Sète is the most fascinating small town on the French Mediterranean coast precisely because it doesn't go out of its way to be charming. The site is wonderful.
Sète encircles a lone hill, the Mont St-Clair, on the otherwise flat Languedoc coast. And it is all-but an island. There's the sea out front, of course. Behind, though, is the Thau lagoon – a vast expanse of salt water. Sète has the finest unsung beaches of the French Med – eight miles of them stretching along the spit of land separating the lagoon from the sea.