The French fishing village of Cassis, on the Mediterranean, gets less attention among Americans than other more renowned resorts like Nice,, St. Tropez, or Cannes. This is a distinct advantage for travelers who find that absorbing a culture is challenging when battling crowds. This is not to say that Cassis does not get tourists. Tourists abound in this town but tourists from all over the world which provides it with a cosmopolitan air that evokes its historical legacy when Phoenicians, Romans, Cathaginians, and other ancient peoples lived and traded on its shores.
Overview of Cassis
The town, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, was rebuilt upon ruins in the 17th century. The narrow lanes bring the traveler back to the past and the backdrop of the pretty harbor facing the white limestone cliffs creates an esthetic easel. The active and bustling port of Marseille lies some fifteen miles to the northwest along the coast. The frenetic worlds of Marseilles and the calmer, more relaxed setting of Cassis, could not be more opposite.
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Boats can be taken from the port of Cassis along the Rocky coast.
You can ask the captain to drop you on one of the many bays and pick you up again a few hours later.
There are magnificent places for swimming, walking, climbing or just relaxing.
Cassis is a delightful village about a half hour by train from Marseilles. When I was living in Aix, this is where we'd go on a weekend or afternoon to spend time by the Mediterranean. The beach can become a bit cramped, but the water and cliffs are beautiful. There's even a large float to relax on (that looks closer to swim to than it is. :) Before or after the beach, it's fun to walk around Cassis. There's an outdoor market close-by (I'm unsure of how many days it runs) as well as shops, cafes, and delicious ice cream stands.
You must go around Marseille to see : La Ciotat and the 'Calanque of Figuerolles' or Cassis.
The 'Calanques' are specific to south east of france. It's a little beach between huge rocks and you must walk for a while to find it.