Tuesday seemed like it would be the best weather of the week for a boat ride, so we chose that day to go to lunch in Cassis at Le Bonaparte and visit the Calanques. We were excited to share one of our (so far) favorite restaurants with Mercer and Sarena, and to finally see the Calanques from the water!
We had 12:00 reservations for lunch, so wanted to get to Cassis around 10:30 or 11:00 to have time to park, walk around a little bit, get our boat tickets, and then have a leisurely lunch before a 2:30 boat ride. As it turned out, it was, as usual, a good idea to leave extra time, as there was still a detour getting into Cassis, and then the parking lot we wanted to use was full, so we had to find an alternate. There is plenty of parking scattered around in lots and on-street, so we quickly found an on-street spot just a little further out of the village.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect! We walked in the village a bit, walked over to the water, got our tickets, and had plenty of time to do so all in a leisurely fashion. We even had time to sit in an outdoor café and have a coffee before lunch!
We all had delicious lunches at the restaurant! Interestingly, it was not crowded this time – in fact, for most of the meal, we were the only customers! I wonder how much the construction on the street right outside the door accounts for that? Or maybe it was just a slow day. No matter, we had lots of personal service!
Once again, the owner, Jean-Marie, brought out a plate of four fish, showing us what was fresh and available today. He made quite a fuss over the sole – I guess it’s something special that he can’t always get.
Sarena and I split the fish soup as a starter (I’m getting wise in my old age!) – delicious again! I just love that stuff! Then she and Mercer both had Moules Marinières (mussels), Roy had duck breast, and I had the fillet of sole. I definitely had the winning dish again!! It was succulent and fabulous, perfectly poached and drizzled with some really fine olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. YUM!! Roy, not particularly a fish-eater, was envious!
We had time to wander a little after lunch and let things digest and settle before the boat ride to the Calanques. The Calanques are unique geological formations along the Mediterranean coast. They were originally created by rivers coursing through a faultline in a rocky mountain chain, and resemble the Scandanavian fjords. For those of you who are interested, here’s a link to more extensive information: http://www.marseille-provence.info/marseille-marseilles/what-to-see-tourist-attractions/237-the-calanques.html
What beautiful weather we had, and what a stunning ride and scenery! The wind had picked up a bit, but the captain of the boat did an excellent job of giving us a good ride, and the distances were short in between pulling into the shelter of the massive cliffs. We saw 8 different Calanques, and each had its own character and interest. Some had interesting vegetation, some had beaches, some had people climbing on the cliffs(!), some had arches or holes in the rock formations, and some were harbors. It was really interesting, and so beautiful.
After the ride we regained our land legs and then walked back to the car. Much more difficult than walking down to the village – all uphill! But we made it! And perhaps walked off a bit of our sumptuous lunch in the process! Anyway, it was a fabulous day, and so much fun to share with Merc and Sarena!!
Here are some photos of Cassis and the Calanques: