The French Riviera: Cassis et les Calanques


The most romantic town in the South of France…

The South of France is exquisite and the most picturesque town we found and fell in love with was Cassis. Cassis is not only a lovely romantic sea-side town with a jewel-toned port, but it also features some glorious beaches on each of its Calanques, which you can explore by land or sea.

The Calanques

Each Calanque is an inlet in the form of a deep valley with steep rocky sides, which protrude into the sea. These long narrow bays can be considered Mediterranean fjords, which feature glorious beaches within each one. We spent two days exploring them, but one could easily spend a week and still want more.

Dining and strolling along the port

Not only were the beaches extraordinarily clean and simply dreamy, but the port offered several excellent restaurants for every budget. One night we ate at Chez Gilbert and had a very chic experience as we devoured a delicious Bouillabaisse while we enjoyed the delicate sea breeze.

The next night, we went shabby-chic with a melt-in-your-mouth steak and Roquefort baguette sandwich. As the baguette was at least two feet long, we thought we would split it, not imagining that we could possibly eat one each. However, the baguette is so light and delicate that one is simply not enough. The elegant woman behind the counter laughed at us when we returned for another sandwich. This time we tried the Special Marius (pronounced ma-rioh) sandwich which basically had everything on it. We chased it with lavender ice-cream and a side of Cassis sorbet. Hunger is now knocking.

Planning your stay

Although we traveled throughout the south of France in our car and stayed at local campsites while Chic Camping, we took notice of several beautiful places to stay for future visits. If you have already read my article on Chic Camping, you will already know that we did not make any reservations and traveled without a map. We had a wonderful vacation and everything was beyond superb but I do have a few suggestions for Cassis.

Hotels and Bed & Breakfast Inns become completely booked during the summer, so plan ahead. If you plan on camping in Cassis, you should reserve. There is only one campsite in Cassis, Les Cigales, therefore we were lucky to find any space left. It is also a bit far to walk to the beach so I suggest you bring bicycles or get creative with parking your car. We went in reverse up a one-way street in order to find parking by the nearest beach. The following days we ventured toward the amazing Calanques.

The unexpected…

Cassis was perhaps the most delightful town we visited on our entire vacation. It featured excellent beaches with great snorkeling, a lively port bustling with visitors featuring excellent restaurants and a variety of charismatic shops.

 “Route des crêtes” –  Photo: ©Fabien Tschantz
©Fabien Tschantz

While driving from one Calanque to another we decided to explore and followed one of the signs announcing La Route des Crêtes. As we drove further up the road, the city vanished, leaving a glorious park with ancient clay roads and the most exciting views of the Calanques that we had seen.

It was our last day at Cassis but we knew we would return again to enjoy all the city had to offer. This extraordinary gem of a town is perfect for a couple seeking a romantic backdrop or a group of friends who are thirsty for beauty.

With its refreshing sea, its extraordinary views, decadent cuisine and romantic setting, Cassis is a place that I long to see again and I simply cannot wait to return!

 Related Posts:

The French Riviera vs. Italy’s Amalfi Coast

The French Riviera’s Chic Cities: Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Nice & Monte Carlo

Secret Hiding Places on the Amalfi Coast

A Hop, Skip and a Jump from Rome: The Isle of Ponza

Positively Amalfi-Positano

Capri’s Dreamy Days & Never-ending Nights



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  1. I was taken to Cassis as a 13 year old exchange student by my French family and it looks exactly the same as in 1969!! I well remember it’s beauty and also long to to revenir.


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