CASSIS - MAY 2005
On the first version of this post, Cassis was not getting the attention it actually deserves. So, having read the comment from Peter, I decided to re-arrange it!
Cassis, an ancient fishing port rebuilt in the 18th century, is a quite interesting small town. Its name was first recorded as «Carsicis Portus», and later as «Castrum Cassitis». Frédéric Mistral, a French poet who shared the Nobel Prize in 1904, wrote: «Qu'a vist Paris, se noun a vist Cassis, pou dire: n'ai rèn vist» (Who saw Paris, but not Cassis, may say: I saw nothing).
Located some 22km east of Marseille, Cassis is famous for its cliffs, calanques, stone, as well as for its wines. The calanques are geologic formations in the form of a deep valley, typically of limestone, in part submerged by the sea; somehow the Mediterranean fjords. With regard to wines, Cassis, once famous for its Muscat, is now recognised for its white wines, mostly produced with Clairette and Marsanne grapes, and also with Ugni Blanc as well as Sauvignon Blanc (not to be confused with the liqueur flavoured with blackcurrants responsible for the «Cassis de Dijon» case at the European Court of Justice). Its 180 hectares of vineyards were the first in Provence to profit from appellation d'origine contrôlée (A.O.C.) - «Vins de Cassis» - established by the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine in 1936"
"MOULES ET FRITES at La Vôute, the only restaurant at the port still serving lunch at 14:45. This should have been accompanied with a white wine of Cassis, usually pretty dry and light, and perfect to go with seafood; however, the heat, thirst and the need to still drive a long way, recommended a more Belgian version of the meal, with beer..."
"CASSIS OLD PORT, with buildings painted with the colourful pastels of Provence, is the point of departure for the visit to the Calanques"
"CHATEAU - The old 1381 Chateaux de la Maison des Baux dominates the harbor, but it's privately owned and closed to the public. Cassis is also famous for its cliffs and for the Stone of Cassis. Actually, the first stone quarry of the white Cassis stone was opened in 1753 in the Calanques, and the masonry for some Mediterranean ports (Alexandria, Algiers, Piraeus, Marseille, Port Said) came from Cassis. It is disputed, however, whether the base of the Statue of Liberty also came from here"
"MEDITERRANEAN SEA - Cassis has a fine sandy beach just outside the port, which was a bit cold those days..."