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Should I spend one day in Aix or Cassis?

Hello,
I am traveling on a cruise which will stop in Marseilles. I have the option to go on a tour of Aix, Cassis or Avignon for one day. I was told in another post to do Aix over Avignon, but was also told that Cassis is pretty amazing. Please provide any insight you may have as I'm trying to decide which city to visit. I will be with my husband and 8 year old son - we love walking around and learning about the history of the place we are visiting and enjoying it's culture and beauty.
Thank you!

Posted by
22593 posts

Cassis is an attractive, rather small town. I think its most popular sightseeing option is a boat trip to the Calanques (fjord-like inlets). Such boat trips can also be made from Marseille. Note that the Cassis train station is quite a hike from the harbor area (downhill going to the harbor but uphill on the return). There is some bus service, but I don't know how frequent it is. I think there are some walking opportunities on the cliffs above the Calanques, but I don't know whether they are best approached from Cassis or Marseille. There are also some seasonal limitations to avoid overuse.

Aix is much larger; you'd likely have a market to enjoy.

Posted by
3462 posts

What does your cruise tour say about each option? I have been to both and they are quite different. Cassis is a small beach and fishing town with access by boat to the calanques, inlets and high cliffs. With the exception of the little harbor area it is quite steep. Aix is a much larger, elegant city with beautiful buildings, fountains, cobbled streets, plane trees, shopping, restaurants and fabulous outdoor markets on many days of the week. There is the studio of Paul Cezanne, Mont Ste Victoire in the distance and a nice art museum to visit too. With all this said by me and others on the forum, what does the cruise tour say and is it a tour or just transportation to the town where you explore on your own?

Posted by
6649 posts

I'm probably bucking the crowd here but, of the three choices and if you've not visited the area before I would probably recommend Avignon. Especially, with an 8 year old son who, I'm sure, would prefer the Papal Palace and the city walls to what might interest an adult more in Cassis or Aix. And if the tour option to Avignon includes going to the Pont du Gard, I would definitely suggest that one.

Posted by
9001 posts

What month? What day of the week? Cassis has more than the Calanques going for it. Yes, you can hike the Calanques from the town. The scenery in every direction is spectacular. Cap Canaille is the highest cliff face in Europe. You can hike to the top. There are a lot of shops, restaurants, cafes, even a small museum, but the town is in an inlet, so it gets crowded quickly. Any weekend and vacation period there’s bumper to bumper traffic . As for the boat ride, if the wind is blowing and the water is rough. the boats are cancelled.

Aix is exactly as Mona described it. Let me add the spectacular Cathedral and interesting regional museum. There is a music festival in summer that attracts visitors. Speaking of summer festivals, in Avignon you need to work around the summer theater festival that takes over the city in July. There will be crowds and lines. The city is pretty scruffy, otherwise. Of the three: Aix.

Posted by
7 posts

We will be there in July on a Sunday, so I'm guessing Cassis will be extremely crowded, and perhaps not a good option...

Thanks for your insight!

Posted by
9001 posts

And Avignon will be a madhouse with the huge theater festival. Definitely Aix-en-Provence. There will be tourists, but the locals are on vacation and the university students have left for the summer.

Posted by
1122 posts

I haven' been to Aix but between the other two I would pick Avignon. There is so much to see there. Cassis was "eh" for me... although I did win €150 at the little casino.... there's not that much to do see there. The Calanques are very overrated .

Posted by
219 posts

Betts….is the festival in Avignon most every day in July? Our cruise excursion day there would be July 9th. I so appreciate knowing this. If it’s a madhouse as you suggest we will chose Aix.

Posted by
6649 posts

Unfortunately the festival does usually run for most of July. In 2022 it was from July 7-31.