Le Petit Tour de France: Cassis

While staying in Marseille, I took a day trip to the small port town of Cassis, just 22 miles or so down the road. Sitting on the water in the gorgeous, almost desert-like landscape of Provence, Cassis is a small town that is admittedly pretty adorable. It’s quite tourist-oriented, though, and is almost a bit too cute for me personally… but that didn’t stop me from passing a lovely day there!

 

The heart of town is at le Vieux Port (“The Old Port”… yup, just like in Marseille)…

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Adjacent to the Old Port is la Plage de la Grande Mer (“Big Sea Beach”)…

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As with most Mediterranean beaches, rocks and pebbles dominate here.  I believe the small amount of soft sand that is there gets trucked in…

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My first contact with the Mediterranean – yay!

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A long stone walkway divides the port and the ocean – a lighthouse sits at the point…

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The view from the lighthouse point…

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The lighthouse from the opposite side of the port…

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In town…

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I was lucky to find a vibrant open-air market full of delicious looking cheeses, meats, and produce… and of course, the famous handmade soaps that are made in this area…

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The people in this photograph are playing “Boules,” a game very similar to Bocce Ball.  I saw people playing it in parks throughout France during my travels, but I believe it is particularly popular in the South…

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Wandering the streets further into town, I found the most wonderful door knockers (and some tiny little doors too!)…

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Walking out of the “downtown” area (if you can call it that) and west along the coast, you’ll find another beach, la Plage du Bestouan…

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Continuing west, you reach a primarily residential neighborhood with huge houses and quiet streets…

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The primary reason I came to Cassis was to see the calanques (steep-walled inlets and coves) that give this area its claim-to-fame. I hiked along the top of one – la Calanque de Port Miou – on the “Petit Prince” trail, doing my best to fight flashbacks of high school French classes (my fellow French students know exactly what I’m talking about!)… I even broke down and took a cheesy boat tour so I could see the calanques from the water. Imagine me squeezing onto the deck with all the silly tourists and laugh if you will, but it was worth it! They are truly stunning natural structures, and it was wonderful to experience them from the two different perspectives, high and low…

 

Walking along the top of the calanque, looking down into Port Miou..

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Walking along top of the calanque, crossing over to the ocean side…

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At the point where the small cove meets the open ocean…

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And from the water during the boat tour, the same calanque I’d been walking on only about an hour before…

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Port Miou from the water…

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Approaching the Calanque de Port Pin (named for the alpine trees that grow in the rocks)…

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Approaching the third and final calanque of the tour, Calanque d’En Vau (which means “In the Valley”)…

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And inside the calanque, facing the other direction…

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And another few shots from the boat tour: Leaving le Vieux Port…

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… Looking at Cap Canaille, the third highest sea cliff in Europe…

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After enjoying a post-tour beer in the golden afternoon light of le Vieux Port, I had to say goodbye to lovely Cassis…

 

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Still soaking in the afternoon light as I waited for my train at the station…

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And that wraps it up for the Marseille and Cassis trip! In the next post, we’ll move east along the coast to Nice and several small towns on the beautiful Côte d’Azur (“The Blue Coast” / The French Riviera)… À bientôt!

 

 

One thought on “Le Petit Tour de France: Cassis

  1. i love cassis too – not as much as marseille but it is quainter and quieter. had a fabulous meal there over a decade ago and loved the water. plus, cassis / blackcurrant /johannisbeeren is my favorite flavor! great photos! love you, elin

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