The History Of Marseille And The Calanques Of Cassis
Tour the big city and then a lovely resort town - a perfect contrast.
Marseilles is often overlooked in favor of the more Provencal destinations nearby, but it clearly is a city of excitment and energy. Long considered the gateway to the Mediterranean, the Orient, and Africa, is it France's oldest and second-biggest city. Though its reputation during the 1960s and 70s was one of corruption, Marseilles has done much to clean up its image.
First you will explore the Old Port, the heart of the city, with its exceptional fish market: John Dory fish, monkfish, fresh tuna...a real event! Your guide will tell you the history of Marseille, France's oldest town. Visit Le Panier, the town's oldest quarter, with its narrow streets, its squares, colored facades, and the Vieille Charité hospice. This maze of shuttered homes have long been neglected but are now the focus of urban renewal. The esplanade of the St. Laurent church will give you one of the most wonderful views of the old harbor and the St. Jean and St. Nicolas fortresses that mark the entrance of the port.
Now head back to the car, where you will drive via Saint-Victor Abbey (a very important place for the first Christians in Marseille) to Notre Dame de la Garde, the 19th century basilica on the top of the hill of la Garde who protects the people of Marseille; this site also affords you an unforgettable view of the city.
We like to stop at this point for a bouillabaisse lunch, which is not included. This fish stew was created in Marseilles and there are standards a provider must follow to be able to claim the dish a true bouillabaisse.
Driving back via the Corniche, you might be tempted to take a catnap during your ride to Cassis - but make sure to stay awake, as this 20-minute ride takes you through the lush countryside dotted with vineyards. As you enter Cassis, you will see the monumental cliffs, ruins of a medieval castle, and sitting in the middle of it all is a picture-perfect fishing village. This town is known for many things - its lovely white wine, produced in the 13 estates of the area, the calanques of rock that project along the coastline in formation similar to little fjords, and a true resort area without pretension.
- Wear comfortable shoes, and don't forget to bring a camera.
- We have not included lunch or the cost of the boat trip to the Calanques, which may be purchased during the tour time.
- Please keep in mind that the order of this tour is approximate. Your guide will adapt to the rhythms and interests of your group, so please let her know of any special questions or interests that you may have.
Days offered: 7 days a week