A little wine and a little Cassis

This Bandol winery was just one of three vineyards we toured while in the South of France.

Wine is one of my favorite little things in life. The taste, the smell and the way each bottle and variety has something different to offer amazes me. My husband and I love to look in wine shops for those special finds and enjoy them while celebrating a birthday or milestone.

Up until our trip to Marseille, however, we had never ventured on a wine tour (because in South Carolina the only “wineries” are sweet muscadine wine) so when we knew we were going to France, we tried to find a tour to enjoy.

The highest cliff in Southern France overlooking Cassis.

After searching high and low, we can across Provence Wine Tours.

We schedule the full day tour leaving from Marseille that would take us to two wineries in the morning, lunch in Cassis, a stop at the highest cliff in Southern France and a final winery tour in the afternoon.

We went on the wine tour on a Tuesday after spending three days walking around Marseille and one day exploring Aix en Provence. Our feet were tired and we were very excited to be chauffeured around and to taste some wine.

Our tour guide, Gaëtane, met us (and six other very nice people) at the Marseille City Hall (on the port) and took us to a very nice, comfortable (air conditioned) van and we got on our way.

The route to our first winery, Chateau de Pibarnon, was up a winding road. Having not ever seen a winery in person, I was awed at the beauty of the home and the land. The home looked like something out of a painting.

Chateau de Pibarnon

I could totally imagine myself living there, working on the land and making the wine.

I know in reality wine making is a lot of work and costs quite a bit to do, but it seems like the perfect existence.

Most of the wines that we tried at each of the three wineries were French Rose wines.

The South of France is known for its Rose wine and almost every restaurant has it.

The quality (and price) of the Rose wine in the South of France is beyond ANYTHING you can find in the United States. Even the 4 Euro bottle at the Monoprix department store is more amazing than anything you could find here.

After our first two wineries, Gaëtane, took us for lunch in Cassis. 

Cassis is a beautiful little town found in a sort of cove on the Mediterranean.

The beach at Cassis was absolutely amazing and the water was crystal clear.

Cassis

Knowing that we would be in Cassis, my husband tried to find a little hideaway restaurant for us to enjoy. He found Le Bonaparte.

The tiny restaurant on a side street was the perfect way to spend the lunch hour in Cassis. We chose the three course prix fixe menu that included a salade aux lardon or moules; steak au poivre or seabass and a dessert of goat cheese or sorbet. Each bite was amazing and the Rose wine was perfect.

I tried to speak my best French at the restaurant, but the owner could tell we were Americans. He showed us an article the New York Times had published about the restaurant. I told him that this is the perfect place and we were so happy to be there. He then gave us free shots of Creme de Cassis. It was wonderful to be drinking Creme de Cassis in Cassis.

After our amazing lunch, we went to our last winery and then sort of fell asleep in the van. With the heat, the wine and the lunch, we were tuckered out.

It was an absolutely amazing day and the only thing I would have done differently was to spend even more time in Cassis. It is a beautiful little town that begs to be explored. We will just have to go back.

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