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What to Do in Cassis, France


Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Cassis is one of the most beautiful towns in Provence. Its vibrant buildings, majestic limestone cliffs, and pristine water, coupled with the enchanting scents and flavors of Provence, create truly unparalleled beauty.

Cassis is one of the best day trips from Marseille, but it is also a great place to spend a couple of relaxing days enjoying a variety of activities.

Cassis is my happy place in Provence, and I try to visit it every year. Despite its small size, Cassis offers a plethora of activities, making it an ideal weekend getaway. Are you curious to know what to do in Cassis, France? Then keep reading!

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Best Things to Do in Cassis, France

1. Stroll Around the Port

One of Cassis’ greatest charms is its Port. Lined with colorful houses that reflect the sea, the port has been used for millennia.

Strolling around the Port of Cassis, you can admire different types of boats moored here waiting to take off, from traditional boats to modern speedboats. In the distance, you can admire the Château de Cassis sitting high above the town.

This picture-postcard port is also lined with cafés and restaurants with outdoor terraces, great for a relaxing break, enjoying an apéritif, and doing some people-watching.

The Port of Cassis is also the perfect spot in town to buy some delicious ice cream! The area is packed with ice cream parlors selling traditional and innovative flavors, such as blackcurrant (cassis in French) and lavender, which are locally grown in Provence.

Cassis Ice Cream in Cassis

2. Local Market of Cassis

The typical Provençal market of Cassis is hosted in the central Place Baragnon. It takes place regularly on Wednesdays and Fridays in the morning.

Stroll around the 60 different stalls selling everything from locally-grown fruit and vegetables to artisanal cheese and honey to freshly caught fish and seafood. If you come hungry at the market, you will be glad to know that you will find ready-to-eat options, such as rotisserie-roasted meals.

In the market, you can also shop for flowers and plants and miscellaneous items, from clothes to kitchen utensils to toys. Cassis’s market has become very touristy; however, you can still find ‘OK’ prices as it is frequented by locals as well.

3. Things to See in Cassis

Sure, you don’t come to Cassis for its sightseeing, but the town and its winding streets are worth exploring. The Church, the Mairie (town hall), and the Casino are the most notable buildings. The 18th-century Fontaine des 4 Nations, on Place de la République, is also pretty. Overlooking the Port, the Medieval Château always impresses visitors, but it’s a private residence that can’t be visited. Last but not least, Le Four Banal is a communal oven from the XVIIth century. It was discovered in the heart of the fishermen’s quarter and has been completely renovated.

There’s a tourist train that covers the best places in Cassis. This Cassis itinerary departs from Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle and does the full tour of the town, including the vineyards uphill and the Calanque de Port-Miou (there’s a 10-minute stop for taking pictures). You can check prices and times here.

After sightseeing, the Port and the neighboring streets are packed with numerous shops where you can buy clothes, shoes, jewelry, Marseille soaps, local handicrafts, food produce, and souvenirs.

4. Calanque de Port-Miou

Calanque Port Miou

The wonderful Calanques National Park starts on the fringes of Cassis and extends to Marseille. The calanques are a stunning set of huge limestone rocks worn away over millennia by the wind and the sea to create islets and coves.

To marvel at these natural wonders, you only need to walk for a few minutes from Cassis’ center to reach the town’s entrance. Here, you will find the Calanque de Port-Miou, one of the prettiest in the National Park.

The Calanque de Port-Miou is the perfect starting point for a splendid hike that passes through two other famous ones, the Calanque de Port Pin and the Calanque d’En Vau. The total hike takes around 3 hours, and you can even stop for a swim!

If you are not keen to hike, you can just relax, admiring the turquoise waters and the marina with hundreds of boats tightly anchored beside one another.

5. Take a Guided Boat Tour

View of the Calanques from the boat

There is nothing better than exploring Cassis and its calanques by boat. This is especially great for those who don’t want to hike and prefer to just relax while enjoying the panorama.

Choosing a guided boat tour will allow you to do exactly that! All departing from Quai Saint Pierre, these boat tours are available seven days a week, and reservations are highly recommended during the summer months. If you visit Cassis during the low season, you will only need to show up at the ticket office at the Port of Cassis and purchase your preferred tour.

Choose from different itineraries of different durations, and get ready to discover the impressive limestone cliffs and their narrow fjords of the Calanques from a unique perspective.

6. OR Rent a boat for you and your crew

But why share the experience of a boat tour with the crowds when you can craft a boat tour for you and your crew?

Samboat offers a wide variety of boat types with or without a skipper. Their prices are competitive, and you can rent the boat for the whole day.

Cassis and the hidden coves among the calanques are perfect for exploring at your own pace. With a self-guided boat tour, you can take all the time you need to admire their amazing beauty and plunge into the Mediterranean’s blue.

The climate of Southern France is mild during the shoulder seasons, so you can enjoy a boat adventure not only in the summer. If you are traveling in Cassis during the high season, make sure to book your rental boat in advance, as this experience is top-rated.

7. Explore the Calanques on a Kayak

While taking one of the boat tours available at the port is a wonderful option, with a boat, you can’t get too close to the beaches in the Calanques. Besides hiking, the only way to do it is by kayak. This guided kayak excursion is a super way to discover the Calanques of Cassis.

Paddle side-by-side with an expert guide along the Port-Miou Calanque and then to the Calanques of Port Pin and En Vau, whose turquoise waters will leave you speechless. Listen to the explanations of your qualified guide and make all the breaks you want to take refreshing swims.

All you have to do is choose how long you want this kayak excursion to last (half day or full day), book it, and be ready to make unforgettable memories!

8. Cassis Wine Tasting and Shopping

The coastal town of Cassis also has a long history of wine production. Cassis AOC (short for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, which refers to standards set for wines made in France) is the oldest AOC in the country, so indulging in a wine-tasting experience is a must during a trip to the city.

Cassis produces mostly white wines endowed with aromas of citrus fruit, blossoms, and honey. There are 12 wine estates in the district of Cassis, and the best one to visit is La Dona Tigana, where you can tour their vineyards, taste their wines, and shop your favorite findings.

You will need a car or hire a taxi to get to it from Cassis center, but the experience is well worth it! Make sure to book your wine-tasting spot in advance.

9. Go to the Beach

< Grande Plage ^ Plage de Bestuan

Although less famous than the French Riviera beaches, Cassis has some lovely spots for sunbathing and swimming. All the Cassis beaches are stone beaches with incredible views of Cap Canaille.

Plage Grande Mer is the most central and, therefore, the most crowded beach. It has all the beach services you can imagine, including restaurants and beach bars. You can also rent kayaks on this beach.

Plage de Bestuan is smaller but very pretty. A 10-minute walk from the center, it is located in front of the hotels Le Jardin d’Emile and Hotel de la Plage, so it looks like a private beach. There are also a couple of beach bars.

The other Cassis beaches are Anse Corton, Plage de l’Arène, and Plage Bleue. From the Calanque de Port-Piou, you can reach the Calanques de Port Pin and En Vau, which are real havens of peace (especially out of season).

10. Relax, you are in Provence!

Most of all, Cassis is a place to relax and enjoy the small pleasures of life. Once I have taken new pictures and notes to update this post, I turn off the computer for the rest of my stay.

Head down to the water for a relaxing walk on the beach and that wonderful ocean air. Take a book and a picnic lunch and make an afternoon out of it!

Stroll around the Port and taste delicious Provençal food or a refreshing ice cream. Enjoy some people-watching in one of the cafés.

Browse the local market and the shops selling Provençal crafts. End your days with a glass of Cassis wine and a view.

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