History of Sete

Sète, which until 1928 was called "Cette", is one of the newest port cities. Thanks to the vision of Louis XIV, who wanted to link the Canal du Midi to the Mediterranean, the port of Sète was founded on 29 July 1666.
Nicknamed "the singular island" by Paul Valéry, the city has always known how to preserve its authenticity and heritage, while opening up to the world.

History of Sète in a few words...

The city of Sète was born in 1666 by royal decision and the will of three men:
Paul Riquet, Louis XIV and the Chevalier de Clerville.

Paul Riquet was looking for an outlet to the Mediterranean for the Canal du Midi, which he had begun to dig. Louis XIV had instructed his minister Colbert to find a harbour for the royal galleys and to create a port for the export of Languedoc products.
Colbert entrusted this task to the Chevalier de Clerville, who identified Cap de Sète as the most appropriate site for the creation of a port.

The population tripled between 1820 and 1870 and urbanization spread towards the Thau Lagoon. The district behind the consular palace (ex CCI) bears witness to this prosperous period.

In the 19th century, the port developed thanks to the trade of wine, wood, sulphur, cereals and iron. Sète became the first cooperage port in the world.
In the 1850s, fishermen from Gaeta and Cetara, villages on the Amalfi coast near Naples, left Italy, driven by the need to find a better life: they settled in the South of France, particularly in Sète and Grau du Roi.

In the 1960s, artisanal fishing developed thanks to the arrival of new techniques brought by returnees from North Africa.
To date, the city has more than 40,000 inhabitants and has been urbanized in the north and on Mont Saint Clair.

Stroll while discovering the heritage of Sète, thanks to the fourteen panels that await you at each of the city's emblematic sites.