Cassis seen from the cliffs of Cap Canaille
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Danièle Milon Vivanti|
|26.86 km2 (10.37 sq mi)|
|• Density||270/km2 (700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|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.|
Cassis (French pronunciation: [kasi]; Occitan: Cassís) is a commune situated east of Marseille in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, whose coastline is known in English as the French Riviera, in Southern France. In 2016, it had a population of 7,265.
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. It is east of Marseille and in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône. One of its main beach, called "Bestouan" is made cooler by a karstic source.
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 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. 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 5th to the 10th century, invasions by foreign tribes 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). Stone of Cassis, which was quarried here since antiquity made the town famous. It has been used for the quays of the large Mediterranean ports (Alexandria, Algiers, Piraeus, Marseille, and Port Said. A claim that it was used for the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York City gained wide circulation but has been proved apocryphal. Today, the stone is used more for domestic purposes such as the construction of sinks and fireplaces.
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.
Origin of the name
The oldest form is Tutelæ Charsitanæ, attested since the first century. It then drifts into Carsicis (15th century) and Castrum Cassitis (1323). These place names suggest a Car-s theme derived from the pre-Indo-European *Kar meaning stone or rock, to which has been added the suffix -ite. The French language has retained the Provençal Cassis spelling, which is identical in both the classical and Mistralian standards.
The final "s" is not pronounced in the local variant of Provençal but is pronounced in the general Provençal. This pronunciation of the final "s" is found in the motto of the city that rhymes Paris, Cassis and vist with each other (pronunciation in Provençal "mistralien": /pa.ʁis/, /ka.sis/, /vis/). In French, the two pronunciations are combined.
The Provençal motto of the commune attributed to Frédéric Mistral is "Qu a vist Paris, se noun a vist Cassis, n'a rèn vist", which means "Who has seen Paris and not Cassis, has not seen anything".
Twin towns/sister cities
Cassis is twinned with:
- Jean-Jacques Barthélemy, (1716–1795), writer and numismatist, was born in Cassis.
- Henri Crémieux, stage and film actor, died at his house in Cassis. The Allée Henri Crémieux is named in his honour.
- Jerome Hill, (1905-1972), American filmmaker and philanthropist.
- René Leriche (1879-1955), distinguished surgeon, died in Cassis. The Avenue du Professeur René Leriche is named in his honour.
- Rudy Ricciotti (born 1952), architect whose works include the Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée and the Jean Cocteau Museum, was resident in Cassis as of 2012[update].
- Jean-Pierre Teisseire (born 1940), politician and retired professor of political science at the University of Aix en Provence was the mayor of Cassis from 1995 to 2008.
- Michel Platini (born 1955), football player, manager and administrator.
- Pamela Anderson (born 1967), world famous Canadian-American actress and prominent activist for the animal rights movement.
- Adil Rami (born 1985), Moroccan-French professional footballer who plays as a central defender for French club Olympique de Marseille.
Francis Picabia and friends at an outdoor café in Cassis
- "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
- "Cu a vist París, e non Cassís, a ren vist!", "Who has seen Paris and not Cassis, has seen nothing!"
- Harrell, Annelore (9 November 2011). "Foundation of our Statue of Liberty made from stone from Cassis". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved 20 January 2016
- Auzias, Dominique and Labourdette, Jean-Paul (2011). Provence , p. 259. Petit Futé. ISBN 2746930498
- "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- Michaud, L. G.; Michaud, J. Fr., eds. (1843). "Barthélemy, Jean-Jacques". Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne. tome III (nouvelle ed.). Paris: A. T. Desplaces. pp. 179–181.
- Mirval, José (6 September 1980). "Artistes qui ont disparus!", p. 1. Sisteron-Journal. Retrieved via the Médiathèque Archived 17 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine of the City of Sisteron 20 January 2016 (in French).
- Archives de France. Commémorations nationales 2005: René Leriche. Retrieved 20 January 2016 (in French).
- Lanie Goodman (17 September 2012). "Ground Breaker", The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- Maggio, Patrice (22 January 2012). "Teisseire: Le rois du sport, du politque, e du poker". Nice-Matin (re-printed in the Bulletin of the Association Généalogique des Alpes Maritimes, 1er trimestre 2012, p. 7). Retrieved 20 January 2016 (in French).
- AFP(15 July 2018). "Michel Platini encourage les Bleus", L'Équipe. Retrieved 15 July 2018 (in French).
- (in English) Tourism Office of Cassis
- (in French) Tourism Office of Cassis
- (in English) Town Website
- (in French) Town website
- (in English) Bird migration at Cassis
- Some pictures of Cassis harbor taken from a kite hanging 130 meter above the harbor