As the second largest city in France and without a shortage of small, cramped, yet charming alleyways, Marseille is a busy place to get around. Sometimes, it seems that from every direction, a car, scooter, bike, even a Lime (the rentable electric scooter in France) is out to get you. Nonetheless, the sheer beauty of the Vieux Port and all of its restaurants will make you fall in love.
Most of all, the calanques had me head over heels screaming “Oh my God!!! This is too beautiful!!! This is just too damn beautiful!!!” As soon as I arrived in Marseille, my roommate Brennan, a teacher from Alabama came back to the hostel losing her breath and raving about the calanques. She told me to take the B1 bus all the way to the last stop in Luminy. This would take me right to the Calanques National Park. Intrigued, I decided to make it an all day adventure. Most unfortunately, it rained on Tuesday, but with all the sun and no clouds yesterday, I was ready to go.
And so I wondered, what the hell are calanques!? I am quoting Wikipedia here when I tell you that a calanque is a steep inlet along the Mediterranean coast formed by limestone, dolomite, or other carbonate strata. Erosion or the collapse of a cave alongside a rise in sea level causes this gorgeous miracle of nature. In other words, it’s BEAUTIFUL and you MUST see it before you die. I must see it once more and I don’t think I’ll ever cross it off my bucket list.
Massif de Calanques, which was recently named the Calanques National Park in 2012, is 12 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. There are various calanques you can go to so there really are unlimited possibilities for adventure here. I decided to make my way to the Calanque de Sugiton. The way there is no joke and my Nikes were not necessarily suited for the climb there. You go up and then down and then down some more.
Once you get off the B1 bus in Luminy, you are immediately stricken by how amazing the park is. It’s one thing to see it on a picture and another to live it. The wild plants will amuse you and as you get closer and closer to the Belvedere de Sugiton, the Mediterranean Sea, the mountains, and the height you’re at will make you feel beyond sublime and just perhaps, you might shit your pants.
The final destination of the visit entails the actual stone beach you get to experience without crowds of people in your face. I suppose that most people aren’t up to the challenge of the trail down and most people are probably not too excited about the climb back up. Let me tell you all, it’s SO WORTH IT. The water is the clearest baby blue on Earth.
In retrospect, I wish I would have gotten some water shoes because the rocks do not mess around. My feet were hurting badly every time I went in and out of the water. Also, bring goggles with you and you’ll be able to see all of the little blue fish swimming below you. The water itself was cold… I was trying to submerge myself in it slowly, but I stepped on a slippery rock and fell straight into the sea. The water is salty so you need at least 1.5 L of water. I hung out there all day and really did not want to leave. On the climb back up, I stepped on a loose rock and fell. I have a tiny bruise on my knee, but it’s not a big deal. Once again, wear suitable footwear!!!
If I could, I would stay in Marseille forever and get to come to the calanques anytime. Maybe not anytime because they are closed July through September due to fire hazards, but any other time, I would be there taking in all of their beauty.