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When a tour of France takes travelers to the southern coast, it opens up a world of opportunity for exploration. The cities that dot the Mediterranean offer a diverse cultural landscape that meshes perfectly with the beautiful natural scenery. There is certainly no lack of appealing destinations to choose from, but one of the best is the mid-size town of Sète. This coastal enclave is home to around 42,000 people and provides anything travelers could want, and given its small size, it often flies well under the radar of throngs of tourists. There are plenty of reasons to visit Sète, and here are some of the best:
The water permeates seemingly every aspect of life in Sète, so it should come as no surprise that one of its main attractions is water jousting. This unique sport can trace its roots back to the mid-1660s and is unlike anything else in the world. Two teams on boats row toward one another, and each boat is outfitted with an extra-long bow where the jousters are located. As they get closer, the men situated on the bow try to knock one another into the water. The spectacle is often viewed by crowds numbering in the thousands, making it a must-see if you find yourself in Sète during the summer months.
Seemingly no matter where you go along the Mediterranean coast, you're bound to run into some delicious seafood, and that is no different when it comes to Sète. It is Arguably home to the best culinary offerings in France, and that's not a coincidence - it remains a thriving fishing hub. Given its lengthy history with fishing, regardless of where you are, chances are you'll probably get meals freshly prepared from the day's catch. If you need any guidance on what to try, experts recommend the traditional fish stew of bouillabaisse.
It should come as no surprise that a coastal French town has impressive beaches, and Sète certainly delivers on that front. The town is home to about 8 miles of pristine coastline that runs from the calm Thau lagoon to the more expansive Mediterranean. Not only that, but because it is often overlooked by travelers, the beaches are typically not that crowded, which is never a bad thing.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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