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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Classic Salade Nicoise

Authenticity is a broad subject that probably many people agree that we’ll never agree on, since food changes and evolves, as time goes by, and as people cross borders, using what they can get where they live. But I sometimes have an amusing image in my head that the people who are scouring the internet, pointing out inauthentic recipes, are sitting in cafes, eating chicken…

Authenticity is a broad subject that probably many people agree that we’ll never agree on, since food changes and evolves, as time goes by, and as people cross borders, using what they can get where they live. But I sometimes have an amusing image in my head that the people who are scouring the internet, pointing out inauthentic recipes, are sitting in cafes, eating chicken Caesar Salads. (The true Caesar Salad doesn’t have chicken on it. Or tomatoes, shrimp, corn, or tortilla chips, which I’ve seen.)

I didn’t know a lot about Salade Niçoise, the true version, until I came to France. But even so, your chances of finding a vrai (true) Salade Niçoise are almost nil. I’ve seen versions that have everything from rice to Parmesan on them, and some even have cooked green beans and potatoes.

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