10 top tips for visiting Cassis

Hello, Emily here, sharing my top tips for a visit to the Provençal village of Cassis, whose motto is “Qu a vist Paris, se noun a vist Cassis, n’a rèn vist” (“Who has seen Paris and not Cassis, has not seen anything”). I definitely recommend adding it to your list of places to visit in France. It’s hard to overstate how seriously the French take…

Hello, Emily here, sharing my top tips for a visit to the Provençal village of Cassis, whose motto is “Qu a vist Paris, se noun a vist Cassis, n’a rèn vist” (“Who has seen Paris and not Cassis, has not seen anything”).

I definitely recommend adding it to your list of places to visit in France.

It’s hard to overstate how seriously the French take their holidays. Parents stay up until midnight to book ski-train tickets the moment they go on sale, summer houses are booked a year in advance and competition for days off in August, peak summer season, is fierce. There’s even a specific French expression faire le pont which means “to make the bridge”, and refers to booking a day or two off when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, to take advantage of an extra long weekend. 

Being a last-minute person myself I struggled to picture what I would be doing in a few weeks, let alone a few months, until someone explained the secret to me: they book ahead not only to beat everyone else to the best deal, but to have something to look forward to. Planning a summer holiday provides a glimpse of what lies ahead, to help get through the gray repetition of winter, and planning to relax takes the edge off the inevitable stress of everyday life. 

And they were right. Last year, for the first time, I booked our summer break months in advance and I relished the fact that as 2021 began to strongly resemble 2020, and work stress built up (but not with you David!), I had my own little daydream, ready to lift my spirits whenever I needed. As I dashed to pick up the kids, and the perpetual feeling of always rushing and still being late seeped into every day, I knew that at some point in the future we would have time together with nothing to do and nowhere to be, free to count endless pebbles on a quiet beach.

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Tapisserie

Years ago, at a flea market in Paris I pickup up some old metal letters from a bakery in France that spelled out PATISSERIE. Being a baker, of course I was thrilled (although still despondent that someone else snatched up the matching BOULANGERIE letters…) and proudly displayed them on the shelf of my apartment. Since my apartment at the time was so small, shelf space…

Years ago, at a flea market in Paris I pickup up some old metal letters from a bakery in France that spelled out PATISSERIE. Being a baker, of course I was thrilled (although still despondent that someone else snatched up the matching BOULANGERIE letters…) and proudly displayed them on the shelf of my apartment. Since my apartment at the time was so small, shelf space was at a super-premium. Yet I was happy to give a lot of it up to have those letters reminding me of my métier.

When I lent my apartment to some visiting friends, I noticed the P and the T had been reversed, and it spelled TAPISSERIE. I got a kick out of it and thought that was very clever. When a new bakery in Paris called Tapisserie from the team of a noted restaurant, I figured it wasn’t a place to purchase a tapestry, but a clever – and original – place to get terrific desserts.

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Byrrh Cassis Aperitif

We spent part of our summer vacation in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The region is famous for its wines, especially the reds and rosé (which we sampled – generously…), while it was once the most popular apéritif in the world, selling over 30 million bottles annually, Byrrh is also made in the region but nowadays less well-known. In fact, if you order a Byrrh in France, more…

We spent part of our summer vacation in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The region is famous for its wines, especially the reds and rosé (which we sampled – generously…), while it was once the most popular apéritif in the world, selling over 30 million bottles annually, Byrrh is also made in the region but nowadays less well-known. In fact, if you order a Byrrh in France, more often than not, you might be brought a glass of bière, unless your ear for French is pretty good as it’s pronunciation is close to ‘beer.’ (I once had to point it out on the menu at a wine bar in Paris, as the waiter had no idea what I was talking about.) There’s no beer in Byrrh, but there’s plenty of flavor in this iconic French apéritif.

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