Thursday, 7 June 2012

France 2 - Cassis and Lenny Kravitz

"He who has seen Paris and who has not seen Cassis can say ... I have seen nothing." Frédéric Mistral (1830 - 1914)

On Tuesday 5th, my daughter was able to take half a day from work, so we had lunch at home, then drove to the village of Cassis, about 45km away from Martigues or 16km east of Marseille. (You can also take a train from Marseille).

Nestled among pine trees, terraced vineyards and white limestone cliffs, the small fishing port of Cassis in the Mediterranean is certainly worth visiting!
As the car winds down leading to the village there are vineyards and pine forests in every direction.

Cassis with castle above the village
The village centre is a charming jumble of colourful narrow houses, narrow streets and tourists and locals sitting in the cafès facing the fishing boats in the blue sea.
Cassis is protected by Cape Canaille, the highest European maritime cliff (almost 400mt above sea level), and the white limestone cliffs.

The pretty harbour and narrow houses surrounding it

The small sandy beach; castle on the hilltop
The limestone of Cassis that was quarried for centuries also made the town famous; it was used to build the ports of Alexandria, Algiers, Pireus and Marseille as well as being used to build the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Nowadays it's a small industry, the stone mainly used for pools and sinks. Tourism and wine are now the main money makers, and the Cassis wines were one of the first to profit from the "label of controlled origin" introduced in 1936.

Activities in the area: there are walking trails from Cassis along the coast above the cliffs (falaises) with panoramic views, or if you are an experienced rock climber the cliffs surrounding Cassis are ideal,  otherwise you can fish, kayak, dive or  just relax and enjoy the small beach by the Port.
You can visit the sheltered inlets (calanques) by doing a boat tour - that either visits 3, 5 or 8 "calanques". We opted for the 3 at a cost of 15 euro per person, which was enough to get an idea of the majestic cliffs and sheltered beaches that can only be reached by boat or via the cliffs.

Limestone cliffs
Secluded beach in one of the inlets (calanques)
We drove further to La Ciotat, 7km down the coast and just stopped for a short while to take some photos by the Port and shipyard.
Not as picturesque as Cassis, but town is known for being the setting for the first ever projected motion picture by the Lumière brothers in 1896, as well as being the place where Jules le Noir invented the game of Pétanque.

And then on to Toulon, the third biggest city in the Provence, after Marseille and Nice; but we were already in a hurry to be able to visit anything, our only aim to reach the concert hall -Zenith Omega, which has a sitting capacity of 8,800 people, where we were going to watch the "Lenny Kravitz" concert.

I was not meant to go, but my son in law insisted I take his place and enjoy the time with my daughter, and although Lenny is not on my list of favourite singers, the night was very enjoyable. The only drawbacks were - the concert hall was very hot and there was 1 hour interval between the guest singer and the Kravitz concert...

By the time it ended with him going around the bottom part of the hall and having hysterical people touch him, it was almost midnight, which meant we got home just after 1am!

But of course the whole day was a wonderful experience, from the village of Cassis to the concert, as the last time I had been to a concert was close to 4 years ago!

Lenny Kravitz on stage
Do you know this part of the world? Or have you been to Cassis? Next post will be about my tour of Marseille...


  1. Sami, I'm so jealous !! It Looks beautiful!

  2. Cassis is truly magical, and the boat tour to the Calanques worthwhile to see the little bays and majestic rocks.

  3. The clarity and beautiful tropical colors of your photos is magnificent. It's neat you got to go see LC. Sounds like an all around fun filled time. :)

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  5. I never have been in Cassis, but after these photos, I'll keep it in mind. I love the South of France. Thanks for sharing, Sami. What a wonderful day! :-)

  6. What a wonderful day, Sami! Thanks for sharing. I never have been there, but now , with your photos, I will keep it in mind. I love the South of France.Beijinhos! :-)

  7. Thanks E.C., yes the colours do seem very bright!

  8. Thanks Sandra; I have certainly discovered some lovely spots in the south of France.

  9. Cassis looks an idyllic spot Sami. I know so little of France. Still having trouble following your blog so I have to rely on seeing something on Facebook. Does your daughter live there? Have a fabulous time.

  10. Hi Jo, my daughter has been living in Martigues (near Marseille) since January this year, she had previously lived in Paris for 2 years.
    I have visited some really quaint villages in the south of France.

  11. Those cliffs and beaches look amazing! I'm not the best fan of Lenny, but I'd go to his concert any day.


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