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Windstar dining & Sète, France

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 24 - 2007

Wind Surf towering of Sète, France One thing about sailing on Windstar is that the food is exceptional. Dining options are The Restaurant or Degrees, which features a steakhouse menu, as well as Italian, French and Indonesian specialties. Breakfast and lunch are served in the delightful glass-enclosed Veranda which extends out on to the Star Deck to offer an alfresco alternative. There is also The Grill for à la minute cooked breakfasts, while at lunch there’s a refreshing array of pasta, barbeque and salads on offer. There are also snacks available at the Pool Bar and tea time at Compass Rose. Oh, and let’s not forget 24-hour room service that lets you order off the dining room menus.

Breakfast this morning was a rainbow of the most exquisite fruits: bright blue blueberries, dark red strawberries, vivid yellow pineapple, along with orange infused cantaloupe and mango. In keeping with this delectable fruit I opted for the strawberry crepe with cottage cheese – fantastic.

Fueled up it was time to discover Sete, France.

Canal in Sète, FranceSète is situated at the foot of Mont St-Clair and is traversed by many canals. The city is often called “the little Venice of the Languedoc,” due to its numerous canals and quaint neighborhoods. The port dates back to the time of Louis XIV. After Narbonne and Aigues-Mortes were cut off from the sea by the accumulation of sand it became the principal port for the North African trade. It is now an important fishing and commercial port.

The town is a great place to wander since there are so many unique nooks and crannies that offer stunning scenery. From the Môle St-Louis you can look back into the town and Mont St-Clair and the citadel. In the cimetière marin (cemetery by the sea), the celebrated poet Paul Valéry (1871-1945), a native of Sète, is buried. Near the cemetery is the Musée Paul-Valéry, with mementos of the poet and exhibits and documents on the history of the town. There is also a room devoted to the singer Georges Brassens (1921-1981), who lived as a boy in Sète and is also buried here.

Citadel of Sète, FranceThough greatly damaged during World War II, Sète rebuilt itself to become a major fishing port for France. Sète is well known for its Bouzigues oysters, grown in the Bassin de Thau which lies just on the other side of Sète from the Mediterranean. The town is also a stone’s throw from the medieval walled city of Montpellier.

After a five-hour long walk/photographic safari around Sète I barely made it back in time for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to find Bouillabaisse at the Veranda buffet. Now, the last time I ate bouillabaisse a Frenchman scolded me for eating it wrong — I ate it like soup. Apparently you’re supposed to heap it on bread and eat it that way. I did a little of both — sometimes you are too hungry to care.

Sète, France’s busy harborTonight was Indonesian night in Degrees, and I don’t think I could have had a better meal had I been in Kuala Lumpur. Naturally when you have a ship full of Indonesian and Filipino workers they wouldn’t stand for anything less.

Chefs onboard Wind Surf — always happy!Service onboard has been stellar; waiters and cabin stewards are always smiling and are quick to please. I am always impressed that they remember my name regardless of the little contact I’ve had with them. Wherever I walk around the ship I am greeted with a “Hello Ah-Nee-TAh.” I know it’s a small ship carrying 312-passengers, still, it’s not just me and they do it with all the guests. You can’t help but be impressed by that.

Tomorrow: Monte Carlo, Monaco and ship tour

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