Visit la Pointe Courte

La Pointe Courte, authentic fishing district of Sète

La Pointe Courte, authentic fishing district of Sète

The history of La Pointe Courte begins in the mid-19th century when work the railway construction work began. Once completed, fishermen settled in this area opening onto the lagoon, but also very close to the canal Royal leading to the Mediterranean Sea. A small port and houses were built and the district was therefore formed. Over 150 years later, take a walk around this authentic district. 

Fishing is a way of life in Sète. Without a doubt, La Pointe Courte is a fishing district by excellence, far from the urban centre and protected from the din of traffic. It has kept its traditional vibe, probably because most of the houses remain in the families of those from La Pointe Courte, and preserved its marks of the past with its picturesque alleys and its fishermen’s huts; all you have to do is look at the names of the streets to understand the atmosphere of this typical neighbourhood.

La Pointe Courte, quartier pêcheur de Sète, vu du Mont Saint Clair
La Pointe Courte, mythical district of Sète, seen from Mont Saint Clair

To walk there, go under the Pont Maréchal-Foch (railway bridge) on the cycle path to start an unusual visit full of anecdotes of this famous district reflecting the soul of Occitan culture. If you are driving, park in the car park to the right at the entrance to La Point Court.

Originally, La Pointe Courte was home to fishermen’s huts made of odds and ends, boats, pots and fishing nets that dried in the sun. It was subsequently enriched while having kept a pleasant scent of authenticity. Nowadays, the dwellings have changed shape, but the huts and the smell of fresh fish persist. 

Les cabanes de pêcheurs la pointe courte sete
La Pointe Courte, some of the fishermen’s huts

Local fishing

Local fishing

The “pointus”, as people from La Pointe Courte are called, lived from local fishing in the Thau lagoon and shaped their own identity, which is just as exceptional as their small neighbourhood. Today, fishermen in yellow oilskin still work there, store their equipment and fish for sea bream, unfazed by curious passers-by.

Filets de pêche à la Pointe Courte, Sète
Fishing nets drying at La Pointe Courte

The film “La Pointe Courte” by Agnès Varda

The film “La Pointe Courte” by Agnès Varda

Away from the town centre, the Belgian-born French film director, screenwriter, photographer, and artist Agnès Varda shot from 10 August to 30 September 1955 the film “La Pointe Courte” with Philippe Noiret and Silvia Monfort. Agnès Varda’s pioneering work was central to the development of the widely influential French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Her films focused on achieving documentary realism, addressing women’s issues, and other social commentary, with a distinctive experimental style.

In tribute to the filmmaker, Barbara Carrasco, an American artist and activist, painted a portrait of Agnès Varda on a wall of a house in La Pointe Courte during the Sète-Los Angeles international festival of contemporary art in 2019 during which 100 works by 28 Sète and Californian artists were displayed on the walls of Sète and in five exhibition venues. Agnès Varda participated in the first meetings leading to this festival last year, before her death on 29 March 2019.

Fresque de l’artiste américaine Barbara Carrasco peinte sur le mur d’une maison de la Pointe Courte à Sète durant la manifestation artistique Sète-Los Angeles 2019
Fresco by American artist Barbara Carrasco painted on the wall of a house in Pointe Courte in Sète during the Sète-Los Angeles 2019 festival

Refuge for cats at La Pointe Courte

Refuge for cats at La Pointe Courte

You will see cats roaming and lazing around all over La Pointe Courte! One of the wooden cabins is a refuge for cats managed by the non-profit association ”Pattes de Velours”. All the stray cats, injured, sick, in need of love, take refuge there…
Association de protection des chats errants à la Ponte Courte de Sète
Association for the protection of cats at La Point Courte, Sète

Enjoy something to eat or drink…

Enjoy something to eat or drink…

On a stroll around La Pointe Courte, discover Le Passage, a restaurant with a terrace almost at the water’s edge. Very typical of La Pointe Courte, in season, you can enjoy a drink, and taste tapas and oysters or some of the excellent barbeque grills with a fine view of the canal opening onto the Thau lagoon.

At the entrance to the Georges Brassens dike at the entrance to La Pointe Courte, first on the right after the car park, take a step back in time. Pass by the fishermen’s huts with their panels here and there and many cats, and at the end of the dike at the edge of the Thau lagoon you will find Les Copains. Fortunately, there are still places in France where you can feel the authenticity. Here, taste fresh shellfish and have a drink.

Vue de la lagune de Thau à partir de la terrasse à Les Copains d'abord à la digue Georges Brassens à la Pointe Courte de Sète
View of the Thau lagoon from the terrace at Les Copains at the end of the Georges Brassens dike at La Pointe Courte

La Pointe Longue and its marine biology station

La Pointe Longue and its marine biology station

Opposite La Pointe Courte is La Pointe Longue, which houses an impressive building that is the Sète Marine Station. Founded in 1879 by Armand Sabatier, anatomical doctor and professor of zoology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Montpellier, at the same time as the large marine stations of Roscoff, Banyuls, Villefranche or Monaco, the Sète Marine Station serves from the source of support for research, observation and training in the field of marine biology.

We both studied marine biology and parasitology there!

Scientific activities focus on observation and experimentation and are of particular interest in marine ecology (trophic networks, microbiology), the biology of marine populations (genetics, parasitology, ecophysiology), but also the quality of the lagoon coastal environments.

Station Marine de Sète de l'Université de Montpellier
Sète Marine Station of the University of Montpellier

The new Sadi Carnot Bridge

The new Sadi Carnot Bridge

Located on a strategic axis of the town and the agglomeration, and also the navigable link between the sea and the Thau lagoon, the 430-tonne new Sadi Carnot Bridge was installed, to the delight of all, on 12 July 2019 after 11 months of work. This colossal project replaced the previous 70-year-old, rusty and dilapidated structure.

The new bridge was brought by barge from the Venice region of Italy, where it was manufactured. The convoy 76 metres long and 24 metres wide through the canals was not an easy task where in some places only one metre separated the barge and the quay.

It is useful to know the timetables of the bridges in Sète to avoid traffic jams.

Le ponts levants Sadi Carnot et Maréchal-Foch à Sète
The new Sadi Carnot Bridge

La Rouille de seiche

La Rouille de seiche (cuttlefish stew)

As the Pointe Courte was in the past mainly inhabited by fishermen and their families, fish was the mainstay of the diet. Local gastronomy developed around fragrant and convivial recipes base don fish. Cuttlefish stew made with freshly caught fish from Les Halles, has become an emblematic recipe of Sète cuisine.

La rouille de seiche, confectionnée avec le poisson fraîchement pêché venu aux Halles
Cuttlefish stew made with freshly caught fish from Les Halles

Cuttlefish stew recipe

Step 1: Cut 2 kg of cuttlefish strips into 1.5 cm wide pieces or use small cuttlefish.

Step 2: Cook them for 5 minutes over low heat and covered in a casserole dish with olive oil.

Step 3: Add a minced onion and a minced clove of garlic, salt and pepper.

Step 4: Add a peeled, seeded and diced tomato, a can of tomato pulp and tomato sauce.

Step 5: Add 20 cl of white wine and adjust the seasoning.

Step 6: Simmer for about 1 hour until the cuttlefish are tender and then add a pinch of saffron at the last moment.

Serve with steamed potatoes and/or rice (but not basmati) and a garlic mayonnaise! 

Enjoy your visit!

Note: All photos were taken by Leigh and Mehdi Kamraoui and they are the property of They are therefore not royalty-free.