Saturday, August 04, 2007



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..."



freefalling said...

Gil, I was just looking at your profile...
I love Beethoven's 6th too! Have you seen the movie Immortal Beloved (with Gary Oldman)?
Plus you are born the same year as my Mum!
And I'm sure it says it somewhere in your blog... but how is it you have come to travel so much?

Ash said...

Awesome images, as always!

Sunkyoung said...

I haven't heard of Cassis and this place looks so beautiful. I'm going to add this town to my list of place-to-visit in Europe.

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

the Mediterranean sea looks as blue as i have imagined.....beautiful places brought to life by your blog for me :)

Z said...

Only knew of cassis as blackcurrant, whose juice (not the liqueur) I adore. BTW, you mentioned Aug 1 (Swiss Day) celebrations in Maui, but I think I missed that reference...

Patti McCracken said...

Great photos!
I'm also curious as to how you've come to be traveling so much, and where are you based?

I'm also afoot, but based in a small Austrian town (journalism trainer in developing countries and elsewhere).

It was a good suggestion by your Singapore viewer to add text.. brings more depth to what we're seeing.

Patti McCracken

dr. filomena said...

Wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing and for the information to go with them. The only Cassis I was aware of until now came in my "kir royal" :-)

Anonymous said...

wonderful photos--makes me want to go see this place myself...

Thanks for visiting Chicago and I hope you're having a great weekend!

Aditi said...

great shots as always

Marie said...

Ah ah moules et frites! Your blogs do not look alike :-)) I've just visited the blog with the Buddha. Buddha and then moules et frites, you are very eclectic. I wish I could live as you do...... That's fabulous.

Kalyan Panja said...

WoW, WoW...some really cool shots!
Simply Fabulous!

travelphilippines said...

fabulous i love the beach,.

Anonymous said...

It looks as if you're having holidays every day ;-)) Wonderful landscape.

Peter said...

You know how much I enjoy your travelling "reportages", but for once I have some small remarks to make:
- I hope you did not miss the "calanques"?
- I could see that you were drinking beer? In Cassis?
- I learnt from some other source that the statue if Liberty is standing on stones from a small village in the east of France (in the Meuse)?

Peter said...

So, I saw that you took my kind remarks seriously and somehow modified the contents! I feel honoured!

Now, with the "moules et frites", I understand well why you went for the beer! Although more of a wine drinker, I'm prepared to make exceptions... and when you are really thirsty or of course if you are in a pub... a glass or two of beer can be VERY nice!

(Yes, I got your message about Peru and Bolivia; sincere thanks!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks; loved your comment.
I don’t remember seeing the movie, but with Isabella Rossellini, I’m sure I should!
Yes, you saw «Born in 49 to trot around the world» in About Me…Actually 09.09.49…
With regard to travelling, if you look at the comments on my post on “New York, New York” (, you’ll find in an answer to Clarence’s comment, some witty(?) “Rules to Improve a Young Man’s Capabilities to Travel”! Try them… ;))
Just take into account that some would translate the quote «Navigare necesse est; vivere non est necesse» not as “to sail is necessary; to live is not necessary”, but as “to sail is precise, to live is not precise”. The Portuguese word “preciso” means both precise and needed!

Kind and concise, as ever! Loved it... Thanks.

You should. It actually deserves!

The most incredible blue sea I’ve seen was the Mediterranean around the Greek Isles; not the Atlantic, the Indic or the Pacific...

You’re right about the blackcurrant juice, as well as the liqueur. After Peter first comment I added some more info on the Cassis wines to the post!
You may find the Swiss celebrations in Maui at Kuanyin’s blog at Look for the August 2nd post...

I’m based in Lisbon, Portugal and you may find some kind of an Yerevan Radio answer to the travelling query in the reply to freefalling… ;))
Amazing reading in The American Lady. Loved to visit!

Dr. Filomena,
Thanks for your first comment to Blogtrotter. It’s true that the liqueur that goes on the bottom of the kir is probably best known than the Cassis wines!

Thanks. The weekend was not that great (some work around), but anyhow, I survived...
And heard some Jazz with Muhal Richard Abrams, (founder of the Chicago Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell (member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago)... So, I was quite close to the windy city!

Thanks! I’m also enjoying your blogs.

Well, life was a bit more exciting as far as travelling was concerned, some years ago. Moules, Thai cook, Japanese, Chinese, whatever… Now I’m much more deskbound, and it hurts! :((

Wish I could be on one of Philippines’ fabulous beaches right now, like the ones you show on your blog...

