Discover Cassis: Best-Kept Secret in the South of France

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Discover Cassis: Best-Kept Secret in the South of France

Discover Cassis: Best-Kept Secret in the South of France

For some, summer in the South of France means Saint-Tropez, for others Cannes or Cap D’Antibes. But for those in the know, there’s only one place to head: the secluded, yet lively port of Cassis. Located on the coast between Marseille and Toulon, this jewel of the Cote D’Azur is an under-the-radar gem.

Here beautiful beaches beckon, while waterfront restaurants line the quayside of this small former fishing village – not unlike another famous town on the South of France scene – serving up the freshest, most delicious seafood. Spend your days tackling coastal hikes to hidden beaches or take a boat to discover the awe-inspiring Calanques rock formations dotted the shore.

Restaurants

Three Michelin-starred La Villa Madie, waterfront La Presqu’île and La Brasserie du Corton are the places for fine dining, while quayside Le Nino is known by insiders.

If fine wine is your thing, you’ll be spoiled for choice. While pale and light rose is the drink of choice elsewhere along the coast, here in Cassis the local whites are a dream and the order of the day.

Fantastic wine

The refreshing whites the town is famous for pair brilliantly with locally caught cod, sea bass and Saint Pierre or fresh shipped-daily scallops and oysters from further afield. Expect a balanced acidity of grapefruit and thyme aromas with white flower and peach finish, just a sip and you will well and truly know you are summering in the South of France.

Not to be mistaken for that ruby-red Creme de Cassis liqueur from Burgundy you may be familiar with, here vineyards by the sea blow in the breeze under the crags of the Cap Canaille peninsula, a stunning and formidable rock formation that overlooks the village.

Don’t miss a visit to the nearby wineries of Domaine Paternel, Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Domaine du Bagnol or Château Fontcreuse.

Best Hotel

The Art Deco Les Roches Blanches is the star of the show in the local hotel stakes. A 5-star seafront Art-Deco delight with all the class of a by-gone era, but with the modern sophistication travellers expect. In terms of a dining experience, it doesn’t get better than a moonlight-lit dinner on the deck at the refined Les Belles Canailles Restaurant.

Executive Chef Nicolas Sintes serves up a sublime degustation menu to guide through the seasons and the whims of sea. Savour dishes such as Caviar Osciètre Prestige, paired with Pommes Mitraille cooked over hay with Alpilles goats’ cheese or French venison with cocoa-pumpkin tartlet and pepper jus.

Best villa

The area’s best villa is a recently renovated modern villa with private sea access and spectacular views of the Cap Canaille. Tucked away from prying eyes, it is a haven of intimacy. The fabulous in-house butler team will make sure your every whim is taken care of and as the sits adjacent to the hotel, you can enjoy its dining and high-end services, including Clef d’Or concierge.

Explore the Calanques and the coastline between Marseille and Saint-Tropez on a day or half-day cruise. Whether you choose to sail on a semi-rigid, a pointu Marseillais or a modern yacht, you’ll enjoy a magnificent day at sea exploring the limestone inlets, with a picnic aboard or lunch on one of the nearby islands.

The Calanques

If you’re short on time, take a flight above the Bouches du Rhône between creeks and mountains, from Marseille to Cassis via the Sainte Baume during a 30-minute helicopter tour.

Fishing is also an option. Accompany a local Cassidan fisherman on his traditional boat, fishing with a rod, reel and bread, or ‘au Broumé’.

For the active, a hike along the precipitous edges of the Calanques is a must. The ancient limestone quarry at Port Miou is just a 20-minute walk from Cassis, while within an hour you’ll be among the soaring cliffs, remote sandy beach and neon-blue waters of En Vau, which has a reputation as one of the most beautiful Calanques.

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