La Pointe Courte : the tiny old-style port of Sète

La Pointe Courte, located in Sète’s northern end facing the Thau lagoon, is an ancient fishermen’s district protected from the tourist tumult. This little district is a must-see in Sète.

Little coloured houses

Built in an anarchic manner on the banks of the Thau lagoon, La Pointe Courte is marked by a still-present past with colourful one-story houses, Quai Mistral, two streets and a few alleys named after the traditional sea jousting: Traverse des Tambours, des Rameurs, des Barreurs, des Jouteurs.

Les Pointus and their gastronomy

The inhabitants of the short point are traditionally called “les Pointus”, which also refers to a traditional, colourful and timeless fishing boat. Their roots are Italian with the first fishermen immigrating from around Naples. They brought with them the origin of Sète’s gastronomy: macaronade, tielle and monkfish in bourride. 

On a summer afternoon, we can easily imagine the inhabitants taking a nap at the hottest hour, while others, sheltered from the sun, watch with a more or less attentive eye the children who take advantage of the lagoon waters. Time has stood still.

Cats, art, proverbs…

At the edge of the lagoon, there are wooden cabins, one of which is a refuge for cats managed by the Pattes de Velours association. Many cats can be seen lazing around in La Pointe Courte. Some cabins are made of odds and ends, others carefully repainted in blue. They host paintings, photos of jousting, modest art creations, local proverbs…

Brought into fame

In 1954, Agnès Varda, then a young photographer, shot her first film there, La Pointe Courte, a precursor of the New Wave. She brought the neighbourhood into fame. The filmmaker, who died on 29 March 2019, kept privileged relations with Sète and with les Pointus throughout her life. A crossing in the heart of the peninsula bears her name.

A superb fresco appeared on the occasion of the Sète-Los Angeles international contemporary art festival in September 2019. Painted by the American artist, Barbara Carrasco, it offers a tribute, like cinema stills, to Agnès Varda’s film in the neighbourhood. On the wall, other signatures are added to that of Barbara Carrasco.

Forever authentic

The neighbourhood has undoubtedly become enriched, but it has managed to retain a pleasant scent of authenticity. The kind locals play along with the few knowledgeable tourists who come to this corner off the beaten track.

Just a stone’s throw from Le Piade

Walk in less than 10 minutes from Le Piade over the Pont Sadi-Carnot and then follow the cycle path under Pont Maréchal-Foch, un pont basculant/roulant ferroviaire situé à côté du pont Sadi-Carnot.

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