Aix-en-Provence, Cassis & panoramic Marseille
Two beautiful but contrasting cities, the charm of a small harbour town, and the drama of nature.
A NOTE ABOUT DRIVING TIMES
Driving times are about the shortest you could ask for, about 2 hours in total, broken up quite evenly.
Birthplace of beloved impressionist painter Paul Cézanne and former capital of Provence, Aix-en-Provence invites you to visually travel through time as you stroll through its labyrinth of narrow streets. An elegant city with a architectural esthetic similar to Florence, Aix has long been a centre of art and learning. Today's traveler will enjoy its vibrant atmosphere and the many fountains, shops, restaurants and sunny terraces where you can sit and enjoy the scene and pretend to be Provençal (though you may need to smoke a hand-rolled cigarette and drink a Pastis for the full effect).
Highlights include the 17th century Town Hall, the Archbishop’s Palace, St. Sauveur Cathedral with its enchanting Romanesque cloister and, of course, the Provençal market where the colours and fragrances of Southern France come alive.
Cassis & the Calanques
Not only is the cute harbour town of Cassis a nice contrast to Aix, it also gives you a chance to see the particular and dramatic terrain in this part of France.
On the drive to Cassis we'll pass through the picturesque landscape, dotted with umbrella pines and outcroppings of white rock. In town you will be charmed by the pastel houses and colourful fishing boats curving around the port (shoppers may prefer the lovely boutiques).
If the weather and sea conditions are good we recommend you take the boat ride to see the Calanques -- the limestone cliffs lining little inlets along the coast. On the way out of Cassis we'll stop at the top of Cap Canaille for spectacular views and photo opps.
Marseille is a fascinating place with history going back 2600 years, when it was founded as the Greek colony of Massalia, populated by Phocaean settlers from what is modern-day Turkey. The city was prosperous in Roman times, with the port being at the center of its commercial importance. In more modern times Marseille played a significant role as the port of the French Empire, connecting the North African colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia with France.
There’s only time to include a panoramic look at Marseille, but it will be sufficient to give you a sense of the many phases of its past that evidence themselves yet today in a vibrant mix of grit and beauty.
DURATION: 8 hrs
OTHER COSTS & NOTES
CASSIS OTHER COSTS
- The 45-minute boat ride to view the Calanques costs approx. 16 Euro (to be confirmed for 2018), paid directly to the admission desk in cash at time of entry (cannot be pre-booked)
The ferry is optional and dependent on sea and weather conditions.
look for other excursions from Marseille
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