Cassis and the Calanques

One of the most seductive resorts on the Provence coast, Cassis (90min from Lourmarin) boasts a stunning location, a lovely harbour, a sprinkling of beaches, exceptional wines and, despite summer crowds, an intimate, small-town feel.

Most visitors make a beeline for the colourful harbour to enjoy a small morning fish market, or to hop on a boat tour of the Calanques, which are limestone cliffs that plunge into the Mediterranean and connect Marseille to Cassis with almost 20km of marked trails.

Boat trips range from 45-90min long and you should buy tickets at the port 30min before indicated departure times. Magical and enchanting coves along the coast are a paradise for scuba diving, climbing, and the discovery of local fauna and flora (gear up with proper hiking shoes if you’re planning to walk in the reserve).

Alternatively, take the petit train touristique to the Presqu’Ile (peninsula), or sit in one of the inviting bars and restaurants lining the sun-drenched (and sometimes windy) quai Jean-Jacques Barthélémy and the quai des Baux. There is no busy road running along the coast, which makes strolling, eating and drinking there an exceptionally pleasant experience.

At sundown, sip on a kir, the champagne cocktail of crème de cassis, the sweet, dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants that – although not originating in the town of Cassis – is a favourite drink of the fictional detective Hercule Poirot. Très French!

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