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Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

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Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

Hi, I'm wondering if you wonderful people can give me some advice...I've been reading some guide books and they all seem to say that Cassis is a lovely place to stay along the Cote d'Azur. We would like to stay somewhere "authentic" along the coast with good transport links to the local sights. We hate package tours and over crowded beaches! Is there anywhere else nice along the coast that isn't over developed?

We are looking for somewhere to stay in May before our first child is born in September (I will be 6 months pregnant by then) and as I don't want to fly, we could get to Cassis by train.

We don't want to hire a car, so is it possible to get around using public transport for day trips? We would love to see some of the "real" Provence while there - e.g. hill top villages, Aix, Canyon Valley (forgotten what it's called - sorry) etc.

The other thing is the budget - accommodation and food seem incredibly expensive - all the restaurants seem to start at 25 euros each. I realise this reflects the quality but are there any budget options you can recommend as we couldn't afford this every night with the exchange rate being as it is!

Thanks for reading and any suggestions.

Paris, France
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1. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

<<Is there anywhere else nice along the coast that isn't over developed?>>

No

The southern coast of France has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. However the fact that you will be there in May means that the hordes of visitors will not have yet arrived in great numbers.

You can get near Cassis by train but the station is some distance from the town. There is a shuttle but convenient it is not for someone pregnant wanting to use it as a base from which to explore other portions of Provence. To reach the types of locations you describe: hill top villages, budget accommodations, valleys you will absolutely need a car. There are lower cost coastal alternatives to the west: Palavas-les-Flots, Carnon, even Sts. Maries de la Mer but they are not as picturesque and do not have rail service (bus service is available however).

If it is indeed a coastal location you are seeking you could try Bandol, Six Fours, or Hyeres les Palmiers just to the east but day trips to the more traditional tourist destinations of western Provence: Arles, Avignon, Gordes, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, St. Rémy, Pont du Gard are really too far away.

I think you need to decided what is really important that you visit and determine in which side of Marseille you want to stay: the west which is cheaper or to the east which is the Cote d´Azur.

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2. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

I really urge you to consider having a car for the duration of your stay in Provence. Although you may have some hesitations about driving on "the other side of the road," as long as you get a car with an automatic transmission and stay out of the city and town centers, you shouldn't find it that difficult to drive in France - my husband drives whenever we are in England, Scotland and Wales, but NEVER in London.

Since you have two weeks, you might want to consider renting a house or apartment for the duration of your stay and and using it as your base to explore the sites that you have listed. With a car, all of them are easily explored via a series of daytrips. This is also a way to save on meals, since you can have breakfast at home, enjoy your main meal at mid-day when you are out exploring, followed by a light evening repast back at the house. Keep in mind that most houses and apartments are rented by the week, generally from Saturday to Saturday.

As for Cassis - yes, it is a lively village, however, many of the streets are somewhat steep, and at six months, you will probably not enjoy walking around the village on a daily basis, very much. Instead, I absolutely do urge you to consider somewhere in the Camargue, such as Les Stes.-Maires-de-la-Mer. The nearby beaches are gorgeous, you can easily access the vast majority of the tourist attractions of Western Provence, and it is the type of laid-back destination that I believe you will really enjoy.

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3. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

Thank you for the informative replies. I think I need to do some more research on what we really want to do! This website is such a wonderful place to find insider knowledge that travel agents won't tell you!

I had to laugh at your comment on your husband not driving in London Alpilles Girl, we both live there, so maybe it won't be as bad as we think!

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4. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

If you can drive in London or New York City, you can probably drive anywhere - the big problem is the "other sid of the road thing" vis-a-vis driving in cities.

Trust me, I think that you will find driving in most of rural Provence as easy as we find driving through the Highlands - ie. simply the best!

Nice, France
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5. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

I agree with the others – you most definitely need a car – there’ll be enough walking to do without having to wait around for buses or trains, which won’t necessarily get you to the most interesting places.

May is still out of season, so you should be able to get some better prices on rentals. Perhaps think of a 2-place holiday. Also, don’t go by prices on websites : there are lots of cafés & small restaurants that offer fixed price menus well below 25€, especially at lunchtime.

Gorges du Verdon – which are really spectacular – not practical from Cassis for only one day, unless you stay over at somewhere like Aiguines.

Philadelphia, PA
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6. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

www.citer.fr aways has the best rates for our 3 weeks car rental when we are in Cassis, Just booked 3 weeks for about 600€ (if paid in advance on the web it drops 100€) when others were easily at least 2 x that amount.

If you do have a vehicle, Cassis, yes. If not I agree that you should consider an alternative.

Yes, do a rental by the week that is the cheapest, and if you have a vehicle you can shop at the "hypermarches" Auchan, Carrefour, Centre Leclerc instead of the very overpriced village supermarkets and shops. Have a good breakfast and the have lunch in a cafe-restaurant. they have very price competitive "plat du jour" at 10€ or just have a "Croque Monsieur", a salad or a sandwich. At night you can perpare your meals and have an occasional restaurant.

Terres Marines residence in Cassis also has a 25 meter pool good to sometimes relax and escape overcrowded beaches.

Just checked Citer and 2 weeks prepaid is around 300€, 20€/day is not bad for the convenience, as a vehicle is strongly recommended.

Philadelphia, PA
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7. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

Rental agency in Cassis : www.castellas-immobilier.com or others on the web.

singapore
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8. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

hi does the website has english? citer?

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9. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

Hi

Cassis is a wonderful place and I have holidayed there for the past two years. It is very quaint but can be expensive, but its all down to what you are willing to pay! Dine out every night and it will cost a pretty penny, its up to you in the end. You can get takeaway Pizza which is relatively inexpensive. The restaurants overlooking the marina are expensive and some are not particularly good! Its cheaper to dine at restaurants a street or two behind the waterfront.

As explained in other posts, transport links are limited buses run to the train station and into Marseille. Perhaps you may wish to consider a week in Cassis and a week in Aix,where the transport links are likely to be better.

Philadelphia, PA
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10. Re: Two weeks in Cassis or somewhere simila - lots of questions!

Cassis is not more or less expensive than anywhere on the coast, actually might be a tad cheaper than many other places. That is why self catering rentals are the optimal cost solution.

Aix is well connected for transportation but very expensive as well in terms of restaurants.