Setting off on Sunday morning amidst clear skies & loads of sunshine, I finally understood what all the hype has been about - the South of France summer has arrived. After months of braving the terrible Mistral winds, I believe I have earned my badge of honor & am planning to pack my summer with day trips & festivals galore.
First on the agenda was Cassis - a small gem tucked at the foot of the Cap Canaille cliff & a sweeter, gentler version of St. Tropez. The town, which it turns out has nothing to do with the well-known Crème de Cassis liqueur (although I'm still a big fan of a good Kir Royal), is famous as a jumping-off point for visits to the Calanques, and also marks the start of the Route des Cretes- a 16km scenic ridge-road with stunning views of the sea & glimpses of Cassis from atop the Canaille cliff.
Given its proximity to Marseille, Cassis is also a weekend favorite for well-heeled Marseillaises - which helps explain our half-hour fight to find a parking spot (good walking shoes..check). As we trekked down the hill & into Cassis, we found the village was indeed packed with other day-trippers but seemed to retain its sense of leisure amidst the crowds. Sundresses, Pastis, & bermuda shorts were the order of the day, and I found myself quite well-suited to this "cafe culture" down South.Several port-side cafes were full, but we were able to enjoy a quiet, and relatively inexpensive lunch (€19 fixed-price menu) at L'Escalier - viewing distance to the port but on one of Cassis' many attractive side streets.
Karl Lagerfield or any Chanel models that day.
More About Cassis:
Ville de Cassis (in French)
L' Escalier Restaurant
4, Rue Frédéric Mistral
PH: 04 42 32 33 80