Cassis, Provence: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Cassis (Provence, France)
Cassis is a small fishing port and town on the Cote d'Azur east of Marseille. The principal appeal of Cassis is its picture postcard harbour, and the very impressive position in which it is located with tree-dotted cliffs rising on both sides of the town, and equally to the access it provides to a couple of stunning local attractions. It falls within the boundaries of the recently created Calanques National Park.
The local wines from Cassis, especially the white wines, are also very highly regarded. It is of course produced from the many vineyards you can see around the town!
Your visit will undoubtedly start on the waterfront in Cassis. Perhaps best described as small but perfectly formed, the harbour is filled with boats and lined with attractive traditional pastel painted buildings and plenty of bars and restaurants.
France This Way comment: although the town centre is not as interesting as some others on the Riviera, the harbour, beach and scenery more than compensate and we recommend you visit Cassis when you are here!
As well as strolling around the harbour you should also explore the streets in the town and up the hill behind the seafront, where highlights include the Church of Notre-Dame de-Bon-Voyage (19th century), the 17th century Town Hall, and some impressive town houses such as the Villa l'Ariane (which now houses the town library).
You will also notice several traditional Provencal stone fountains, two or three small chapels and some small oratories as you explore: individually not particularly exciting perhaps but together they all contribute to the charm of the village. There is also a small museum in Cassis dedicated to the history of the town and region.
Although the fishing village has medieval origins most buildings in the town date from the 17th and 18th century when a large part of Cassis was rebuilt.
You can also walk up the hill to the south-east to see the substantial remains of the medieval castle, the Chateau des Baux, built in the 14th century, and for a nice view across the town and along the coast although the castle itself is not open to the public. The Villa Mauresque next to the castle is one of the most impressive in Cassis.
Beaches in Cassis
There is a sunny beach in the centre of Cassis called the Plage de la Grande Mer, with the cliffs as a perfect backdrop. This main beach is a mix of sand and pebbles, while the other small beaches close to the town are rockier and also quieter: these include the plage du Bestouan at the base of Cape Canaille and the two small beaches at Anse de l'Arène and Anse du Corton.
This attractive combination of town, beach and surrounding scenery has long attracted artists here, with famous 20th century artists including Georges Braque, André Derain and Raoul Dufy among those who spent time here.
Note: an important festival dedicated to fishers is held here on the last weekend of June each year, when the port area becomes very lively.
Attractions and activities
Apart from exploring Cassis itself, be sure to find time for a couple of trips out from the town to the protected natural sites to either side of the port:
- The Route de Cretes is a dramatic road that follows the clifftops to the south-east towards the harbour town at La Ciotat and is an unmissable excursion with great views out to the sea and along the headland of Cap Canaille, the highest coastal cliffs in France. The road is also a popular cycle route along the coast.
- To the west of Cassis are the Calanques of Marseille - cliffs that plunge dramatically into the turquoise sea below - these are also unmissable! Best seen by boat-trip leaving from Cassis harbour (one of our favourite trips along the Mediterranean coast), there are also footpaths that permit access and an alternative (very lovely) viewpoint. The first calanque to the south-west of Cassis contains the pleasure port of Port Miou.
Map of Cassis and places to visit
Visit near Cassis with France This Way reviews
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Address: Cassis, Ciotat, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence, 13260, France || GPS: latitude 43.2167, longitude 5.53889
Plan your visit to Cassis, Provence
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Cap Canaille: site of natural beauty
- Cap Canaille (Cassis): site of natural beauty (3km)
- Calanque de Figuerolles: site of natural beauty (7km)
- Parc du Mugel: site of natural beauty (8km)
- Parc municipal du Mugel: remarkable garden (8km)
- Calanque: site of natural beauty (10km)
- Jardin de la Magalone: remarkable garden (14km)
- Parc Borély: remarkable garden (14km)
- Parc Longchamp: remarkable garden (14km)
- Parc du 26e Centenaire: remarkable garden (14km)
Market days in Cassis, France
Regular market(s) are held in Cassis each Wednesday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Cassis (Francais)