Port-Miou calanque in Cassis
|Intercommunality||Marseille Provence Métropole|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Danièle Milon Vivanti|
|• Land1||26.86 km2 (10.37 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||290/km2 (750/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||13022 / 13260|
|Elevation||0–416 m (0–1,365 ft)|
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
It is a popular tourist destination, famous for its cliffs (falaises) and the sheltered inlets called calanques. The wines of Cassis are white and rosé, and not to be confused with crème de cassis, a specialty of Burgundy which takes its name from blackcurrants (cassis), not the commune.
The town is situated on the Mediterranean coast, about 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) east of Marseille. Cap Canaille 394 metres (1,293 feet), between Cassis and La Ciotat ("the civitas") is one of the highest maritime bluffs in Europe, a sailor's landmark for millennia.
The site where Cassis now sits was first occupied between 500 and 600 BC by the Ligures, who constructed a fortified habitation at the top of the Baou Redon. These people lived by fishing, hunting, and by farming.
The link with Massilia (Marseille), a city founded by the Phoceans,(Greek: Φώκαια), means that the current site of Cassis could have been inhabited by the Greeks, though no proof has yet been found.
During the Roman times, Cassis was part of the maritime route made by the Emperor Antoninus Pius. At this time, the port advanced right up to Baragnon. It was a small village, established mainly around the Arena and Corton beaches. The principal livelihood was fishing and maritime trade with North Africa and the Middle East. Several archaeological discoveries attest to this.
From the fifth to the tenth century, invasions by the barbarians[weasel words] led the population to seek refuge in the castrum, a fortified city that, in 1223, became the property of the Seigneurie des Les Baux-de-Provence.
In the eighteenth century, Cassis started to develop outside the ramparts of the fortified city and around the port. After the Bourbon Restoration, new industries developed here, including the drying of cod, the manufacture of olive oil and clothing, coral work, wine-making and the exploitation of local stone (cement, limestone). Indeed, the Stone of Cassis, which was quarried here since antiquity made the town famous. The masonry for the quays of the large Mediterranean ports (Alexandria, Algiers, Piraeus, Marseille, Port Said) originated from Cassis, as well as the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Today, the stone is used for more domestic purposes: pile (the Provençal word for a sink),[clarification needed] swimming pool etc.[weasel words]
In the twentieth century, as these industries began to disappear, the workforce turned to tourism and wine making. Cassis was one of the first three vineyards to profit from the appellation d'origine contrôlée (label of controlled origin) introduced in 1936.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Cassis is twinned with:
- "Cu a vist París, e non Cassís, a ren vist!", "Who has seen Paris and not Cassis, has seen nothing!"
- "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
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- (English) French Riviera Cassis, Provence information website
- (English) Tourism Office of Cassis
- (French) Tourism Office of Cassis
- (English) Town Website
- (French) Town website
- (English) Bird migration at Cassis
- Insider's Guide to the town of Cassis