CETTE, a seaport of southern France in the department of Hérault, 18 m. S.W. of Montpellier by the Southern railway. Pop. (1906) 32,659. After Marseilles it is the principal commercial port on the south coast of France. The older part of Cette occupies the foot and slope of the Mont St Clair (the ancient Mons Setius), a hill 590 ft. in height, situated on a tongue of land that lies between the Mediterranean and the lagoon of Thau. This quarter with its wide streets and lofty stone buildings is bounded on the east by the Canal de Cette, which leads from the lagoon of Thau to the Old Basin and the outer harbour. Across the canal lie the newer quarters, which chiefly occupy two islands separated from each other by a wet dock and limited on the east by the Canal Maritime, parallel to the Canal de Cette. A lateral canal unites the northern ends of the two main canals. A breakwater running W.S.W. and E.N.E. protects the entrance to the harbour, which is one of the safest in France. The outer port and the Old Basin are enclosed by a mole to the south and by a jetty to the east. Behind the outer port lies an inner and more recent basin which communicates with the Canal Maritime. The entire area of the harbour, including the canals, is 111 acres with a quayage length of over 8000 yds. The public institutions of Cette include tribunals of commerce and of maritime commerce, councils of arbitration in commercial and fishing affairs, an exchange and chamber of commerce, a branch of the Bank of France and a large hospital. There are also a communal college, a naval school, and schools of music, commerce and industry, and navigation. Cette is much resorted to for sea-bathing. The town is connected with Lyons by the canal from the Rhone to Cette, and with Bordeaux by the Canal du Midi, and is a junction of the Southern and Paris-Lyon railways. The shipping trade is carried on with South America, the chief ports of the Mediterranean, and especially with Spain. The chief exports are wines and brandy, chemical products, skins and soap; the chief imports are wine, cereals, coal, timber, petroleum, sulphur, tar and chemical substances. In the five years 1901-1905 the average annual value of imports was £3,720,000 (£4,980,000 in years 1896-1900), of exports £1,427,000 (£1,237,000 in 1896-1900). More than 400 small craft are employed in the sardine, tunny, cod and other fisheries. Large quantities of shell-fish are obtained from the lagoon of Thau. There are factories for the pickling of sardines, for the manufacture of liqueurs and casks, and for the treatment of sulphur, phosphates, and nitrate of soda. The Schneider Company of Creusot also have metallurgical works at Cette, and the establishments for making wine give employment to thousands. The port of Cette was created in 1666 by the agency of Colbert, minister of Louis XIV., and according to the plans of Vauban; toward the end of the 17th century its development was aided by the opening of the Canal du Midi.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)