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Coastal uplands and mountains east of Marseille

MULTI DAY TRIPS INCLUDING HALF-DAY HIKES

 

Calanques of Sormiou, Morgiou
 and
 Sugiton seen from above

As it takes you to several outstanding viewpoints of the three calanques from the heights overlooking the sea, this hike allows you to explore the amazing beauty of the Calanques  without facing any long ascent. Only half an hour outside Marseille, you first discover Sormiou, with its fishermen cottages, small harbour, beach, and the varying blues of the sea. 30 minutes later, you get your first views of Calanque of Morgiou, after taking a balcony path that reaches the edge of the plateau. Then, your hiking guide leads you on a broad and leveled trail to the most extraordinary viewpoint, located just above Morgiou, offering views of Calanque de Sugiton, as well.

Walking time
 : 3.5 hours 
Rating : moderate (stony ground)

The Massif de la Sainte-Baume

The relict forest, holy cave
and panoramic crest (short route)

A high and long cliff on the north-facing slope of the Sainte-Baume mountains has for millennia brought about a microclimate that fostered a relict forest, very old and unique in Provence. That is why this exceptional forest has always been a sacred wood and became a major pilgrimage spot in France in the 11th century. That is also why it is home to a great biodiversity and to sixty-seven remarkable trees. After seing some of these majestic trees and the grotto of Mary Magdalene, a short but steep climb will lead you to the crest and the Saint Pilon peak from where the view is breathtaking. Up there, you will discover the contrast between the dark and cool forest that you would have walked through and the dry high-value flora of the ridges, living under the sun and the winds.

Walking time : 3 hours 
Rating : moderate (steep descent and ascent)

Port d’Alon, a corner of paradise

In winter, nothing beats a walk on this coastal pathway between Marseille and Toulon. Leaving the pretty little port of La Madrague, you enjoy scenic views over the beautiful bay of La Ciotat. Once you have passed the first two points, the path offers you the opportunity to look at the sea as far as the eye can see. From February onwards, a growing number of plants blossom, bringing a very colorful touch to the hike, in this season. Halfway along the route, you reach the highlight of the hike, the charming cove of Port d’Alon, its pebbly little beach and its cabanons. The feeling of having been worlds away !     

Walking time : 4 hours 
Rating : moderate (stoney sections)

Coastal uplands and mountains east of Marseille

MULTI DAY TRIPS INCLUDING DAY HIKES

 

Garlaban 

“This is not a mountain, but it is not a hill any more : it is Garlaban”. This quote by Marcel Pagnol, Marseille’s famous novelist and filmmaker is a good summary of Garlaban. This rocky crown, 712 meters high (2,336 feet), overlooks the town of Aubagne, 10 miles east of Marseilleoffering an amazing view over the surroundings. If the summit and its panorama are this hike’s goal, you will discover very interesting features on your way up : natural ones, such as a diversified flora or impressive rock ledges, or cultural ones, such as ruined scenery that was built for the purpose of some of Marcel Pagnol‘s movies. A real beautiful walk!

Walking time
 : 3.5 hours 
Rating : challenging (stony ground and elevation gain of)

The Massif de la Sainte-Baume

The relict forest, holy cave and panoramic crest (long route)

This is a longer itinerary of the half-day hike described above. You can read there full details about the forest and its microclimate. On this day hike, once on the Sainte-Baume mountain crest, you will follow it eastward, pass through the summit (1,148 m), and keep on almost to the end of the ridge ; you will then walk down to another trail, parallel to the crest, that will lead you back to the starting point. Spending 3 hours on the highest trail, you will take full advantage of the fabulous panorama from up there.

Walking time : 6 hours 
Rating : challenging (steep descent and ascent, rocky sections)

In the heart of the Calanques

This large-scale hike favours the discovery of the remarkable biodiversity and gorgeous landscapes of the Massif des Calanques. Starting from the middle of a plateau, a varied route leads you down to the sea, to the beach of Calanque d’En-Vau, at the bottom of impressive cliffs. Later, the fantastic Devenson trail, overhanging the shore, more than 1,000 feet below, provides outstanding views over the famous calanque and over four lesser-known ones. As you walk further west, the Grande Candelle, this emblematic summit of the massif, becomes more and more imposing and beautiful.
The ‘Esprit parc national’ brand has been attributed to this guided walk.

Walking time : 6 hours
Rating : medium-difficult (2,500 feet elevation gain, rocky sections)