A Day in Cassis
As promised, we returned to spend the next day in Cassis, thankfully the weather had changed to give us bright sunshine and warmth giving us the opportunity to just laze under the Mediterranean sun, a self-imposed break after all the previous days of constant driving. So Cassis here we come!
With no pre-booked ticket we headed straight to Garde de Saint Charles (Marseille’s Central Station). It was a busy morning on the main concourse with many commuters catching trains to different destinations. Buying tickets proved easier for us from one of the many self-serve kiosk machines, there are plenty of them dotted around the station. Once English was selected through the multiple choice language screen, it was a simple matter of entering your journey and required details. Payment will be prompted and out pops your tickets and receipt, easy! As your departure time gets closer, keep an eye on the departure boards for platform numbers. Also check that your train is heading to the correct destination and actually stops at the station you require, some skip stations, some do not. Our train was heading to Toulon where we had stayed earlier, stopping at Cassis on its way through to Toulon.
It is a short train journey from Marseille to Cassis, under 30 minutes and quite scenic. The train was a double-decked set offering pleasant views from the upper saloon. Upon arrival we disembarked to find a quite charming little station with that very French touch. When you arrive, exit via the subway and wait for ‘Les Bus De La Marcouline’ outside the main entrance, purchase your ticket from the driver when you get on board, then sit back and relax! The station is not located close to the centre of town, so the bus is a great and practical way to get there quickly.
The total journey from the Station to Casino (last stop) is around 15 minutes. It follows of series of stops, first half of the bus ride is flat then the remaining half descends with many bends and twists. Make sure to sit by the window to capture those tumbling views. At the terminating stop it’s about a 5 minute walk to the waterfront but make sure to check the bus schedule for your return journey to the station and allotted train. It would be possible to walk from the station and meander into town if you wished to do so, but factor in the time and the terrain.
What a spectacular day indeed compared to yesterday’s weather (previous blog). Cassis is a popular tourist destination during summer and no doubt extremely busy, thankfully for us it was fairly quiet and we were able to enjoy the warm day unhindered by madding crowds. The typical Provençal village charm is enchanting with shops, restaurants and cafes along the waterfront. What we liked most was the slow-paced way of life, people never seem to be rushed.
Cassis benefits from a privileged location surrounded by lush vines and pine trees, famous for its cliffs and the sheltered inlets called calanques. It’s a beach life here with plenty to choose from but if it’s not your scene, food and wine maybe the way to go. Cassis has one of the oldest vineyards in France and famous for its white, rose and red wine varieties and great food to match.
Planning is recommended when visiting Cassis, some key places are only accessible by a boat tour like visiting the calanques, a series of rocky cliffs with stunning little bays. For a joy ride around town, catch the petit train touristique (little tourist train) which is always a bit of fun. We spent most of our time sun-soaking at Plage de la Grande, the main beach, strolled along the waterfront and breakwater, avenue and alleyway appreciation walks and people watching. We opted for a light lunch to take away so we could just sit back in the sun. We left Cassis around 4pm and caught the bus back to the station joining our train to Marseille. We had a vey relaxing time and promised to spend at least 2 days in Cassis and explore those bays, vineyards and clifftop views.
Aside from catching the train you can also reach Cassis by bus or organise tour from Marseille. Bus departs from Castellane-Prado with a total of 40-50 minutes travel time. For info visit Get Your Guide for bookings. Please note, due to Covid-19 pandemic, tours maybe subject to restrictions.