A Week Of Bliss In Cassi(s)

The name of this cute seaside village seems to be contentious! (K-uh-si) or (K-uh-sis) ? My pronunciation was re-corrected three times!

I overheard a French couple arguing about it and decided to look it up … it seems that in the French version the ‘s’ is silent. The pronounced ‘s’ comes from the Occitan.

What better way to settle an argument than by jousting on boats?!

Open to all between the ages of 7 and 60 with an annual competition; it certainly looks like a fun sport to try!

This week was mostly about relaxing and spending time together at the beach

… and in the water. Isn’t this peddle- boat with a slide awesome! With only ten days to go we wanted to take our time and slow things down but we still did have opportunities to discover a few things …

Cassis has its own coat-of-arms.

It is also famous for it’s “Calanques” which are seaside cloves nestled between cliffs.

We waited for “midi” (midday) to board the “Régali” to see three of Cassis’ world-renowned “Calanques”.

It was a 45-minute excursion to see three of the Calanques. Altogether, there are nine that can be visited.

The Calanques are natural inlets with steep sandstone cliffs.

The little sandy beaches at the foot of the “falaises” (cliffs) are difficult to reach by land but, as they are protected from the wind, they are popular with beach-goers.

The aquamarine colour of the water explains why Cassis falls into the Côte d’Azur region on the Mediterranean coast.

The following two photos are of the Calanque de Port-Miou taken from above:

These rocky ledges are also sought-after for sun-bathers. At one of them, it’s common to see naturalists in their birthday suits.

Overlooking the port, an ancient castle sits atop the ochre sandstone cliffs.

I imagined that the views from up there would be spectacular!

There wasn’t any information about the “château” online so we went on an adventure walk up the mountain to see what we could see…

It turned out to be a private hotel with no access to outsiders BUT we could have spent a night there … @ 680€ for the family!

Grocery shopping was a pleasure at the local “épicerie”.

Cassis wine is exquisite but expensive.

I saw paella on the menu at almost every restaurant we passed by. I decided to try my hand at making one, the night that Rachel and I were on dinner duty:

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g prawns “crevettes”
  • 300g white fish. I found cod “morue”.
  • 200g squid/octopus “poulpes”
  • 500g fresh mussels “moules” (I couldn’t find fresh ones so I bought “Moules Catalan” in a tomato sauce which we strained off but didn’t rinse).
  • 200g chorizo
  • 2Tbs olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup white rice (you can use paella rice or risotto rice too)
  • 1t turmeric
  • The juice of 1 lemon

The first thing we did was to shell and de-vein the prawns.

We cut the cod into bite-sized chunks BUT we did not know it was necessary to rinse it first … it made the dish far too salty and was a lesson learned!! After all the seafood was prepped, we set it aside to include right at the end.

METHOD

  • Fry the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil until glassy and soft.
  • Add the sliced chorizo and stir together.
  • Add the rice, turmeric, bay leaves and chicken stock.
  • Cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes until the rice is soft and the water has been absorbed. (It may be necessary to add some water to the dish during this process).
  • Finally, add the fish, prawns, mussels and octopus. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the prawns are pink and the fish is firm and opaque.

Add a squeeze of lemon and serve immediately.

Sundowners at the port is a favourite pastime of Cassis’ inhabitants and tourists alike. It seemed like the perfect ending to a perfectly sublime “semaine” (week).

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