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Cassis was a very ancient fishing port and is an interesting village to visit. The village was rebuilt on the old ruins in the 18th century, resulting in a more regular layout than most other medieval villages. A walk through the old village streets will reveal some quaint old buildings, some dating back to the 16th century, and some restored with the colorful pastels of Provence. Other sites in the village are old fountains and an open-air artists market. The harbor area is really the prettiest part of Cassis.
Portside posing and drinking aside, there's not much to do except sunbathing and look up at the ruins of the town's medieval castle , built in 1381 and refurbished by Monsieur Michelin, the authoritarian boss of the family tires and guides firm.
The favored lazy pastime, though, is to take a boat trip to the calanques - long, narrow, deep fjord-like inlets that have cut into the limestone cliffs. Several companies operate from the port but check if they let you off or just tour in and out, and be prepared for rough seas.
If you're feeling energetic, you can take the well-marked footpath from the route des Calanques behind the western beach; it's about ninety minutes' walk to the furthest and best calanque , En Vau , where you can climb down rocks to the shore. Intrepid pine trees find root-holds, and sunbathers find ledges on the chaotic white cliffs. The water is deep blue and swimming between the vertical cliffs is an experience not to be missed.
An outdoor artists' market lets visitors buy unique paintings. Many of the shops in Cassis are little boutiques selling local handcrafts.
Most shops, businesses, information services, museums and banks in France stay open all day. The exceptions are the smaller shops and enterprises, which may close for lunch sometime between 12.30pm and 2pm. Basic hours of business are from 8 or 9am to 6.30 or 7.30pm Monday to Saturday for the big shops and Tuesday to Saturday for smaller shops (some of the smaller shops may open on Monday afternoon). You can always find boulangeries and food shops that do stay open, however, on days when others close – on Sunday normally until noon.
National holiday dates:
January 1 New Year's Day
Ascension Day (forty days after Easter)
Pentecost or Whitsun (seventh Sunday after Easter, plus the Monday)
May 1 May Day/Labour Day
May 8 Victory in Europe Day
July 14 Bastille Day
August 15 Assumption of the Virgin Mary
November 1 All Saints' Day
November 11 1918 Armistice Day
December 25 Christmas Day
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