I worked for Chantecaille as a makeup artist and was totally in love with a lipgloss named Cassis. It was so rich and pretty and complimented all people...that is after they got over the fear of it's tone. Anyways, five years later when I was planning my 30th birthday trip to France, I made Cassis a top priority. As reality set in and finances becomes tighter, I decided an overnight stay would not happen. But, he'll or high water, I was going. So, at the end of my Arles trip, I was going to make a five hour excursion to Cassis before heading to Avignon.
The amazing train system in France got me there no problem. The train station, however, is 30+ minutes from downtown/beaches. It's a hike but definitely doable. I even had my heavy, ginormous backpack on me. The signs are everywhere pointing to downtown so don't worry about getting lost. Enroute, you can take in inspiring views of vineyards, chateaux and residents sitting on the benches reading a paper. For the first half of the walk, it a path border by two rows of trees that offered much needed protection from the sun.
In the city, a market was taking place. So lively! Many options for souvenirs too! Everyone was so casual and nice. Lots of English speakers too. The beach is not hard to find: just walk towards the blue.
The tourist office is located on the beach/pier. Very helpful, nice and spoke English. I did the 3 Calanque tour which was totally worth it! I lastly chilled on the beach.
Now, the tourist office practically spelled out how to take the bus from downtown to the Gare (train station). I went to the bus stop a little before the scheduled time (as provided by the tourist office). She said, "the bus will clearly say: GARE." Well the one day I chose to ride, the bus was unmarked (looked like a temp bus). It wasn't until I watched it drive off that I decided to ask someone which bus was which. What did I learn from that experience? Get over your fear of speaking French and just ask! The price I paid: a hot, sweat inducing hike uphill back to the train station.
The point of this post: Cassis is absolutely worth it. I wish I would have stayed longer because I enjoy beaches. However, if you only have 5 hours like me, worth it! I got to shop a huge, various market, take a boat tour of the Calanques and sunbathe on the beach. Using the bus to and from the train station would have given me more time but I don't feel as if I missed out. Have fun and enjoy the warm people, beautiful water and white cliffs!