A Must See Provincial Town

Cassis The Gem of Provence

 Cassis is a sleepy little fishing town, which boasts indigo waters, amazing hiking trails, and delicious provincial cuisine. This little gem tucked in between the cliffs of Provence is a must-see. An ancient fishing village turned tourist spot, Cassis is absolutely gorgeous. The town is famous for its inlet waterways, called calanques, and steep cliffs, which provide drama to the landscape. It’s a perfect spot to spend a week, weekend, or afternoon. Cassis is great for a foodie, hiker, shopper, beach bum, or history buff. If you are in Provence and are looking for little towns to visit, this one is an absolute must. There are a few things you should do if you ever find yourself in Cassis. 

Visit the calanques

 These little coves are formed in the sides of the cliffs due to water erosion, creating little slivers cut into the rock. The wearing of the rock has created steep dramatic white cliffs, which define the landscape of this area.  There are two ways to see the calanques in Cassis,  a boat ride or a hike. The boat rides cost between 15-21 euros depending on  the length of the tour. It’s a very relaxing trip with views looking up at the cliffs.  

Cassis The Gem of ProvenceCredit: VD

However, if you would prefer even better views, a nice hike, or maybe a swim, I would recommend hiking the cliffs. The views are absolutely stunning and the smaller beaches feel much more private. The hike is not for the weak of heart, however, as it does get pretty strenuous at times. If you only go to the first calanque it’s relatively easy. However, the better views take a little more effort, but are absolutely worth it. You can find hiking trail information at the tourist office. 

CalanquesCredit: Victoria DeLone

Go to the market

The open-air market, for which provincial towns like these are famous, happens wednesdays and fridays from 8am-1pm. [2] Shop around for some picnic supplies like fresh bread, cheese, and fruit. Maybe even pick up a bottle of white wine made in Cassis. 

Walk around the Marina

 The marina is beautiful with its colorful boats and pastel rowhouses in the backdrop. Grab an ice cream on the Quai Baux  and then take in the sights. This is also where painters will sell their paintings as souvenirs.

Cassis The Gem of ProvenceCredit: Victoria DeLone

Take a dip 

There are two main beaches in Cassis. The one next to the marina is the more popular sandy beach. The other is a 5 minute walk from the center of town towards the hiking trail. This beach has rocks instead of sand, but it's more private. It's also a topless optional beach for the more adventurous traveler. 

Boat in Cassis

Eat (or drink) something

 There are so many delicious restaurants in Cassis, which all vary in price. If you are looking to splurge, try Chez Gilbert. Or if you're on a budget, La Frigalle is a local pizza shop which is very good. Or if you're looking for a place to grab I drink, I highly recommend Le Cendrillon (the Cinderella) for a fruity drink.  

Look up

 Cassis was a walled city originating between 500 and 600 BC. [1] Still atop the cliff is the walled fort which has evolved for thousands of years. Today it's a private residence. At night, it gets all lit up, which is really lovely.

 I can't recommend Cassis enough. If you're in the Provence region, you don't want to miss this town. Bus tickets from Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence are no more than a few euros and it’s absolutely worth it. 

Cassis, France vdelone 2015-04-01 5.0 0 5