Cassis is a popular destination for visitors who are hoping to avoid the crowds in Marseille and the more famous beaches further east, or are looking to mix some sun-seeking with the town's calanques and other attractions.
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This is a guide to the beaches of Cassis, starting at the Presqu'Ile, or Peninsula, on the western edge of town and ending with a couple of wild little coves along the coast south of the town towards La Ciotat. Click on the map to enlarge the image.
Don't be fooled by the name: there's no real beach at the Plage Bleue, or "blue beach", an area also sometimes known, more accurately, as Les Roches Plates (The Flat Rocks) or Les Roches Blanches (The White Rocks).
However it does offer superb views of the bay, the town of Cassis and Cap Canaille.
The Plage Bleue is on the Peninsula, on the other side from the calanque of Port Miou. Access to the sea at this point is difficult and slightly dangerous: you need to scramble down over great slabs of rock to get anywhere near the water. But it's a good spot to escape from at least some of the hordes in the town.
On the crest of the Peninsula, a restaurant, La Presqu'Ile, serves seafood, salads and simple grilled meat dishes and is open from May to September.
An area informally known as Plage Pamplemousse, or Grapefruit Beach, is favoured by (male) gay visitors and nudists (the nickname is inspired by the nearby Villa Pamplemousse, not by any anatomical features you might see there).
PLAGE DE BESTOUAN
A little further into town - though still quite a little distance from the main action on the harbour - is the Plage de Bestouan, a medium-sized sand and shingle beach, also with superb views.
It's the only beach in Cassis with the Blue Flag seal of approval for the quality of its water and environment.
PLAGE DE LA GRANDE MER
The Plage de la Grande Mer is right in Cassis town centre just south of the harbour and adjacent to a large pay-for car-park.
This beach is particularly well set-up for families but, because it is so convenient, it can get extremely busy in the summer (this photograph was taken in the early spring).
For small children there's also a carousel with a Jules Verne theme and some unusual gondolas (a hot air balloon, a nautilus, a spaceship and so on).
PLAGE DE CORTON
Further along the coast to the south of Cassis is a very small beach (pictured top left) which lays claim to two names, the Plage de Corton or (less often) the Plage Sainte Magdeleine.
It's a 15 minute walk from Cassis harbour, off the avenue de Revestel just before you arrive at La Villa Madie, a gastronomic restaurant with one Michelin star.
PLAGE DE L'ARENE
An attractive five minute walk further along the road from the Plage de Corton takes you past villas, vineyards and olive groves.
Turn right down a side-street by the end of the dual carriageway and go through a very small car-park with only about a dozen places and down a flight of steep steps to the Plage de l'Arène.
You will find a small, peaceful but very rocky beach fringed by pine trees. The Plage de l'Arène, like the Plage de Corton, is unsupervised and has no facilities.