The Massif des Calanques from Marseille to Cassis are a 20 km long series of cliffs with narrow inlets and a rugged coast. In the travel world, they are a not-to-miss when visiting the south of France. These looming limestone cliffs are often called Mediterranean fjords, but they were not created by glaciers but rather are the result of erosion. The limestone from here was used to create the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Visiting them seemed to be a challenge. I couldn’t find enough English language guides as to how best to get there. There was a lot of conflicting data online. Often in summer there is risk of fire so access is restricted except by boat. At other times, high winds even prevent sea vessels from approaching.
So based on my research, I had decided that I wanted an intimate experience of the Calanques. That we were going to find the shortest and easiest way to hike them and terminate the hike by the beach for a refreshing dip. We would do this, perhaps, by taking a bus to Luminy University then hike from there with the possibility to reach the first calanque (and beach) within an hour and a half. But my sisters weren’t having it. Walk? Hike? Why can’t we just take a boat there?
But my plan was not to be. We ended up booking a 3 hour tour of 12 calanques with Croisières Marseille Calanques out of Marseille’s Vieux Port as featured in the New York Times. So instead of being up close with nature I was on a boat listening to a loudspeaker with French only commentary.
Yes, the views were amazing but that is not the point.
Anyway, because of “family obligations” we changed our calanque day from Thursday to Friday only to have them decide that they wanted to take us out on Friday now. Well, that wasn’t happening since we had already bought our tickets so they decided no problem, we will just join. Except that their neighbour came by and suggested that we go to La Ciotat and experience the Calanques from there because it was simply gorgeous. Now that may be the case, but you see we already had our tickets at 24,50€ a piece (CityPass discount). So my uncle decides that we will just ask Croisières Marseille Calanques to stop and drop us off at La Ciotat. So incredulous, and I’m left to wonder whether the language barrier between us was greater than I thought for he speaks no English and I speak little French.
Luckily, the day of our travels, I am able to intercept him and direct him to the company with which we bought our tickets. The fact that we almost missed the tour because the family was late will not be harped upon. We got on that boat, and that’s all there is to it.
|Hikers – could have been us|
|Gorgeous blue green waters|
|Camel formation rocks|
|Boat entering crevice|
|Kayakers – could have been us|