Anyone who told us about Marseille, also mentioned Cassis in the same breath. The big draw here are the lagoon-like inlets, called les calanques. You can hike to the calanques from the Cassis port and jump from the rocks into the water. This was put in our agenda as a must-do.
The least expensive way to get to Cassis is by bus (the M8, 2€50) . You can also take a train, which gets you there in 20 minutes, but costs around €6. The 40 minute bus ride picks up at the Castellane-Prado stop in Marseille, drives along the super scenic Gineste Pass, and drops you 5 minutes from the Cassis port at the Gendarmerie stop. We arrived around noon.
It’s a beautiful harbor town filled with boutiques, sidewalk cafes, tourist shops, and a beach of their own. You might be tempted to stop here, but proceed to the tourist office in the port to get a map to the calanques.
From Cassis, it’s a 30 minute walk to the entrance of the National Park, and then another 30 minutes until you reach the first of the calanques. The terrain is rocky, so tennis shoes are advised. This hour walk will get you good and sweaty, ready to jump into the cold water.
We reached the first inlet and could hardly stand the heat anymore. We climbed over the rocks, found a flat area to sit on, and took in the view.
But that water was COLD! Dan was the only brave one. On our hike back to Cassis, we passed by a beach and made ourselves at home.
Back in town, we had worked up an appetite and the moules frites were calling our names; steamed mussels with herbs, butter/garlic, and hot fries. They were heaven in a bowl.
After eating, it was time to catch the 6:30pm bus back into Marseille. The winding, mountain pass roads put us right out.