côte d'azur :: cassis, calanques & habour view dinner

Wouldn't it be nice for us Londoners to have a crystal blue ocean to jump into during this heatwave?! Well, I can at least share a virtual trip to such a place today.

Upon my request, on our last day in Provence, my father-in-law drove us to Cassis (correction: E drove too, I napped in the back), a gorgeous coastal town in the Côte d'Azur region. I had been once before, but years ago - also with the same gang of three! - but I remember loving it so much that I wanted to visit again.

From what E and his dad tell me, Cassis is the cosiest, least flashy, and least touristy of the similar spots like St. Tropez and Cannes. It has a very relaxed vibe, and at the end of May, it still seemed like there were more locals than tourists. The harbour is lined with cafés and bars, and the little back streets are just beautiful and also boast some lovely looking restaurants.

First up though, was our boat ride! We chose a five calanques trip, which lasted just over an hour, I think? It was the perfect length, and we were able to enjoy some absolutely breathtaking views. I just love seeing how nature has shaped and carved each calanque so differently, all surrounded by the blindingly blue waters and the pine trees that need no soil to grow. We saw a few rock climbers, people relaxing on the little alcove beaches, and jumping into the sea from their little speedboats - I wouldn't have minded joining them!

Of course, no visit to the seaside is complete without some fresh seafood for dinner. We were recommended by our friend to try La Vieille Auberge, which was such a great suggestion. Located right on the harbour with a magnificent view, we sat outside and ate the freshest of fish, prawns, mussels, scallops... my ideal dinner, in other words. The fish were brought to us whole first, and then prepared beautifully - you just can't beat it, can you? The service was superb, too, and the set menu was pretty reasonably priced. I would absolutely recommend it if you visit Cassis.

For some unknown reason, a group of Brazilian guys put on a little music and dance for us in front of the restaurants (well, the reason was tips, I suppose!), which livened things up even more and we had such a great evening. We enjoyed the stunning sunset, and I happily napped in the car all the way home - blame it on the heat, wine and food coma. 

No doubt I'll be itching to go to Cassis again soon enough - but in the meantime, you must go, you won't regret it.