It may be hard to imagine feeling the necessity to skip town when the capital has so much to offer. But to really understand France - its people, culture, values and storied past - you'll need to reach beyond the well-heeled streets of Paris. Some of these spots make ideal day trips from the city while others deserve your undivided attention. All are picture- perfect so keep your cameras handy.
The Calanques de Cassis are also of Marseille, and stretch the swath of scenic coastline between the two cities. You can hike around and enjoy the French national park on foot, or tour by sea. This photo was taken on a 3-hour boat tour that departed from Cassis. There are many boat tours available for different durations, and there is a hiking entry at the far end of Cassis that is a good starting point to explore à pied. I didn't actually get to do a hike, but look forward to it on a future trip. From the water, we could see many people picnicking, swimming, and wandering. Even rock climbing! All with big smiles gracing their sun-soaked faces. A lovely and truly special place, the Calanques.
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