Ahh, Cassis. There are few places that we like visiting more than this picture-perfect village along the sea. And not only will you find incredible views, but between the brilliant green of the surrounding vineyards, the deep blue of the mediterranean, and the towering beauty of Cassis’ sea cliffs, you’ll be smack-dab in the middle of incredible natural beauty.
Mind you, things are really “heating up” in Cassis at this time of year – the sun is shining, the restaurants are hopping, and the streets are full of weekend-trippers from Marseille. Late spring and early fall are perhaps the best times to appreciate the town and still be able to grab a spot to lay down your beach towel.
Nevertheless, we braved the growing crowds and had a fantastic day trip to Cassis a few weeks ago. Although the village itself is fairly small, there are plenty of things to see & do for a thoroughly memorable afternoon.
Here’s a list of a few of our favorite things to do during a day-trip to Cassis:
Take a boat ride along the Calanques
This is definitely not-to-be-missed and easily our favorite thing to do on any visit. Besides hiking along the Calanques to Marseille (also great, but will take you a good 3 hours!) there’s no better way to appreciate the beauty of these “inlets” which hide pretty little beaches and deep-blue coves.
You can visit as few as three Calanques or as many as eight – prices vary, from €16 – 22.
-Have lunch on the port
There are many cafes and restaurants that line the port. Have a gander at all the folks enjoying heaping plates of fresh seafood and crisp, white wine and it’s very hard not to splurge on a decadent south-of-France lunch.
-Do a Pastis-tasting
After lunch, why not pop in at Pastis et Compagnie, a local shopping selling anything and everything related to this ever-popular “southern” drink. If you’ve already had a bit too much Rosé during lunch to indulge in a tasting, they also sell several colorful pastis bottles to take home as souvenirs.
-Lounge around on the beach
Cassis has two local beaches which are both very popular. The easiest one to reach is just next to the lighthouse, while the other requires a bit of a hike up the road (direction the Calanques). A great way to cool off in the summer and / or enjoy a late-afternoon picnic as the sun goes down.
-Enjoy a bit of “lécher les vitrines” (window-shopping)
Cassis is nothing if not full of cute, port-side boutiques. We recently spotted a very “shabby-chic” addition (right next to the popular “white” clothing shop Blanc de Nil) which offers Provençal-style tablecloths, linens, and adorable home-deco items.
-Go winetasting at any of Cassis’ world-famous vineyards
This can be a bit tricky as after a few hours in the sun you might be ready for more of a “siesta” than a glass of wine, but it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to sample some of the most famous wines of the region. Heading away from town and toward the “autoroute” (motorway), you’ll find several vineyards along the road and a particular favorite of ours is Domaine du Paternel. You’ll find their wines served at the restaurants in Cassis and throughout Provence. Tastings are free and there’s no obligation to buy, although their prices are very attractive and perhaps just the right souvenir to celebrate your fond memories of Cassis. (Here’s a nice article written by Our House in Provence blog about Michel’s visit to Domaine du Paternel.)
Other vineyards to visit include: Domaine de la Ferme Blanche, Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Domaine du Bagnol, and Domaine Saint Louis.
Voilà – just a few of our favorite ways to spend the day in Cassis. Please share below if you’ve ever been to this enchanting town or any of your tips for day-outings in Provence. Would love to read your comments…
To Learn More:
Pastis et Compagnie9 B Rue Brémond 13260 CASSIS T: 04 42 70 21 55
Domaine du Paternel11 Route Pierre Imbert 13260 CASSIS T: 04 42 01 77 03 F: 04 42 01 09 54