The best hikes in France: Cassis and Les Calanques
January 1, 1970
by Ana Smiles
A month ago two friends of mine invited me for a trip to the south of France to celebrate my PhD degree.
We visited about two places every day starting from Orange to Perpignan. I had an existential crisis when trying to pick just one place to write about. After careful consideration and needing meditation to get my mind straight, I decided to write about the one place that made me feel the most.
France is a wealthy country. There is history and incredibly beautiful landscapes everywhere you go. I am originally from Spain and, as a history lover, it was very powerful for me to visit essential places part of our countries shared history. The place I am about to introduce you to is a fairytale village and its fairytale natural surroundings. The perfect place for hiking lovers.
Beauty with no end
One of the most beautiful places I visited on my trip to France was Cassis and Les Calanques.
Cassis is a little fishing village 30 minutes from Marseille. A beautiful place to relax, enjoy the ocean and have a lovely day exploring the gorgeous coves and hidden natural areas where to get lost.
The harbour looks like taken out of a film. You can take a small and idyllic walk while looking the incredible landscapes around. There are quite some places to eat there. Unfortunately, you will not find that many options other than seafood, burgers and typical french food. So if you are vegan or gluten-free get prepared to buy something at the supermarket. There’s place to sit at the beach, a great excuse and place for a picnic. However, the harbour it’s a great place to have a drink by the sea.
I normally enjoy nature. I grew up near to the ocean, and I don’t think I’ve ever lived further than 30 minutes from the beach.
This place made me feel at home.
It was difficult for us to find kind people willing to help us out when we got lost. Luckily, we found a lot of kindness over there.
The food was outstanding. My companions ate seafood. Me? The only vegetarian, gluten-free option they had, salad.
It is important to know that we come from Galicia, a province in Spain where seafood is the star dish, so we are quite demanding when eating it anywhere else. However, my personal food and wine experts approved it, awarding them with four forks.
Before lunch, we took a little boat trip to the hidden beaches enjoying the sun of the Provence. I remember thinking “What a romantic place”. While I was admiring the sailing boats enjoying that morning in the middle of nothing, our boat took a turn to go to a hidden beach that only can be accessed by the sea.
A place where probably people go to get some privacy. It could be seen just one little yacht near to the cove. They had latino music on, specifically Bachata and they were dancing (As a musician, I can hear and recognise music or sounds from very far, it is one of my superpowers). Our boat stopped for a couple of minutes for us to take pictures… but I could not stop staring at that young couple dancing in the middle of a natural paradise, all for them.
I felt like I was in the cinema watching a Jennifer Aniston film in 4D.
If I were to recommend any place to go in the south of France, I would say this is a MUST.
I think little emotional experiences make you feel attached to some places, I visited beautiful monuments in other cities, but none of them made me feel that unique feeling of being in the paradise.
Les calanques: hiking routes.
During the summer most of the calanques stay closed because of the risk of fire. However, this three are not just beautiful but remain open the whole year. All of them have their unique beauty, so if you have the opportunity, visit them all. The calanques and cassis is not a place to stay just one day. It is highly recommended to stay for a couple of days and enjoy the beauty of every beach.
It is needed a hike to get there if you don’t want to pay to access by car. It is a way to protect the natural environment of the area.
After a 6 km walk through a tough but nice path, you will get to the beach of Morgiou. It used to be a famous place to fish tuna. Some old fisherman houses are still there as well as an old harbour. It is a reminder of what this place used to be. However, you will find the creek a peaceful place to clear your mind and enjoy some alone time.
This Calanque is well-known for the Cosque Cave, it just can be accessed by diving since its entrance is 37 m underwater.
The most famous Calanque of all. There is no access by car, and you will need to walk for an hour from the last bus stop. However, you will get some of the best views of the calanques during the hike. If you decide to go there, we strongly recommend you to fill your backpack with food and water because you will be far from civilisation.
Surrounded by gorgeous rocky platforms and most easily accessed by boat, this calanque is one of the biggest. You can get there through a 45 minutes hiking route from Cassis. Vehicles are not allowed during the summer. It is usually the creek that gets more visitors.
If you need a break from life or if you want to breath fresh air and enjoy to be surrounded by nature. Visiting the turquoise water of this area can offer you the solution to all your problems. Peace, tranquillity and beautiful natural surroundings all for you.
The best place if you are looking for peace and relax.