Sorry I’ve been out for a while you guys! Haven’t had internet connection for a while (boo) and still a little shaken from last Friday. Lots changed, including this really weird feature on WordPress so I’m trying to figure out how to navigate the site…But I went to another city the very next day after the attacks to work on a project.
Luckily, the city is gorgeous and empty, so I was pretty much as safe as you could get in this country. I was secluded from a lot of people and I felt like I was in a retired paradise. However, apparently that’s not what Sète is usually like. Apparently, the streets are lively with people roaming and chattering and yelling at each other from their fishing boats. When I went, it was just a dead sea with a boardwalk filled with closed shops. Paris isn’t the only one suffering, right now.
However, we got a great view of the Mediterranean Sea while we were here, and I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t enjoy coming. After that attack, I needed to be secluded. Despite the sketchy hotel and the lack of any access to food, it was fun and I got a lot of stuff done for school. And because I did so much research on this, it’s time to share it with all of you!
I’m going to work backwards and start with my favorite part of the trip which happened to be the last place we visited. Near the “gare” or the train station is a little neighborhood called “La Pointe Courte.” Technically, it’s about 30 minutes away, but if you duck under tunnels and walk down some small random paths, you can shave off about half that time. First of all, take a look at those fishing nets! I have never seen anything like that in real life, and it really looks just as interesting in person. I’ve seen these types of nets only in pictures. But, actually, there is a movie about this place (and was shot here) in Pointe Courte. Can you guess what it’s called?
Anyway, when I first showed up to Sète, I knew this was going to be a fishing city. That means that there’s a crap ton of fish here and it’s really their main and only export. When you get off at the train station, it smells like fish immediately…that’s how strong it is. Yet, when I showed up, I expected Sète to look exactly like this. Fishing nets border the Mediterranean Sea with cute little pastel houses behind me and cats moseying around every street since there are really no cars to run over them. Well, that’s Point Courte, not the entirety of Sète and I’m surprised more people don’t hang out here. It’s so peaceful. It’s literally the dream I’ve had when my eyebrow wax lady tells me to close my eyes and think of happy thoughts. A few fishermen were out, but it’s also principal to say that most people do not work on Sunday mornings. So no fishermen were yelling at each other to fix up the boats and catch another piece of seafood. Very tranquil. And I got to watch some fishermen unload and reload which was pretty cool to see in person. Along with the thirty cats I saw on the way.
Another landmark of Sète is this big-ass hill called Mont St. Clair that rises above near the centre-ville. Well, hill is an understatement. In French, “Mont” means mountain. Yet, one of my host family’s friends told me that Mont St. Clair is really a hill instead of a mountain. In this terms, I thought she was talking about size, which I can’t argue with because Mont St. Clair was definitely smaller than a mountain in the Alpes. I’m now starting to wonder if she mean that hills had a more elongated slope and were covered in more grass, in which case is true. Maybe that’s how French interpret the difference between hills and mountains, like every other detail in life. These French people, well at least the people I live with, are very particular about their definitions of things. Like yoga is not a sport but a recreational activity (okay…).
This “hill” is huge though. And because I genuinely thought it was going to be a hill, I had this grand idea to walk it all the way up to the church on top of the hill called Notre Dame of Sète. Let me just tell you this, though: I made it half way up. And like everything else on Sundays, buses never run so I actually never made it to Notre Dame. However, there is a huge cemetery that is about a third of the way up where some famous people live. The “writer of France” is buried in this cemetery and his name is Paul Valery. The picture that I took above is from just outside the graveyard where you can see the boardwalk and the Mediterranean Sea at the same time, which makes up a beautiful view.
I feel like I spent most of my time in this city just walking around though. Not that that’s a bad thing, but you know…a change in pace. I’ve never really had time to slow down and just think while looking at a scene that really belongs on a green screen in the movies. This city is really close to Montpellier and is considered to be a tourist city. It’s also called “Little Italy” or “Little Sicily” because a lot of Italians moved here since it looks a LOT like southern Italy. Beautiful, n’est-ce pas?