters high).  If you think you can do that, it would be wise to leave as much luggage at the bottom of the hill, because the ride is steep indeed!  Also, remember to bring a full bottle of water.  At the top of Mont Saint-Clair one has a beautiful panorama of the Mediterranean coast.  Agde and the Pyrenees can be seen with ease.  Also the Etang de Thau is a beautiful sight from here, with its beds of oysters shimmering in the distance.  The Mont Saint-Clair mountain is also called the Baleine, or whale in French, because it looks a bit like a whale.  Sete got its name from this mountain!  Whale was written as cetus in Latin and before that, in Greek, kêtos.  The Tour de France passed over this ancient volcano three times: in 1966, 1967, and 2012 when Lance Armstrong was here!

 

Once at the top of the mountain, you can climb the stairs to the top of the observatory there.  Also, make sure to visit the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Salette next to the observation deck.  This little chapel dates from 1861.  It was build on the site of the ancient fort Montmorencette built by Louis XIII.  It is remarkable for its interior frescoes (1952) and ex-votos deposited by the families of fishermen.  Every 19th of September there is a pilgrimage to this chapel.

 

sete chapel interior mont saint clair

View inside Chapelle Notre Dame de la Salette, on top of Mont St. Clair in Sete.

 

Georges Brassens

Sete's most famous resident was Georges Brassens.  Georges Brassens (22 October 1921 – 29 October 1981) was a French singer-songwriter and poet.

He wrote and sang, with his guitar, more than a hundred of his poems, as well as texts from many others such as Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, or Louis Aragon. In 1967, he received the Grand Prix de Poésie of the Académie française.  Between 1952 and 1976, he recorded fourteen albums that include several popular French songs such as Les copains d'abord, Chanson pour l'Auvergnat, La mauvaise réputation, and Mourir pour des idées. Most of his texts are black humour-tinged and often anarchist-minded.  (source: wikipedia).

 

His "maison natale" or place of birth, for the curious, is situated at 20 de la rue de l’Hospice (renamed in one part to rue George Brassens) and one of his ancestors still lives there (2017).   If one is interested in learning more, a modern museum also exists in Sete, the Espace Georges Brassens Museum.  He is buried a few meters from this museum, in the Cimetiere de Py, and not in the Cimetiere Marin (ocean view cemetery) as several other sources claim incorrectly.  No need for a map to find his tomb, as it is the tomb with the most people around it.

 

Georges Brassens singing a song:  "Pour me rendre à mon bureau alors j'achète un vélo..."

 

Paul Valéry

Another famous Sete native is Paul Valéry.  Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry (30 October 1871 – 20 July 1945) was a French poet, essayist, and philosopher. In addition to his poetry and fiction (drama and dialogues), his interests included aphorisms on art, history, letters, music, and current events. Valéry was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 12 different years.  He is buried at the Cimetiere Marin (ocean view cemetery) in Sete.

 

Cimetière marin

A cimetière marin is a cemetery that overlooks the sea, and the one in Sete is its best known example in France.  This is due not only to its beautiful location, but also because it was mentioned in songs by both Paul Valery and Georges Brassens.  It dates from 1680, when it was build to lay to rest the first men who build the breakwater in Sete.  These first "habitants" of this cemetery did not have tombs, but were instead burried in a ditch.  At that time it was called the cimetière Saint-Charles.  Only in 1945 did the name change to Cimetiere Marin.  Today the cemetery is four hectares large.  Over 3100 people are buried here.  Tombs that have been abandoned are emptied to make place for new tombs; the waiting list is long.  The bones from these abandoned tombs are placed in an "ossuaire" or bone yard.

It is situated at 40 Chemin du Cimetière Marin, 34200 Sète.

 

sete cimitiere marin

 

 

Markets

 

Comments

 

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