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15390676.jpgThe soaring limestone cliffs known in the south of France as Les Calanques are a dramatic coastal feature, which can be explored by boat trips for a couple of hours or by foot . People who decide to walk have the advantage of time to stop and enjoy the different flora ( more than 900 species cling to the sun-backed rock) and a multitude of seabirds that make their home here. From the Calanque de Port -Miou just outside Cassis harbour to the Calanque de Callelongue at Les Goudes south of Marseille. The 12.5 miles long coastline is criss-crossed with different walking trails. The walk from Cassis takes about 3 hours for the round trip.

From Cassis you can park at the very end of the road. Walk along the length of the Calanques of Port Miou-Miou , through the old quarry. Port Miou-Miou‘s entire length is taken up with yacht berths. You can climb up the terraces over quite a long ridge to reach the calanque de Port-Pin named after the Pins d’Alep that once covered the domaine de La Fontasse. If you continue up and climb the plateau de Cadeiron , there are amazing views stretching from the magnificent cliffs of the montagne de la Canaille rearing up above Cassis wether on foot or by boat. the grounds start to fall away until you reach a view point over the Calanque d’En – Vau, one of the most spectacular of all the Calanques. Beneath the dramatic chalky  white cliffs and needle like rocks , there is a small sandy beach, with rocky steps leading down. the cliffs continue down into the limpid depths, sheltering a vast marine life. From here you can always continue to les Goudes ( be prepared for a full day’s walk) or just turn back along En – Vau out towards the pinnacle known as Le doigt de dieux ( God’s finger), and then around the headland back to Port-au-Pin and Cassis. In the summer month ( June-September) it is very advised not to stray off because of the risk of fires in the region.

Anne Suire


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Les Calanques d’En Vau

Top Picture is God’s finger near Cassis.