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August in Sète for the Saint Louis Festival and Water Jousting

Saint Louis Festival

It’s always so much fun: beach time, parties and the Sète water jousting competitions. I’m in the States with my family. Why now? After a few years in France, it’s hot and too many tourists in Uzés! Yet … there is water jousting in Sete!

History of Water Jousting

If you’re not familiar with water jousting, it started centuries ago. Most notably in Egypt and Greece evidence of competition was found in stone carvings. The Romans were known to enjoy the sport. In lieu of water, they sometimes flooded the city arenas they used for people’s sports like gladiator fights.

Continue reading here for the Barefoot Blogger’s photos and details on the Saint Louis Festival a festive event in Sète. The town’s residents and tourists alike are in party mood for six (6) days each August surrounding the 25th of the month. The festival salutes King Louis XIV, Sète’s royal founder. Check the tourist office website for exact dates and the detailed schedule of events.

During the Saint Louis festival, there are bars, bodegas and all-night parties, but everyone comes to see the championship round of les joutes nautiques (water jousting). The Grand Canal is the venue for the jousting events, and it’s a perfect location for spectators to see the competition.

Watch this tourism office video to get in the mood.

Sète Road Trip

Need ten reasons to visit Sète? A whale and two anchors feature on Sète’s official coat of arms, a tribute to local maritime history, and the fact that Mont St Clair makes the city looks like a humpback. Archaeologists have dated remains of human activity (discovered in 1973) to the late Bronze Ages II and III. The Greeks called the settlement Ketos (a name that evolved over centuries until Sète became official in 1928), however, it was France’s Sun King who put Sète on the map.

Visit the town with a local. Sète resident Nancy McGee is the founder of Absolutely Southern France. Her company offers customised day trips (and longer tours) for visitors who want to explore Provence and l’Occitane.

“My clients are individuals or travel agents who require customized services and unique programs. I can offer services such as gourmet walking tours, drivers, babysitters, holiday home rentals, at home chefs, wine tastings, cooking classes, truffle hunts, scents tours and much more. I also offer shore excursions to luxury cruise ship passengers docking in St. Tropez, Marseille and Sete.”

Download a GPS guided article on Sete here.

Sète is the kind of city that grows on you slowly, until one day you recognize that this fishy port has you hooked. Suddenly, you find yourself planning your next trip. Do you consider yourself a foodie? If so, Sète needs to be on your radar – discover why here.


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Deborah Bine

The Barefoot Blogger, aka Deborah Bine, loves to share tales of her solo life in France as an American expat who speaks no French. Retired from a career in advertising and marketing communications, and divorced after a 40-year marriage with children, Deborah left Beaufort, South Carolina and all of her belongings last year to move to the south of France. Now that she has found her "bliss," her passion is to encourage others to break away from whatever is holding them back and to go after their dreams. "We're on life's journey alone. Be certain you love where you are."

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