Cette, a fortified seaport of France, in the department of Herault, 17 m. S. W. of Mont-pellier-; pop. in 1866, 24,177. It is built on the slope and at the foot of a hill (anc. Mons Setius), on a tongue of land between the lake of Thau and the Mediterranean, which are united by a canal that traverses the town and terminates in the harbor. Next to Marseilles, Cette is the most important commercial port in S. France. It is an outlet of the southern wine districts; the canal du Midi connects it with Bordeaux, and the canals des Etangs and de Beaucaire and the Rhone connect it with Lyons; and it is the termination of the Paris, Lyons, and Mediterranean network of rail-ways. The great northern railway connects Cette with Bordeaux and Toulouse, and the Lyons-Mediterranean railway with Montpellier, Nimes, and Tarascon. There are steamers to Algiers, Marseilles, Cannes, and Nice. The town, founded by Louis XIV., owes its rise to the mole, which was commenced in 1666, and which shelters the harbor on the south. At its end, on the left of the entrance to the harbor, is Fort St. Louis, which is surmounted by a lighthouse.

A breakwater in front of the harbor prevents the accumulation of mud, and the other side of the harbor is formed by a pier, on the extremity of which rises Fort St. Pierre, completing, with a citadel on the opposite cliff, the defences of the port. The harbor has a depth of from 16 to 19 feet, and is safe in any weather. Cette is the centre of an extensive coasting and foreign trade. The entrances in 1870 were 2,613 vessels, of which 692 were steamers; the clearances, 2,624, of which 692 were steamers. The exports amounted to $5,414,725, of which wine formed $3,462,063; the imports were $13,-177,199, of which timber, staves, grain and flour, brimstone, and codfish were the leading-articles. There is a large manufacture of so-called Madeira wines, produced by the mixture of French and Spanish wines and brandy. The salt works in the neighborhood are the most important in France. The fisheries of sardines, cod, and oysters employ some hundreds of vessels. There are also glass works, extensive ship-building yards, and establishments for the production of sulphates of soda, magnesia, and potash by evaporation from sea water. Casks, corks, soaps, sirups, grape sugar, and perfumes are made there.

Cette possesses a tribunal of commerce, various courts of justice, an imperial hydrographic school, a communal college, a public library, and a theatre, and is a favorite resort for sea bathing. It was laid out in 1666 after Colbert's designs, at a great cost, and the works of the harbor were executed by M. Piquet, the engineer of the canal du Midi. In 1710 a small British force, designing to effect a junction with the insurgents of the Ce venues, took possession of Cette, but was driven back after a few days.