There are many ways to visit Sète. As this maritime town is situated on a singular island, it is the perfect base to explore the Mediterranean sea and its coastline. However, the medium-sized city is great for exploration as well. Roaming the streets, I discovered some original shops that I would love to share with you. One tip: don’t go on an empty stomach, as a good part of my finds are food-related shops.
1. Maison Politi – 23 Grand’ Rue Mario Roustan
Did you know that many Sètois have Italian blood flowing through their veins? About one-third of them originate from Italian immigrants who came to Sète in the 1860s to catch anchovies. Therefore, I cannot give you a shopping guide to Sète without mentioning an Italian shop. Maison Politi is an institution in Sète, and a must-visit if you love incredible Italian food. Since 1948, Marie-Laure has sold her freshly made pasta on the local market. And today, her son Pierre and his wife continue this tradition in their beautiful shop. It includes a small restaurant if you can’t wait to taste all this loveliness.
2. Sophie Cianni & Co – 19 Grand’ Rue Mario Roustan
The Italian immigrants brought a now very local heritage to Sète, called a ‘tielle’. Neapolitan fishermen brought these orange-coloured pies filled with octopus in a spicy tomato sauce to Sète. If you would like to try one for yourself, you can get a homemade tielle in Sophie Ciani’s shop. She and her team make one of the best in Sète, following her great-grandmother Adrienne’s original recipe. Besides tielles in several sizes, you can also get some other local delicacies like tomato or anchovy pizza. However, if you would like to have the same lunch as the Italian fishermen of the Haut-Quartier in the 1930s, you should order a tielle.
3. Maison Janicot – 18 Grand’ Rue Mario Roustan
Another culinary institution in Sète is L’Épicerie Maison Janicot. This gourmet delicatessen might be modestly-sized but has such an impressive stock. Maison Janicot specializes in quality products from the Mediterranean, stocked from floor to ceiling, that will make many foodies drool. I especially love their very desirable collection of the most beautifully designed canned fish. Besides long-lasting products, you can also purchase great hams, fresh seafood and daily made tapas. If you make a reservation, you can even savour it on the spot.
4. La Crèmerie Marie-Anne Gros – 3 Grand’ Rue Mario Roustan
The owner of La Crèmerie Marie-Anne Gros loves to share her passion for cheese and other dairy products in her lovely shop. Marie-Anne sells a beautiful selection of raw-milk cheeses and other creations she makes herself. You can even find halloumi, the Cypriot cheese traditionally made from goat’s and/or sheep’s milk. After seeing this cheese in several recipes, I couldn’t find this popular ingredient anywhere near my home. La Crèmerie’s halloumi is homemade by Marie-Anne as well, and is a big hit!
5. Chez Paulette – 6 bis Rue Alsace Lorraine
Leaving the foodie street Grand’ Rue Mario Roustan, I head for the Rue Alsace Lorraine to find some lovely non-food related boutiques. Like Chez Paulette, a shop that is like Ali Baba’s cave of wonders. You will find colourful clothes for big and small, original accessories to spice up your outfit and cheerful home products and toys. Walking inside Chez Paulette will definitely brighten up your day! And in the back of the shop, you will find another surprise in the garden. Here you can enjoy a nice cup of organic tea or a refreshing ice cream.
6. Le Familystore – 22 Rue Alsace Lorraine
A few doors from Chez Paulette, another great looking shop window attracted me. The cutest cuddly octopus looked at me with his droopy eyes, and I had to go in to take a closer look. Inside, the pleasantly designed family concept store offered a beautiful collection of furniture, home decoration items, original toys, tableware, bath and bed linen and Sète related gifts. Created by two mums from Sète, Le Familystore brings together La Maison Sétoise and Mini Frenchy. All responsibly designed products that show a love and care for high quality with a bit of oomph.
7. Twenty Uno – 21 Rue Alsace Lorraine
You will be short of eyes at Twenty Uno. This shop is a showcase to promote the work of local artisans. All kinds of arts are represented- jewellery, stationery, ceramics, paintings and more- and the one of a kind creations vary regularly. At Twenty Uno, you can buy these accessible pieces of art, with something for every budget. Besides being a boutique for creators and artisans, it also serves as a gallery for professional artists to display their art.
8. Ensembles – 27 Quai Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny
Ever since Chéri and I bought a new holiday home in a little hamlet near Saint-Chinian, I have been on the look-out for inspiration. Therefore, entering the interior design shop Ensembles made me very happy. No less than 700 square meters awaits you, with a fantastic collection of furniture such as tables, chairs, sofas and beds. And everything that goes with it to complete the finishing touches. Ensembles offers a wide range of styles, that’s why I love coming here to get ideas. If you need help with your interior or exterior design, you can also ask them for advice.
9. Quincaillerie Marlier – 4 Quai Charles Lemaresquier
Sète, also known as the ‘Venice of Languedoc’, has many canals and the water has played an important role ever since the town was built in 1666. The Cadre Royal on the Canal Royal is the part between the Pont de la Savonnerie and the Pont de la Civette. For over 100 years, you will find the Quincaillerie Marlier on the shore of this royal neighbourhood. Quincaillerie is the French word for hardware store, and that is what the fourth generation of the family Marlier still sells today. You can buy mostly boat-related hardware, but they also have some original gifts. These come and go and are usually on display in the shop, depending on how the wind blows.
10. Meubles & Déco – 12 Quai Léopold Suquet
Meubles & Déco is another furniture and home decoration shop that I love. Audrey runs this tasteful store with style. No wonder, as she is a professional interior decorator that also offers a tailor-made consulting and coaching service for your home. At Meubles & Déco you can buy furniture for every room in your house, decorative objects, tableware, household linen and beautiful lamps. It also has a part dedicated to children’s rooms. The way Audrey has styled her shop with all kinds of cosy corners always gives me plenty of ideas.