Our tipsters love a pre-season jaunt across the Channel – it’s the perfect time to visit Mediterranean villages and idyllic Atlantic resorts, or to go walking in the French Alps
Cassis, around an hour’s drive from Marseille, is a tiny port town famous for its salty rosé (not to be confused with blackcurrant liqueur crème de cassis, from Burgundy) and herb-scented whites. We had the delight of a vineyard tour at Clos Saint Magdeleine, where the family greeted us like long-lost friends and took us on a journey through the vines, allowing us to sample their beautiful pale rosés made with grenache and cinsault grapes. The town has a great little beach under a towering cliff, Cap Canaille, one of France’s highest. Taking a boat or hiking three or four kilometres you can visit the many calanques (steep-sided limestone inlets) along the coast, which offer deserted bays for swimming. In May, just before the high season begins, accommodation should be that little bit easier to find.