Enjoy Charming Cassis and Visit the Calanques

“Qui a vist Paris se noun a vist Cassis, a ren vist” (He who has seen Paris and not Cassis has seen nothing). This quote by Frédéric Mistral is probably a bit exaggerated, but you may want to check it out for yourself.

 Cassis Harbor

Cassis Harbor

When staying in Provence, we love to spend a day in Cassis. A small fishing town on the Mediterranean, Cassis is extremely charming and friendly. You can have a delicious meal at any of the several little cafes or restaurants, sit at the Blue and White bar and watch the world go by, or try your luck at the casino.

While here, be sure to take a boat ride to see le Calanques – limestone cliffs jutting into the sea, with narrow ravines between them. They are dazzling white and contrast beautifully with the deep blue of the Mediterranean. The limestone quarries at Cassis supplied the stone for the quays at Alexandria, Port Saud and the base for the Statue of Liberty in New York. Boat trips to the calanques are easy to arrange. There is a ticket booth at the Cassis harbor and you can choose whether you want to see 3, 5, or 8 calanques. It is amazing to see the many sunbathers along the narrow shore of the calanques. (This is France, so be prepared for some topless and some nude sunbathers)

The Calanques

The Calanques

There is a very lovely walk on the Promenade des Lombards. At the top end of this royal path, which links Grande Mer beach to Courton Bay, the view is unique. The walk leads you to a private castle. Built in the 13th century by Hugues des Baux and remarkably restored, it stands in the middle of an immense garden planted with rare trees.

Other places of interest are: the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) – a former 17th century mansion on a shaded square where Cassis people love to “take the air” and play boules on summer evenings – and the Musee d’Arts & Traditions Populaires (Folk Museum).

Port-Miou is a former quarry, 1 km long. It shelters a small harbor. Port-Pin has a nice small, shaded beach. En-Vau is the most remarkable, with its cliffs and its needle rocks; it is well known for its climbing routes and crystal-clear waters.

Cassis Tourist Information

Office de Tourisme Cassis

Place Pierre Baragnon
13260 Cassis
Tel: 04 42 01 71 17

The Museum of  Traditional Arts and Customs
The museum is located in the tourist information office. Here you can find archeological remains and bright paintings from Provencal painters.
Place Pierre Baragnon
13260 Cassis
Tel: 04 42 01 71 17

The Route des Cretes
From the neighboring port town of La Ciotat, take the signposted Route des Cretes. This will take you up to the point of Cap Canaille more than 400 meters above sea level. From this panoramic point you will discover a view of the ocean, the bay of Cassis, the range of hills in the Calanques, and the Provencal hills in the distance.

Friday is market day in Cassis. To find the market, just follow the people carrying baskets of produce. It is near the post office. The market includes handcrafts and prepared foods as well as produce. It is a delightful way to spend a Friday morning.

Restaurants we Recommend

Nino $$$
Try the fabulous bouillabaisse. Be sure to eat the toasted bread and aioli, a garlic mayonnaise, that is integral to the dish. Nino’s also serves a delicious bourride that is similar to a fish stew in a cream broth.
1 Quai J.J Barthélémy
Tel: 04 42 01 74 32

La Presqu’ile $$$
Well known for fresh seafood and great ambiance.
Quartier Port-Moiu
Esplanade Presqu’aile
Tel: 04 42 01 15 40

L’Oustau de la mar $$
Christine and Dominique Bernard welcome you to taste their special seafood dishes. This lovely sidewalk café overlooks the port.
20 quai des Baux
13260 Cassis
Tel: 04 42 01 78 22
Fax: 04 42 01 76 65
Closed: all day Thursday and Friday for lunch

Wine Information
Cassis AOC produces a reputed white wine with a very special flavor. It is one of France’s oldest AOCs (guaranteed vintages). The vineyards overlook the sea on terraced slopes.
Syndicate of Winemakers, Cassis
Chateau de Fontcreuse
13260 Cassis
Tel: 04 42 01 71 09

Written by Terri Fogarty and photos by Bill Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com

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