There are some places in the south of France that are so beautiful they make for a pinch-me-is–this-real kind of experience that you will not soon forget. The Calanques of Cassis are such a place, and should be put at the top of any visit.
If you’ve ever even touched a guide to Provence, it’s more than likely you’ve come upon a description of the Calanques; azure-blue inlets bounded by sheer, white cliffs which run from Cassis to Marseille (or vice-versa depending on where you decide to do your boat-touring).
There are several jumping-off points for a day of cove-hopping, but we usually choose to depart from Cassis. A morning tour of the inlets makes a great pre-cursor to a lunch along the port – plus there’s a pretty-fine Italian gelato place in town, Amorino, and I’ve never been a gal to pass up a scoop or two.
On our last visit, we booked a 45-minute tour of three Calanques: Port Miou, Port Pin, and En Vau. Apart from a few sea-spray-in-the-face shots, all of our oohs and ahhs were dedicated to the unreal crystal waters beneath the boat. We also saw several examples of what the French do very, very well: sport. We passed sail-boaters, kayakers, stand-up paddle surfers, hikers, & climbers.
Another popular option is to park your car at the start of the first Calanque and make your visit on foot. Quite an enjoyable area to picnic, as we’ve usually managed to secure a spot among the Sunday crowds. A trek on foot (following a path along the Calanques) from Cassis to Marseille takes about six hours – decidedly for the more adventurous tourist…and probably involving a lot less gelato.
Visit to 3 Calanques in 45 mins. – €13.00
5 Calanques in 65 mins. – €15.00
8 Calanques in 2hrs. – €19.00
*Several tour operators departing hourly, same-day tickets available along the port.