Cassis Hiking and Biking South of France, The Calanques, Biking the Roads Above The Calanques

Cliffs on the Calanques,Cassis, the South of France, Provence

Cassis Harbor

Cassis is a welcoming harbor and a great place to spend the day sitting in a dockside restaurant or at the beach. Located  southeast of Marseilles on the Cote d' Azure, is the first of many beach and resort villages which include St Tropez, Cannes and Nice.
Cassis is noted for white wine of the same name, Cassis, (not the Cassis of Central France) and for its hiking on fjord-like inlets on the steep rocky coast. Cassis also has a  14Th Century castle (not open to the public) that dominates the cliffs above the beach and village and makes for a great photo. Cassis casino gambling keeps the nightlife lively.  

The sheltered harbor of Cassis has cove-side restaurants and a small beach to the left as you look out to the Mediterranean and another to the right.
Tour boats that make trips to the secluded inlets have varying levels of fees depending on the number of coves visited. Hikers can book a trip to go ashore to explore the steep cliffs.
Hikers can also walk from Cassis along the shore and over the cliffs to the right of the village as you face the water.  

Cassis Hiking

Hikers out of Marseilles can  make a twelve hour trip along the cliff trails to the port of Cassis( 25 Km -could be 15 miles or more,  one or two day trip)

Cassis on the Mediterranean has a great little harbor rimmed by waterside restaurants where you can board a tour boat for the Calanques

Cassis Camping, Southern Provence

Cassis Biking

Biking in the area of Cassis is for those looking for hill climbing.   
The first inlet out of the harbor of Cassis is Port Miou, or in Provencals: "Well sheltered from the wind".
The paved road Chemin Calanques from to the west of the village leads to a dirt road at Port Miou.  Nudist sun themselves on the rocks below the cliffs where the
Chapel of Notre Dame gives thanks for the end of the plague locally in 1649.

Above the one mile inlet, the walking trail gr 98  passes as it goes the 12 hour hike from Cassis to Marseilles.  (Two Day,  15 miles or more)

Boats moor for the season in the
calm waters. A walking trail leads from the left of the harbor to Port Miou as you face the ocean.  Further along You can reach Calanques Port Pin and En Vau.  

Calanque Cassis, the South of France, Provence

Cassis Tour Boats

The tour boats continue along the coast and enter the coves or Calanques as these fjord-like inlets are called, eight large ones  that the tour boats visit. The third in the line is perhaps the most notable for climbing, En Vau, In the Valley, This cliff face rises 90 meters high on one side and 130 on the other.

The notable climbing area is Calanque Devenson.  The Calanque  is circled by 150 meter-high cliffs and attracts experienced technical climbers.
The last of the creeks as you head towards Marseilles, Morgiou Creek, is a former fishing port of Marseilles-style cottages called Cabanons.  Restaurants at dockside serve the local Pastis, a licorice like liquor made from anise.
Check ahead of your trip, many areas of southern Provence close the trails to hiking in the Summer, July, August and part of September due to fire hazard

Cassis Calanques

lThe Calanques along the coast between Marseilles and Cassis are  Calanques (inlets) large and small.

The large Calanques in order if you are hiking from Cassis to Marseilles: Port Miou, Port Pin, En Vau, L'Oule, Devenson Creek, L'Oeil de Verre, Sugiton, Morgiou, Sormiou and Callelonque near Marseilles.  

Sormiou is in the vicinity of the end of the GR 98, about 8 km south of Marseilles. Bus service is available there to Marseilles.  Bus and train service connects Marseilles and Cassis. Sormiou is notable for rock climbing.

Many trails criss cross the Marseilleveyre cliffs or massif that loom high above the sea. Some trails will close due to fire hazard in July,  August,  and part of  September.  The GR 98 could be open year round.  

GR 98 follows the coastline  between Marseilles and Cassis and is the most heavily traveled and safest. (You are not likely to get lost) It can be a two day trip.

You will need to transport
adequate water.  Port Morgiou can be a handy way station for overnight stops.
A road reaches the port village.  (Chemin de Morgiou is closed to parking in the village for non residents during the summer)    

bikers take the D559 out of Marseilles. Turn at the Luminy campus.
The maze of dirt roads the lead in all directions and eventually reach the trailheads for the Calanques and  the villages is available.   A good map is handy to have.  Many trails are in the area.

Sormiou Calanque
can be a good starting point because it is served by a paved road and bus from Marseilles.    Bus 22 leaving from Rond Point du Prado metro stop on Ave du Prado.

