On Wednesday there is more hustle and bustle than usual going on in always lively Sète, as it is market day in the town centre. And you will find not one market, nor two, but three! Therefore, it is wise to take your time to dig in completely. Start at the textile bazaar on Place Aristide Briand, followed by the food market on Rue Alsace Lorraine and Rue Gambetta, to end at the flower market on Place Léon Blum.
Every Wednesday morning, Sète’s town centre is transformed into a vibrant open-air bazaar divided into three markets. What I like about it, is that you can decide if you’re in for a big shopping session, or only pick out one market for a quick lap to buy your essentials. The Wednesday I went (pictures were taken pre-COVID time…) included a visit to all three markets. I started with the textile bazaar on Place Aristide Briand. You can’t miss this wide square with its remarkable music pavilion dating from 1891. It is perfect for displaying all the clothes related products and other paraphernalia.
Following my nose automatically led me to the Rue Alsace Lorraine, where a fresh paëlla was being cooked on the corner of the street. Besides takeaway meals, you will find the best seasonal and local produce and other local delicacies. Arriving at Les Halles, which I skipped this time as there were enough stalls on the streets, I made a sharp bend to the Rue Gambetta for even more food stalls. The best time to visit the market is early, on a full stomach, let’s say after breakfast. The later you arrive, the more people will be there. No wonder, as the Wednesday market is popular with both locals and visitors. But then again, you might want to stay for lunch as well…
The last market I visited was the flower market on Place Léon Blum. I couldn’t find the name of this square on the map. But I’ve checked it out, and it is right in front of the town hall on Rue Paul Valéry. This market is much smaller than the other two. However, I always love to have a stroll through it anyway. Colourful houses and lush trees beautifully surround this square, giving it this romantic French feel. The Sétois call this square the ‘Place du Poufre’, thanks to the impressive fountain with a statue of an octopus. Poufre is another word for ‘poulpe’, both of which mean octopus. The artist Pierre Nocca created this piece of art as a nod to the tielle, an orange-coloured pie filled with octopus which is Sète’s local speciality.