‘Cassis‘ is not only the French word for ‘blackcurrant‘ but the name of a cute French town on the fringes of the ocean… With its turquoise waters, candy houses and oodles of charm, it’s not hard to see why Cassis is near the top of every Provence bucket list. And besides, it’s hard not to fall in love with the quaint little French town. You can’t go wrong by dedicating an entire day in Cassis exploring the town, hiking through the famous Calanques, swimming in the sparkling water and wandering around the old streets.
Situated to the east of Marseille, the port side town is popular with international tourists and French holidaymakers alike. Local food and friendly inhabitants make this my favourite destination in the entire region! Wine made from vineyards in the area include white and rosé varieties and, of course, the entire town is overlooked by a French Château…
Cassis Old Town
As with most southern French coastal villages, Cassis has an adorable old town. Think cobbled streets and pretty cottages! It’s the perfect place to wander around, snap a couple of photos for Instagram and try a lavender ice cream (a regional specialty!). Although the region has been inhabited since around 500-600 CE, most local architecture dates back to the 19th century at the earliest. Wandering around the old town, you can expect to find the pastel shades and well-worn shutters that the architecture of the region is so famous for.
Although the region has been inhabited full time since around 500-600 CE (cave paintings- now underwater- suggest that the region was inhabited as far back as the paleolithic era- 27,000BCE), most local architecture dates back to the 19th century at the earliest. Wandering around the old town, you can expect to find the pastel shades and well-worn shutters that the architecture of the region is so famous for.
The port in Cassis is everything you can expect for from a Southern French town (and, like I said, is overlooked by a Château). Azure blue water, jaw dropping yachts, and the most stunning scenery you can imagine makes the port the perfect place to sip on an ice cool drink and catch up with friends.
The word ‘calanque’ derives from Corsican and Occitan words to mean a type of inlet. The most famous example of calanques in the World is the Calanques de Cassis, located in Cassis- obviously!
There’s no soil whatsoever in the mountains. Instead, there are sheer drops, limestone cliff faces, and evergreen trees. At times, when hiking the Calanques, you’re literally climbing up on your hands and knees. if you can, although the views may be better on a clear, sunny day, I’d advise to go hiking here on an overcast day. The best thing about hiking in the Calanques is probably all of the hidden beaches hidden within each inlet, meaning that you can take frequent breaks from hiking and enjoy a quick soak on your own private beach!
Tips for walking les Calanques de Cassis:
Although, the Calanques are a perfect place to go hiking, they can be tough to hike:
- Make sure you bring plenty of water!
- Wear comfortable walking shoes. At times, we were quite literally scrambling up the side of the side of the mountain faces. I saw a lady wearing heels and I’m still not sure how she managed!
- Bring snacks!
- Bring your bathing suit. Each little inlet comes complete with its own private beach; the perfect way to cool off after hiking through the calanques!