Southern France Travel Guide

Insider's Guide to the South of France: Cassis

Calanque.jpgBy Rebecca Brown

Tell friends that you're vacationing in the south of France and many of them will assume you're going to Cannes, Nice, St. Tropez, or Monaco. Watch the wistful, envious looks that cross their faces as they imagine you resting on the beach, soaking up the sun, drinking wine, and hobnobbing on yachts with celebrities.

And those are all perfectly worthy vacation activities. But if you're looking to add some activity to your beach and yacht time but still want the beauty and slow, sexy pace of the south of France, consider Cassis, a small fishing village near Marseilles, where you can indulge in these five can't-miss experiences.

Bouillabaisse.jpg1.Experience the Calanques.

Cassis is known for its small coves lined with steep, dramatic walls of white limestone. You can experience them in a number of ways—by boat, on foot, by kayak, or on a climb. We recommend starting with a boat trip to get oriented. Walk down to the harbor and you'll find a number of tours that will take you to them, and most of them offer roughly the same deals: see three calanques (45 minutes, 15€), five (65 minutes, 18€), or eight (90 minutes, 21€).

Once you have the lay of the land, try hiking the calanques for a different perspective. It's a four to six-hour trip if you do Port-Miou, Port-Pin, and En-Vau, the farthest and most famous of the calanques. Or you can take a short hike to the first calanque, Port-Miou, and enjoy a picnic then a jump from the calanque into the water.

Walk-in-the-Harbor.jpgInsider tip: the hiking trails are usually closed in June and July due to risk of fire, so plan accordingly.

2. Eat Bouillabaisse and Sample Cassis's Famed White Wines.

If you've made it all the way to Cassis, it would be a shame to leave without trying bouillabaisse, the dish it's known for. The preparation and serving of bouillabaisse is very specific and is even outlined in something called The Marseilles Bouillabaisse Charter. (They take it pretty seriously.) To start with, it must be served with at least four of six designated fish and the fish must be cut up in front of you.Hike-or-Drive-Cap-Canaille.jpg ecommend Chez Gilbert on Quai Baux on the harbor, which serves bouillabaisse according to the charter for 45€. Sip on a glass of AOC Cassis wine; we liked Domaine du Paternel and La Ferme Blanche.

3. Take a Walk in the Harbor

There's no better way to live la vie Française than enjoying a slow, leisurely walk, south-of-France style. Take photos of the boats and the pastel-painted buildings. Start with dessert and finish with dinner: indulge in a gelato or Grand Marnier crêpe, then take one turn off the Quai to Rue Pasteur and enjoy a pizza at La Fringalle.

Question about living elsewhere / and Austin, TX

by greenguy

Someone on here said mentioned that living in a town other than San Francisco was the equivalent of being the closeted drama-teacher in the stereotypical small town. No offense to whoever said that (I think it's not true), but does anyone know anything about Gay Life in Austin, Tx? I've heard it's a pretty cool, laid-back, liberal, gay-friendly place. I don't need anyone to tell me it aint SF, because nothing is, but I'm just wondering if anyone has expereicne with Austin. Cos to fhousing is much cheaper (but then salaries are probably lower). Also, 'Gay Guide to the USA' travel book raves about it

'Rendez-vous en France' 2014 Hosts 20000 Operator-Supplier Meetings  — Travel Agent
The ninth edition of the Rendez-vous en France travel trade show kicked off on March 31 with a soirée at the Vulcania theme park outside Clermont-Ferrand.

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Kate V
Traveling in Europe (Austria-->Greece, the Alps)?

I am going to be studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria for the month of June. I will be allowed a few "free days." The longest time I have free is 5 days, and I have the afternoon after classes end (about 5?) to start my trip.
I would love to go to Greece, but I don't know if I will have enough time to get there and enjoy my time there. How long would it take to get there? and will I have time to relax and hit the beaches?
I would also like to climb the Alps, but is it safe to be an unfamiliar climber on the Alps? I have climbing experience, but I'm not sure how much the…

You could take one of those discount flights and be there by dark. then you spend your time.

If you are in Salzburg, and you want to hike the alps, you probably don't have to hike far from your door. Salzburg is pretty much IN the alps. Really beautiful country. And not that far from Switzerland, if you want to cross the border for a weekend, that should be easy to do.

What you really need to do is set yourself up a longer program of study, like a semester or even a year, so you can REALLY get a feel for your town and the semester,…

Specific places in France?

I want to go to some hidden treasures in France that are not too touristy. Some nice museums, gardens, interesting historical places, etc. If France has the biggest of something, I want to see it (like the biggest, i don't know, tree or icecream bowl)

Be creative please!

Uzes is a town in the languedoc-roussilon (probably spelled that wrong)
it's not too touristy and a beautiful historic town, i lived there for the summer!

if you're going to be in southern france, try montpelier for the beaches and lyon (not really southern) for the food!

I am going to study in France, should I learn French?

I am going to study in France for school, for a little under a month from the end of May to mid-June. I will be spending 2 and a half weeks in a small town a little south of Toulouse. So southern France of course. I will then spend a week in Paris. I am sure many people will speak English in Paris, but should I bother learning French for the time I am in southern France? I have traveled to other major cities in Europe where everyone spoke English, so I am not sure it is worth my time or not.

If you think you might be traveling a lot to French speaking countries or if in your future job a language is necessary I would learn it. Learning a language will take months and months of study. French is a beautiful language and you would be surpised how people speak it.

However you should get a travel guide and learn some basic sentences and phrases. In Paris many speak English, but you should not count on it. Toulouse is not Paris and there will not…

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