Use caution in parking in remote areas, break-ins have been reported at the trailheads and roadside pull-outs. Parking for the GR 98 at Port Miou and En Va is reported as safe.
The Village of Morgiou is on the trail GR 98 and is reported to have safe parking at the end of the road  in the village.

For short hikes, the trail from Cassis to Port Miou is a good short hike. (crowded on weekends)  Vehicles reach this port and many boaters use the inlet.  A little further on,  Calanques Port Pin  and En Vau make good, short day-hikes.

Biking Above The Calanques

Cassis hiking and biking is available on side roads that leave the D559 and go to the Calanque Villages and former fishing ports. East of Marseilles.
A drive on the D-559, with a turn towards the Luminy Campus/Park de Luminy,  will take you to trailheads above the Morgiou Calanque, a former fishing port of Marseilles-style cottages
This town of Cabanons, fishermen's cabins,  restaurants at dockside that serve the local Pastis, a licorice like liquor made from anise, is a good place to base for hiking and steep hill biking.

From Cassis the secluded coves of the Calanques, offer nude sunbathing
Cassis Camping options are limited in the area.  No camping is permitted on the GR 98 or other trails near Cassis

Hostel Les Cigales Campground
La Sauge, Cassis.
La Cigale Camping and Caravan
Nudist sun themselves on the rocks below the cliffs.  Above the inlet, the GR 98 (51),  passes the Calanques as it runs along the coast from Cassis to Marseilles.
A quarry in the inlet at Port Miou provided cut building stone until 1981 including stone for the Suez Canal and the Statue of Liberty
The D-559
connects Marseilles and Cassis.   Roads off the D559 run to the Calanques.  (dozens of roads, map required)
Nearest Marseilles, and reachable by bus or bike (or walking), the Calanques Sormiou and Morgiou offer access to the shore and parking in small fishing villages.   (Parking outside the village for non-residents in summer)

The Chemin de Sormiou and Chemin (road) Vicinal de Morgiou reach these Calanques. (not off the D559 but near)   (14 KM from Vieux Port (old Port) Marseilles to Morgiou) (8 miles)
For the trailhead above Morgiou take the D559 towards Cassis and turn at the Avenue de Luminy rotary,( turn south) and follow Avenue de Luminy through the Parc de Luminy.  These are steep mountain roads.   Follow south through switchbacks to reach port Morgiou. (Trail Head)  (15 miles Vieux Port to Cassis on the D-559)
Cassis Hiking and Biking in the South of France could be above the Calanques after a drive from Marseilles on the D-559.  
Turn right 11/2 miles before the Luminy Campus/Park de Luminy and find the Chemin de Morgiou or Chemin de Sormiou, roads to the Calanques,  former fishing ports of Marseilles-style cottages
Harbor At Cassis, the South of France, Provence
One of four beaches in the village of Cassis Le Grande Mer
Cassis Accommodations
France Rental Car
Cassis Activities
Cassis Trains
Cassis Culinary
Cassis Camping
Cassis Area/Day Trip
Cassis Hiking
Where is Cassis
Cassis Map
Provence, France
Do You need an International Driving Permit to Drive in Europe.
In France and Italy you can rent a car and do not need to show an International Permit, only your drivers license    Italian law, however,  requires that.....  See Article
selection, price, and ease of booking on the web. Shop online well ahead of your trip and choose diesel (more economical) or gas, luggage space,(important)  standard or automatic,(important)  two door, four door and other options.  Reserve extras such as baby seats, strollers, telephones.      see  renting a vehicle in Provence
Cassis Provence, Hiking, Biking,  Vacation Rentals, Casino Gambling, Provence the South of France

Restaurants to write home
about: Near Eygalieres   
the Valon de Gayet,  Mouries  
in Apt,  La  Manade,     
in Avignon,  La Fourchette.

Reach Cassis
Cassis Provence, can be reached by bus and train from Marseilles.     Cassis Gare SNCF (station)    The train station is about 2 miles uphill from the town and provides bus service to the casino about every hour, 7 am to 7 pm, summer.  A telephone is available at the station for calling a cab.
Hiking, Biking,  Vacation Rentals, Calanque boat rides, beaches, and the Casino Gambling are located within a short walk from the Casino stop.         
Bus Marseilles to Cassis
The harbor at Cassis is home to fishing and pleasure boats.  Tour boats leave Cassis for the Calanques
Tour boats visit the calanques
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