On a recent trip across southern France I at last give into temptation and stopped off at Cassis, south-east of Marseille, so that I could take a boat trip along the calanques.
The coast in this part of France consists of high craggy cliffs that plunge into the turquoise sea below, with occsional inlets where boats can enter to be surrounded by this dramatic landscape – these inlets are known as the Marseille calanques.
Some of the calanques even have small beaches at the head of the inlet, which makes a perfect beach setting and backdrop.
There are two ways to admire these calanques – by footpath along the coast, or by boat-trip departing from Cassis. Both are very worthwhile, since this is some of the most beautiful coastline to be found in France.
Although the schedule advertises that the boat visits up to eight of the calanques (pay more, see more) some are much more impressive than others – there are perhaps four or five that are spectacular.
Pay attention, it is the view out to see from inside the calanques that is the most impressive – don’t be distracted into staring too much in an inland direction and miss out on a great part of the attraction!
Boats don’t need to be booked in advance (indeed, can’t be booked in advance) just turn up and pay and get on the boat. The trips take an hour or so. See more details of boat trips prices and destinations at Marseille Calanques. Don’t forget your camera!
If you have a short while to wait take a walk around the harbour at Cassis – small but very pretty. To relax after the trip take a look at the beach – Cassis beach is right next to the harbour and also in a very scenic ‘cliff-backed’ setting.