Calanques in the Cote D’Azur // Cassis, France
Our first full day of the trip was important. It was one of the main reasons we’d chose to go to the French Riviera, and it’s all Pinterest’s fault (this picture, to be exact). Our plan? To explore the famous calanques, narrow steep walled inlets, near the charming port village of Cassis.
Despite the gals jet lag from their flight from the US the day prior, we rose at a reasonable hour, had our coffee and headed down to the docks. Using ‘the more the merrier’ logic, we opted for the longest boat cruise that toured all 8 calanques due west of the town.
While we waited, we were highly entertained by a jousting contest taking place in the harbor between the local youth. As boat captains slowly puttered towards one another, the kids skillfully aimed their foam swords at the opposition and braced themselves. Sure enough, one would topple into the sea and be rescued moments later by what appeared to be the middle school class clowns (see next picture). Not your average Saturday morning activity but one I loved watching!
As our boat got underway we exited the harbor towards the open ocean, passing beautiful condos and apartments built into the hillsides. Nearing the coastline, cliffs began to grow steeper while the water evolved to a deeper blue as indication of the mounting depth.
Arriving at our first calanque, it felt a lot like what I had imagined but significantly drier. I think it’d pegged palm trees to be part of the equation but the rocky terrain still made for a dramatic setting. With the arid climate, the calanques near Cassis are highly prone to fires which is why visiting by way of land is not possible. Further, only private boats and kayaks are permitted to unload visitors on shore so instead of piling off the boat are experience was limited to our eyes and lens.
I think what struck me most was the sheer height of the cliffs. As clouds passed overhead they’d efficiently engulf the peaks. After touring the 9th inlet I was admittedly calanque-d out and ready to get back and explore Cassis.
Back in Cassis we wondered towards the Saturday market and perused the handicrafts followed by a little window and boutique shopping.
Our wallets and tummies had other ideas though. Realizing our cute Airbnb porch was waiting for us at home, we ducked into the local grocery store for a few bottles of rose, cheese and a baguette. It IS my french routine after all.
Once the wine was poured we cheersed to old friends and the rocky inlets that brought us together and immediately agreed, the calanques of Cassis had already made the trip a great one!