LES CALANQUES

For centuries, the long narrow inlets of ‘les calanques’ have provided shelter to sailors in stormy weather, while today’s sailor seeks them out not so much for the protection they afford but rather for their unique beauty and peaceful atmosphere. When sailing along the coastline between Marseille and La Ciotat, you will find many calanques where anchoring or mooring is an option, whether for a few hours or overnight.

Several calanques, like Sormiou and Morgiou, have small towns and marinas which house the local fishing boats but have no facilities for the larger pleasure craft. Here, dropping anchor is the only option. This is also the case for many of the other calanques in the area. Sugiton, En Veau, and Port-Pin are among the most scenic and most frequented of the calanques but offer no designated mooring spots on quays or buoys. What they lack in amenities, they make up for in natural grandeur.

For those looking for a place to tie on, there are other options. In Port-Miou, one of the longest and most sheltered of the calanques, visitors secure their boats between a bobbing buoy and a ring in the adjacent rock face. And if you’re looking for a base to replenish your water supply and stock up on groceries, one of the city ports is your best bet. The old port of Marseille at the west end of the ‘Massif des Calanques’ and the old port of La Ciotat at the easternmost point are both ideal starting points for exploring the calanques. Cassis also has a few mooring places reserved for visitors with modest sized boats.

The Frioul Islands, only 4 kilometers from Marseille, should be on every sailor’s list of places to stay. Port-Frioul offers sheltered mooring along an expansive quay with fresh water and electricity, as well as on buoys in the bay. The island itself, with its many calanques, allows the sailor the option of anchoring when weather permits.

Moving with the wind and experiencing ‘les calanques’ at your pace is both a pleasure and a luxury afforded the sailor.
Let us take you on a remarkable journey along the French coastline between Marseille and La Ciotat, along with a scenic detour to the neighbouring Frioul Islands. We will explore the majestic ‘Massif des Calanques’ in the Bouches-du-Rhône area of France and in so doing, discover the unique and breathtaking beauty of ‘les calanques’, the Mediterranean fjords.

We will hike towering limestone cliffs and steep-sided coastal valleys. We will sail into and around many of the most picturesque of the ‘calanques’, stopping to wander through their quaint towns and charming harbours and we’ll also accompany a local fisherman as he hauls in his catch. Throughout our trip, we’ll encounter kayakers gliding through turquoise waters, sailboats bobbing on anchor, sun worshippers relaxing on secluded beaches, hikers navigating the rocky terrain and rock climbers clinging to vertical surfaces ... all of this in the midst of some of the most incredible scenery in the world.

Filmed in High-Definition and offering ever-changing perspectives from both land and sea, this DVD offers an experience equalled only by having been there yourself. We hope you enjoy our impressions of ‘les calanques’.