walking around Cassis

A sweet escape to Cassis

Cassis is a coastal town located just east of Marseille in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Stunning Mediterranean views, a charming harbour, and its picturesque old town make Cassis a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to the region.

Cassis has long been an important port and was a popular resort even in Roman times, thanks to its natural beauty and mild Mediterranean climate. Ideally situated for maritime trade, it developed into an important centre of wine production, with the town's vineyards among the oldest in France, dating back over 2,000 years.

Today, Cassis is renowned for its crisp, dry white wines and refreshing rosés. Cassis wines are characterised by their minerality, acidity, and citrusy notes, which make them an ideal complement to the town's fresh seafood. You can purchase Cassis wines at one of the many local wineries or at one of the town's wine shops.

We love exploring the natural beauty of the area by taking a boat tour. Several companies offer boat tours, ranging from small, intimate boats to larger vessels. The tours typically last between 45 minutes to two hours, and include stops at some of the most picturesque calanques, stunning steep-walled inlets, in the area.

The first stop on most tours is Calanque de Port Miou, a particularly deep, narrow inlet surrounded by towering cliffs. From there, the boats often continue on to Calanque de Port Pin, which is a popular spot for swimming and snorkelling. You really get a unique perspective of the calanques from the boat, where you can admire the sheer cliffs and crystal-clear waters from the comfort of your seat. 

The town also boasts a number of other beaches, each with its own unique charm. Plage de la Grande Mer is the most popular and largest beach in Cassis, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and golden sand. This beach is perfect for families with children, as it has plenty of activities like water sports and beach volleyball. Plage du Bestouan, our favourite, is a small, secluded beach with calm waters, perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

Of course, after a day at the beach, we love nothing better than sampling the fare from Cassis’s wide range of bars and restaurants. They serve up everything from traditional French dishes to fresh seafood. We will often go sit at Bar le France or Bar de la Marine for an aperitif, a glass of rosé or a pastis, and a few nuts to watch the buzzing life of the harbour. You can pick out the tourists, the locals playing pétanque, and the fishermen selling their catches straight from their boats!

If we want a more substantial meal, we’ll often head to Chez Laurent, located right on the water. It has been serving up fresh seafood for over 50 years, and it's a must-visit for anyone looking for a true taste of the Mediterranean. The beautiful outdoor terrace offers stunning views of the port while you feast on dishes like grilled fish, seafood platters, and bouillabaisse, a traditional fish soup and our favourite dish there.

In addition to Chez Laurent, there are plenty of other great restaurants to choose from in Cassis. For a taste of traditional Provençal cuisine, head to Le Patio. This restaurant serves up dishes like ratatouille and grilled lamb made with locally sourced ingredients. If you're in the mood for Italian food, check out La Cucina. This cosy restaurant serves up delicious pasta and wood-fired pizzas perfect for watching the sunset with.

The ’haute cuisine’ option, if you have the budget for it, is La Villa Madie, an incredible restaurant perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. The amazing panoramic views of the Cassis Bay and the surrounding calanques are trumped only by the food. The team of Marielle and Dimitri Droisneau deliver outstanding food and received a third Michelin star in 2022. Their innovative and creative cuisine celebrates the flavours of the Mediterranean, showcasing fresh local ingredients like fish, shellfish, and herbs.

We make a point of visiting Cassis every summer. While we normally stay for the weekend, even a day trip is well worth the 90-minute drive. When we are there for the weekend, we’ll be at Hôtel de la Plage Mahogany, or next door at Le Jardin d’Emile. Both have great views over Plage de Bestouan, and with a carpark next door and the harbour an easy five-minute walk, they’re ideally situated too.

Overall, Cassis is a true gem of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, with its stunning natural beauty, rich history, world-class dining, and delicious wines. Whether you want to take a hike in the calanques, stroll through the old town, or sample some of the town's famous wines, we’d recommend it to anyone. In fact, we love Cassis so much that we named our dog after it.

plage du Bestouan in Cassis

Fish market in Cassis

View from the port in Cassis

Fisherman's boat in Cassis

Fish tartare at Same Same restaurant Cassis

View on Cap Canaille Cassis from Bestouan beach
Cassis our dog in Cassis
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