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Cassis and Provence/Luberon


We are planning a trip to France. We are visiting friends in Paris, so we have that covered. We have 3 extra nights and I'd like to spend them in the Cassis/Provence area. My top priorities are the lavender fields (we'll be there the first week of July), a few vineyards, and the coast. My thought is to take the train from Paris to Cassis and then rent a car. Does anyone think it would it be possible to stay in Cassis and drive to the following villages: Lourmarin, Gordes, Lacoste for the day?

Or should we stay in the Provence area and drive to Cassis for the day? If so, what village should we stay in that would be easiest to get to Cassis?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
4132 posts


It sounds like you want to spend a day in Cassis and a day exploring the Luberon hills.

If so, then from a logistical point of view it does not matter if you stay in Cassis, the Luberon, or another point on the most direct route between the two. The amount of driving you will have to do in any case will be the same.

Consequently I suggest you make this decision based on where you want to spend your nights. Is that Casis, the Luberon, or a small town like St. Remy?

The answer might also be influenced by your next move. Are you catching a train from Avignon or a plane from Marseilles?

I wold not uproot and spend 1 night in each place.

And, I'd suggest renting your car in Aix or Avignon.

Posted by
509 posts

Excellent points by Adam. FWIW, in 2016 we based in the Luberon, and made a day-trip to Cassis. Weather could be a factor. Cassis is great on a sunny day...boat trip into the Callanques, lunch al fresco on the harbor, and a drive on the Route d'Crete above the town. (It's worth some map-study to arrange to enter Cassis via the Route/Crete, approaching from the north-east as I recall. Spectacular views over the Med and down into the town.) You might have more flexibility by staying in the Luberon and playing the itinerary "by ear." Our base was L'Isle sur la Sorgue -- which was fine, but: my wife has St. Remy at the top of the list should we ever return. Finally, you might want to consider adding Roussilon to your list. The ochre trail is unique; we enjoyed the walk and the village even on a drizzly day.

Posted by
4606 posts

The train station is not in Cassis (I don't believe) and car rentals wouldn't be there, not at the station I saw way out of town near nothing. I thought Cassis was a bit bleh so I'm not the one to ask about it, western Provence is where the highlights are for me. I can't imagine dealing with Cassis' horrendous traffic every day by actually staying there.

Posted by
10294 posts

The only car rental in Cassis is a relay station in a mechanics garage. There's no real car rental. Best to rent in Aix, Avignon, as stated, or Marseille.

The Cassis train station is on top of the hill but you can walk down to the town, take a taxi, or there's a bus from time to time.
The traffic is awful because Cassis is in the bottom of a "bowl" surrounded by mountains. If you drive, you may have to park up near the train station, anyway.

Posted by
27352 posts

In peak season you can still wait 40 minutes for the bus from the Cassis RR station down to the town. It takes about the same amount of time to walk, and it's a pleasant-enough walk if you don't have leg issues. I wouldn't much care to walk back up to the station, though.The bus was synched up to the time of the train departure I had chosen. I don't know whether that's always the case.

I agree that Cassis isn't a destination I'd be interested in on a bad-weather day, so I think tentatively planning to make it your day-trip destination makes sense. Have a back-up plan in case heavy rain is forecast.