Cassis – Love thy neighbour.
Occitanie is lush with long sprawling beaches, mountains, vineyards, quaint villages and exciting cities. The region is also blessed with wonderful neighbours. We share the Pyrenees down south with Spain. To the west lies Nouvelle Aquitaine which reaches the Atlantic Ocean with stunning beaches, legendary waves (Hossegor and Biarritz) and Bordeaux. To the north Auvergne Rhône-Alpes with majestic mountains, fertile valleys and legendary Burgundy wines. To the east is PACA Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. It is probably the southern region you have heard the most about; with St. Tropez, impossibly pretty lavender fields and the cities of Marseille and Nice among her many assets.
We decided to venture east this year from our base in Toulouse as far as Cassis and the spectacular Parc des Calanques and wind our way back home through Arles and Nîmes with a stop at the Grau du Roi and the plage de l’Espiguette.
Cassis is a very pretty town and fishing port to the east of Marseille. The Parc National des Calanques is a beautiful protected area of steep craggy mountains bordering the sea with lovely creeks between the two cities. The Calanque de Morgiou is actually located in the 9th arrondissement of Marseille. I was pretty surprised to see that I had actually been there for a fairly swank lunch a few years ago when I was still a perpetually exhausted stewardess and somehow zapped that I was in les Calanques.
We were ‘advised’ or I suppose made aware of a wonderful eight hour trek to one of the creeks. It was 35° at midday and 29° early in the morning so needless to say we filed that bit of advice for another visit during another season.
We chose to hike to the second Calanque de Port-Pin. We had toyed with the idea of going to the Calanque-en-Vau (the third Calanque) which is a bit more of a trek and known to be extremely pretty but by the time we got to Port-Pin we were more than ready to rip off our clothes and dive into the cool water and chill on the rocks for a while before heading back to the gorgeous city of Cassis for a long lunch. After all this was our only holiday this year after changing jobs twice and learning to do another new job, en français, I might add.
So, if you are still reading, dear readers, I apologize for the fact that I have not written any posts for a couple of months as I have been reaching deep into the quagmires of my brain to learn a new job and haven’t had time to indulge this passion. Thank you for reading and thank you for your patience.
We went out on a relaxing boat trip the next day and saw all the Calanques from the comfort of a boat with a lovely breeze and I can confirm that the Calanque-en-Vau is truly gorgeous.
There is an air of Italy here which adds to the charm of this beautiful port. There are Vespa scooters everywhere and Peroni is on offer in more than a few bars. We ate at a nice Italian restaurant La Goccia d’Olio. Much to my husband’s delight there is a bakery La Tarte Tropézienne with the famous Micka tarte. It is surprisingly light and not too sweet (I just had one bite!)
In the city of Cassis there are two main beaches, the Plage de la Grande Mer and the Plage du Bestouan, (the best one).
We found a lovely hotel, with a great pool which reminded me of my old job on the ‘beach fleet at LGW’; lounging by the pool, reading my book and ordering drinks. What a life! It was a lovely hotel with friendly staff and free parking just above the city centre. Message me for details!
The Route des Crètes, a winding road above Cassis going towards la Ciotat is something you absolutely should not miss. It is one of the prettiest drives I have ever done in my life!
I hope you have enjoyed this post about Cassis in PACA, our friendly neighbour to the east. The second part of the visit took me to Arles, and then Nîmes and the Grau du Roi back in Occitanie.
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A bientôt Christina …….