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Parc national des Calanques

Hiking, Climbing and Swimming the Calanques
While Marseille is now home to several spectacular museums and a burgeoning dining scene, the bulk of your visit should be spent by the sea. As of last year, Les Calanques- limestone sea cliffs and Fjord-like inlets - are considered a national park. Visitors and locals alike hike to reach the water where they'll inevitably spend the day sunbathing. But for more adventurous types, the rocky coastline between Marseille and Cassis offers world-class rock climbing.

As the wife of a rock climbers, I've been traveling to Marseille ever since I've lived in France. We've met climbers from all corners of the earth who travel through France's internationally-venerated parks and forests to pursue their passion. For me, it's all about the view.

Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

The Majestic Calanques of Marseille
In 2012, France declared over 12,000 acres between Marseille and Cassis as the country’s tenth national park – the only one in France that’s composed of both land and sea. During our 3.5 hour boat journey of the calanques, we got to see a different side of Marseille. Although it would’ve been nice if we understood French so that we knew what the boat captain was saying about what we were seeing, certain things really can’t be reduced to words anyway. On our tour we encountered fishermen, sunbathers, kayakers, and hikers. I realized that we all shared a common desire – to stand in awe of the majestic Calanques of Marseille.

Bât A4, Parc Valad, Impasse Paradou, 13009 Marseille, France
+33 4 20 10 50 00