Some hotels put you in your place. And other luxury five-star hotels in the shade. Most guests staying at Les Roches Blanches on the French Riviera arrive by helicopter, private yacht, chauffeured limousines with dark shiny windows, new Alfa Romeo or brand new Porsche. You can’t help but feel embarrassed and a little low rent turns up in a pair of old flip flops. And a bit glitzy if they’re not encrusted with diamonds. This is why low season is the best time to visit. The sneakers and the one-upmanship are easier to play, whether you’re a paying guest or just a visitor taking the iconic Mediterranean 440 Euro Sisley Spa and lunch offer.
The White Cliff Hotel or Hotel Les Roches Blanches in Cassis (to distinguish it from all the high-end B&Bs in Dover) is one of the finest hotels in the world. And since its recent renovation and its luxurious extensions, it could be the most beautiful. Number Nine Avenue Des Calanques overlooking the port of Cassis and Cap Canaille – the highest sea cliff in Europe – is one of the most chic hotel addresses in the world.
The former 1877 Art Deco mansion with its corbelled balconies, black granite floors, velvet, walnut and rosewood furniture, peacock-themed lobby and original snail-shaped swimming pool epitomize well-being. to be from the Riviera. It’s the perfect place to sit with a pastis or a flute of the best champagne and take in the view of Cassis Marina and admire the different glows during the day from Cap Canaille – the highest cliff in Europe . And mingle with pittosporum tobira and pigfaces (sour figs) to watch the beautiful people play.
Classic, signature duplex, luxury sea or junior suite terrace, just looking at the pictures of the rooms, it looks like you should be charged. There is nowhere like the Roches Blanches. It offers ‘High Definition Happiness’.
Unsurprisingly, Roches Blanches is another one of those chic “Grand Dame” hotels where Sir Winston Churchill stayed. A 3,000 euro a night suite is named after him – for living a luxurious lifestyle, you can’t go wrong following the check-in locations in Churchill. He damaged his easel.
Food and drink
If you are one of those people who like to order your sea bass or sea bream 24 hours in advance to be sure it is properly cooked in salt and of those gourmet globetrotters who like your John Dory (St Pierre in French, if you prefer) served with a fennel compote then they will oblige. If you’re the type to choose your sybaritic accommodation largely on the reputation of executive and pastry chefs, Alexandre Ager and Valentin Fabry won’t disappoint.
They oversee three elegant interiors and fine outdoor restaurants in a natural park. The Wolf Bar, Rocco and Les Belles Canailles, offer everything from dragon rolls, oscietre caviar and its condiments and sweet sweets served by charming staff in squeaky-free white shoes.
The Kir Royale drink comes from Burgundy and not Cassis (the word being also French for blackcurrant). The best local wines are made by another famous footballer and former manager of Fulham FC. Not Scott Parker or Roy Hodgson but Jean Tigana who managed the Cottagers between 2000-2003. The AOC Cassis 1936, one of the first in the country, has twelve vineyards but its Domaine is the only one to offer tours and tastings. They are led by his daughter.
If you are one of those beauty salon regulars, Roches Blanches is at the top of the list of beauty spots. The Spa Sisley offers all the usual personalized massages with a “tailor-made and targeted gourmet sensoriality” for all skin types and silhouettes. It does not spare the essence of eucalyptus or lavender. The hotel also has a fitness room if ellipticals, treadmills, and weight benches are your thing. There is a large area of relaxing rooms at the hotel and along its famous coastline.
Once you’ve enjoyed the two swimming pools, had enough of your adjoining hammam, had enough of pétanque by the Mediterranean and tired of all the majestic eroding landscape, you can rent a stand-up paddle, a fly board or a diving suit. Or visit the French fjords.
From your boat you will see the Calanque de Sormiu with its beach (a two hour walk from Cassis), the Calanque de Morgiou, the one kilometer long Port Miou (with its 1649 plague chapel), Sugiton and the Cosquer cave named after the diver who discovered its 2,700-year-old cave paintings.
The Route Des Cretans is one of the most scenic coastal routes in the Mediterranean. The D141, 15 km long, overcomes the Falaises Soubeyranes, among the highest maritime cliffs in Europe, between Cap Canaille and Bec de l’Aigle. It is a breathtaking and breathtaking road. Many beloved Panamas have been lost to the local Mistral. Cornices are generally not suitable for headgear.
Once you’ve had a coffee and cruised by and watched the fishermen prepare and sell their catch of the day on the Quaix Des Baux (daily conger filleting and wraisse scaling master classes are free), you can take another to stroll. You’ll be hard pressed to find statues of notable Cassis resident, glamor model, former Playboy Playmate of the Month and Baywatch star Pamela Anderson or former French footballer and FIFA administrator Michel Platini, but there is a statue of a fisherman of anchovies.
Once you’ve done the 17th-century communal oven, a church or two, the three beaches, doused your pulse points with Eau de Cassis (since 1851), gasped at the price of furniture and possessions, and surveyed the most of the Provençal markets under the plane trees of the Place Baragnon with its straw hats, its tapinades, its fougasses, its purple artichokes, its cheeses from the Côte d’Azur and its resident artisanal nougatier, the chic momentum of the famous Roches Blanches invite you to come back.
Address: 9 Avenue des Calanques, 13260 Cassis, France
Call: +33 4 42 01 09 30