It seems to kick off in March (OK, that's Spring, but it already seems like Summer!)) with festivals centered on regional food (see my earlier post about the sea urchin festival). April takes over with MusicaSète, then the markets get busier and add little events, and the museums put on a show in May. The "beach bus" (#9) starts it's run at the beginning of May, making it even easier to play in the sand! By the time June comes around, the Summer music calender is pretty much set - you can look all the way through the end of August at non-stop, back-to-back music festivals!
|Théâtre de la Mer, concert venue|
High Summer is bookended by two huge festivals: the last weekend of June starts the week-long Fête de la Saint Pierre, full of processions, carnival rides, boats, flowers, and fireworks; the last weekend of August ends the similarly long and exciting Fête de la Saint Louis, mainly noted for its water jousting, but also full of parades, award ceremonies, food, and fireworks!
This two-month period also marks the bus schedule changes - more bus lines run on Sundays, and the most commonly used bus lines run later (just past midnight, instead of past 8pm). Of course, you can pretty much throw the schedule out the window then, since the buses are so crowded (and most passengers are buying their ticket right there, asking for directions or help with the stamp machine, and lugging a lot of suitcases and beach accessories) that they are simply unable to keep to any timeline.
September sees a gradual slow-down of the crowds, and an attendant return to a more reliable bus. Temperatures this year are a bit cooler than normal, with highs around 22°C / 72°F - perfect hiking weather (here and here), and even very nice for a dip in the Mediterranean! And, the festivals are a little shorter, usually only a weekend instead of a full week. This is when we have our Heritage Days (museums and monuments are open and free), and our Association Days (a faire where booths are manned by town groups giving information about what they do, and how to join). Typically seen as a month where we return to normal, September is also full of strikes and protests. So, while we're busy planning out our activities for the year ahead, we also have to be aware of when there will be no bus, train, school, etc.
October arrives, and, like a light switch, Summer ends! The temporary beach restaurants are folded up, the beach bus is put into storage until the next Summer comes, and festivals become more and more about wine and harvests.
Summer in Sète is almost over! And I can't wait to see what Fall and Winter are like!