That would be good... ;))

Thanks for your remarks. Actually, I’ve been through a stressy summer, and the original Cassis post was a bit rush, to say the least… I’ve re-arranged the post to give Cassis a bit more of attention, which the town actually deserves!
The Calanques are beautiful, and deserved to be mentioned, even if I had no pictures to show (that mix video/photo was difficult to handle…); and, of course, I would rather take wine than beer, but the thirst, the need to drive, and the moules/frites decided the choice… The origin of the stone for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty will be contentious for the years to come, I assume...

Nikon said...

Thanks for your visit to Hemingway - & I love this series.

Lori said...

I was not familiar with Cassis so I'm glad to know about it. Those frites look so yummy! I'm adding so many places to my "to visit" list by reading your blog!

Patti McCracken said...

Thanks for your nice comments about my site.
Still can't quite get how you came about traveling so much... must do more searching.

Regarding yerevan... from your site, I can't tell whether or not you've been to this part of the world before. It's hard to know where to start regarding recommendations. I'd first say to do a little bit of homework (as usual) to learn some back ground about Armenia: Things of note: A very large diaspora as a result of the genocide by the Turks. The diaspora cash not only kept it afloat in the years after The Wall (during which a major border conflict erupted) but is basically the primary source of income for the country. This is worrying to most.
It is widely believed to be the place where Noah's Ark ran ashore--the actual spot was captured by the Turks in WWI and is no longer part of Armenia--but Armenians, of course, are unhappy to think of it that way.
They have a type of sibling rivalry with neighbor Georgia.
They think of themselves as European. When there, you can see that, but you can also see a Middle Eastern influence. This mix of cultures and other bits mixed in is what makes it the Caucasus.
It is the original Christian state--the very first.
The people are friendly once you get to know them, but not warm like the Mediterranean. Men might find it more warm than women, as it is still a very macho and patriarchal culture.
The alphabet is unique. If you know Russian, or at least the cyrillic alphabet, that will help.
I didn't have a chance, but I was encouraged to go to a resort called Lake Seban... or something like that.
Bring toilet paper with you on all journeys.
But read up a bit on the history--mainly the genocide, since it is something that is still very hurtful and troubling to them today (as, of course, it would be). ATMs work there, but you can't draw out too much cash at one time. if you need to draw out more than, say, 50 bucks, go to the HSBC main branch and stand in line (but bring your passport). And now that I think about it, the HSBC branch ATM might let you draw out more than the other banks.
Whew! Have I answered some of your questions? If not enough, I'll be happy to tell you more. Just leave a message on my blog.

Nabeel said...

summertimes are good times

Irina said...

Your post again made me 'vacation-sick' for I long for sea, Mediterranean or any other warm one. We are so unfortunate here as to have endless rains during last week. Today, though, looks like a promise of nice summer day. I need summer badly! So you are, I guess :)

Thank you for your visits to my blog, they help me in my daily struggle.

Dsole said...

this is so beautiful! I love the one of the beach and the blue vision!
I'm having such a bad time, too much work, and too much things to do, don't have enough time to blog nowadays. I'm thinking of letting it go to another hands... I don't know.
Are you still on vacation? always traveling, you're so lucky!
Greetings from hotMadrid!! =)

Anonymous said...


Take your time, you'll need plenty of it to visit Provence!

Thanks a lot. The closest I've been to Armenia was Turkey (maybe Cyprus or Russia). Also in Romania and Bulgaria... Can't speak Russian, but know the cyrillic alphabet! Lake Seban and toilet paper, I won't forget...
Thanks again!

the livin' is easy...

hope you have some sunshine around!
Thanks for the visit and comments!

Vacations? If I manage one week off early September, I'll be happy...
Don't give up, we'll miss you; make it weekly...

lyliane six said...

Bravo pour la bière avec les moules frites, je reviens d'Anvers où je me suis régalée aussi avec ce plat typiquement Belge, j'ai appris à aimer le vin en 1967, en venant habiter la région parisienne, car la bière est ma boisson nationale (je suis née à la frontière Belge,j'y ai passé ma jeunesse, ma soeur y a vécu 30 ans,mes grands parents étaient nés en belgique, mon neveu et mes petits neveux sont belges.Mais j'aime aussi le sud où j'ai vécu 5 ans, à Bormes les Mimosas, où ma soeur possède un appartement.

Anonymous said...

Merci Lyliane.
Vraiment, en ce qui concerne la bière, la Belgique gagne le trophée! Leffe, Kwak, Chimay, Duvel, Blanche, les Kriek, La Mort Subite... En plus les bières artisanales. C’est magnifique!
Et les moules: parquées, marinières, vin blanc, à la provençale, au safran, farcies, à l’escargot...

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

I love Cassis. I was there once in 1996 and absolutely loved it! A very elegant port!

Anonymous said...

Elegant! The exact word you found for Cassis...