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Cassis (town)

We'll have a few (2) days before we return home from Marseille, after staying for a week with friends in the Luberon. We've considered renting a car, and staying in Aix, or perhaps Arles, or even Marseille (no car). Then we read about Cassis in Rick's Provence book. We are thinking that might be a nice change from the villages in the Vaucluse and the Luberon, that we'll have been visiting. We wouldn't be interested in swimming or hiking, but rather exploring the shops, restaurants, and taking a boat ride through the fjords. If you're familiar with cassis, what do you think? Should we stay near the center? Or the water?

We'll need to get to the airport. About how much would a cab cost? We're thinking that rather than renting a car at the airport, it might be easier and cheaper just to take cabs around town (one of us has trouble with walking more than 1/2 mile and uphill).

Any hotel or restaurant recommendations other than what's in the RS Provence book? Can you recommend a nice place to get bouillabaisse? Any other recommendations? We'll be there in mid-June, on a Sunday and Monday night.
Many thanks!

Posted by
3799 posts

To answer your logistical questions: a cab from Cassis to the airport should cost 100-120€ (Uber price being 85€ as I type this).
Also, if you have trouble with hills and with walking more than 1/2 mile, you would definitely need to stay as close to the port of Cassis as possible - it is a very hilly place - and to arrange transportation to Cassis, because the train stops 1.5 miles out of town (the bus from Marseille gets closer, but you'd have to take the metro or a cab to get to the bus stop from the train station, which is cumbersome).

I don't think that the town will be much of a change vs. what you can see the Vaucluse, besides the port and surrounding coastal scenery, that is. Marseille would provide more of a contrast, with easier logistics, and the same ability to take a boat into the Calanques ("fjords") and enjoy the scenery.
Exploring the town of Cassis itself won't take long, half a day at most, so if you have 2 full days (i.e., 3 nights), I think you might get bored of Cassis.

Don't get me wrong: Cassis is a lovely place. But I'm not sure it is the right place with the info you are giving us.

Posted by
92 posts

Thank you! I thought the smaller scale of Cassis might be a better fit for us, after a week of traveling all over Provence (and two days in Lisbon!), but we'll certainly think about it. If we do switch our plan to Marseille, where do you suggest we stay, given my info above.

Posted by
3799 posts

If you choose Marseille, jt is convenient to stay close to the "Vieux Port". Tried-and-tested options include Escale Oceania and (higher end) Radisson Blu. New Hôtels Vieux Port would be good too!

And yes, Marseille will be 10x more hectic than Cassis. If you don't mind just relaxing in a very picturesque place, even without tons to do, then Cassis is a good choice! But as I said, there isn't a lot to do if you exclude hiking and water sports.

Posted by
8388 posts

Because the town is in a bowl facing the water, with hills on three sides, everything you would want is near the water. There's nowhere for a cab to take you, except into the vineyards or up to the train station. It would be a slowed down visit with beautiful views of Cap Canaille and a ride out to the Calanques.

Any restaurant along the port in Cassis will serve fish soup. I don't remember if any serve a real bouillabaisse. The real bouillabaisse is served at a couple of restaurants in Marseille.
These are listed on the Michelin website.

Aix would be a good choice: fairly flat, a lot to visit, more restaurants open on a Sunday night.

Posted by
1719 posts

Cassis is tiny and, unless you stay in the center, it is hilly as Balso said so you might find walking a bit difficult with your limitations. You can do a calanques tour from the docks but then what? We had a car and drove the Routes de Cretes which has spectacular views. But you won’t have a car. Other than that, there is really not much else other than a beach and some restaurants there. We stayed at the Radisson Blu in Marseilles. Marseilles used to be on the RS eastern France tour but has since been dropped. It was not my favorite place. Given my druthers, I would choose Aix.