Cassis is nestled, like a pearl, along the Mediterranean coast in southern France. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, Cassis is located just east of Marseille. There has been a settlement in Cassis since Roman times. It is no wonder. Cassis has a dry and hot weather, the allure of the Mediterranean Sea, the creeks of Cassis and a windy pace of life.
I had never heard of “creeks” before a French friend told me that the creeks of Cassis were a must during a visit to Provence. Much like a fjord, magnificent limestone cliffs rise to the sky and are punctuated with thin coves where the Mediterranean Sea hugs the shore. These Calanques de Cassis are a marvelous landscape to appreciate and explore. For me, seeing the Calanques de Cassis was a highlight of my visit to Cassis.
Cassis, in France, is the perfect place to spend a few days. Cobbled streets wind past colorful houses and trendy boutiques. The sea attracts and gastronomic delights await the visitor in Cassis. This is the south of France at its best!
Before leaving for Cassis, how on earth do you pronounce the name of this fishing village? Some say that Cassis pronounces the s at the end. Others will tell you not to say the s. I asked my French friends. They say both are correct.
What to do in Cassis
A trip to Cassis can be tailored exactly to your desires. Relax by the sea, shop in the boutiques, browse the nearby Calanques de Cassis or simply sit down at a table in the bustling harbor and watch life go by.
Enjoy the port of Cassis
The pastel facades are dotted with wooden shutters facing the port. The sailboats move in their briefs. The morning parade of fishing boats unloading their catch makes the port of Cassis a splendid place to watch. Photographers can’t get enough of this perfect postcard frame.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the harbor so grab a wicker chair and sit back. Breathe in the salty Mediterranean air and sip a coffee or a glass of local white wine.
Take A Boat Tour Of The Calanques De Cassis
Right in the main port on Quai Saint-Pierre, you will find the ticket office for boat trips to the Calanques de Cassis. It is a very popular thing to do and the boats leave frequently. You will need to decide how many coves (coves) you want to visit. Tour boats do not enter the narrow coves but hover at the entrance, giving you plenty of time to observe the incredible natural landscapes. Tours range from 45 minutes to two hours. Some of the boat trips include the possibility of swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.
Once on the tour boat, settle in with your camera, marvel at the turquoise waters, and marvel at the sheer height of the limestone cliffs.
You can also enjoy the Calanques de Cassis by:
Hiking in the Calanques de Cassis is a wonderful way to see the magnificent limestone cliffs and coves from another perspective. The hiking trails run along the top of the cliffs, where the views of the Mediterranean Sea are spectacular. The trails then lead to a series of coves where you will find marinas, such as in Port-Miou, and the perfect flat rock for picnicking and swimming by the sea. The Aleppo pines cling precariously to the cliffs giving off a glorious pine scent to accompany you on the trail!
You are the judge of the distance you want to travel. Hikes in the Calanques de Cassis range from short to full day. Here are some suggestions for hikes.
- The hiking trails are made of loose stones and are steep. Wear sturdy hiking boots or runners and go early in the morning to beat the heat. Bring plenty of water and snacks as no service is available on the hiking trails.
- The Calanques de Cassis hiking trails are often closed at the end of June due to dry weather and the risk of fire. Check before planning a day of hiking that the trails are open.
For travelers who like to paddle, kayaking in the Calanques de Cassis is another way to get closer to this unique landscape. Kayaking tours are available and recommended, rather than going alone, as the waters of the Mediterranean Sea can be wild in windy weather. Get all the information about kayaking here.
A 40-minute guided tour takes you past the Cassis tourist office to the first calanque of Port-Miou. Get all the information here.
Browse the Cassis market
Time your visit for the Wednesday or Friday market day in Cassis. Stalls line the cobbled streets of artisan products, Provencal sweets, linen clothes, superb tablecloths, Marseille soaps and lavender products. Take a walk, chat with the vendors and fill your basket in the classic Provencal market style!
Relax on the beaches of Cassis
There is a beach in the city center, Plage de la Grande Mer, which makes swimming and sunbathing very accessible.
Walk a little further to discover Bestouan beach. Also very popular on a hot summer day, this stone beach is a classic French Mediterranean beach. Filled with bathers and swimmers, keep your spot with your beach towel in the morning. This beach is ideally located for swimming after returning from a hike in the Calanques de Cassis.
Taste the local wine in Cassis
Tasting the delicious and fruity Cassis white wine as an aperitif or with a meal can encourage you to go straight to the source! There are twelve wineries in and around Cassis that produce award-winning white wines. Plan an outing to a nearby vineyard to taste their wine and visit their wine cellars.
Drive The Route Des Crêtes
Driving the Route des Crêtes is an unforgettable and magical experience. The Route des Crêtes (the Corniche des Crêtes) is an 8 mile stretch of narrow, steep road that runs along the cliff known as Cap Canaille between Cassis and the town of La Ciotat. The road is one of the most scenic in Europe. Expect lots of switchbacks. There is a parking space at the viewpoints along the route to take in the breathtaking views.
Best restaurants in Cassis
The sun is hot, the sea sparkles and the pace is slow. It’s life on the shores of the Mediterranean. Discover food in Cassis in the same way. Take your time. Savor the flavors of the south of France. Fresh herbs and garlic abound with olives and anchovies. Try the Pesto Soup (the Provencal version of minestrone) or the Bouillabaisse (fish stew). Bouillabaisse is an experience in itself served in two stages. The soup is served on slices of French bread and the fish in a separate dish. Share one Panisse, a pancake made from chickpea flour, a real local specialty. And be sure to pair your choices with a Cassis wine or a Provencal rose.
There are plenty of restaurants in Cassis. These two will not disappoint you.
The Villa Madie
Villa Madia is located on avenue de Revestel-anse de Corton in Cassis. If you are looking for an exceptional dining experience during this vacation then La Villa Madie will be a pleasure. Dining in this 2 Michelin star restaurant with its breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea will be unforgettable.
Located in the colorful port of Cassis, dining at Nino, located at 1 Quai Barthélémy, is sure to please you. From the view to the service and delicious seafood dishes, a meal at Nino comes highly recommended.
Best hotels in Cassis
If you’ve always wanted to stay in a castle, you’ve come to the right place. The Château de Cassis stands atop a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Looking for luxury in Cassis? Look no further.
The Clos Des Arômes
If you are looking for something within walking distance of the center of Cassis, Le Clos des Arômes will suit your style. Its pretty terrace and garden are perfect for relaxing after a day of sightseeing or hiking in the creeks.
- Cassis is a popular destination for French travelers and tourists. Try to plan your visit in a shoulder season (June or September).
- Parking may be limited in summer. Check with your accommodation for the best place to park. If you’re just spending the day in Cassis, get there early.