Frederic Mistral was know to exaggerate, of course, but Cassis remains the only alternative to all the better known, yacht-a-fied Mediterranean (Medi) locales in the South of France.
Forty minutes north of Marseille, Cassis is nestled in the shadow of Europe's highest maritime sea cliff, Cap Canaille, which rises an impressive 1,300 feet straight up from the Medi.
The Cap and the cozy Port du Cassis set the visual tone of this small seaside village. Don't be fooled, Cassis draws impressive crowds during the summer holiday when many tourists, mainly French, come to Cassis to eat, drink and bake. Nonetheless, Cassis offers a distinctly Weekend Hippie vibe.
The village elders pass the afternoon playing petanque, floating in the sea or generally chilling with a glass of Rose. Those inclined for a bit more adventure can hike or bike an impressive trail system, paddleboard the Medi, or explore the famous Calanques.
The Calanques de Cassis are fiord-like inlets that dot the ten-mile stretch of coast between Marseille and Cassis. The water is that kind of Photshop-blue that can't be real, except it is. It's a spectacular setting that cries out for hiking, paddleboarding, biking, swimming, cliff diving and lazy sunning.
The Farmers' Market, great food and friendly locals round it out. Maybe Mistral was on to something after all.