The word calanques is just a brilliant example of French onomatopoeia, don’t you think? For me, it evokes the mental image (or sounds, rather) of big rocks falling into the ocean. Marseille is surrounded by a lot of these rock formations, making them a perfect spot to escape the noisy streets of the big city. It is hard to believe that this kind of landscape exists just a few kilometers away, and as I was soaking in the fresh air from an ocean breeze it was hard to imagine I woke up the same day in the midst of a buzzing urban district. The return into the “real world” later seemed like an abrupt awakening from a peaceful dream that should have lasted just a little bit longer.
But let’s rewind: we were greeted with sunny weather when we took the bus towards our destination. The Calanque du Sugiton is one of the most accessible with public transport as it the path begins right next to the university. The walk is about 1h long, about halfway the broader path will become a small footpath which is a lot steeper and rockier, and we did need the help of two elderly, but rather fit ladies with hiking poles to point us to the right direction. They probably come here every week.
The view during the descent to the calanque is already beautiful, but the calanque itself was just utterly breathtaking, a true blue lagoon with the most stunning shades of blue reflecting the sunlight. We sat on the rocks and had a picknick. It was too cold to go for a swim, but we couldn’t resist dangling our feet into the ice cold water.
Later, we made our way to a viewpoint called Belvédère, where we could see the calanques all lined up all the way to Cassis.
I feel the urge to mention a few other things about the calanques. They are a precious natural heritage and should remain protected. As the area is quite dry, there is a high risk of fires during the summer, which is why it is not always possible to visit the calanques. The rocks are also vulnerable to erosion, bikers and hikers who stray from the marked path have contributed to the destruction of this beautiful site. And of course people who do not take their trash home…
Don’t take anything that belongs to the calanques and don’t leave anything there. It is as easy as that.
photos were taken by Max and me