Amid the Calanques

Sometimes words just don’t translate well. Take calanque, for instance. It means creek in English. That brings to mind a tiny tributary of water, right? It certainly doesn’t make you think of something as majestic as this…

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A calanque in the Calanques National Park.

I spent today seeing the Parc National des Calanques by foot and by boat. The park features some of the most breathtaking landscapes in France. Giant limestone cliffs drop into the blue-green Mediterrean. It is spectacular!

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Established in 2012, the Parc National des Calanques extends over 201 square miles. Thirty-three square miles of it is land and the rest is marine area.

This morning, John and I explored the park on foot. The trail started out fairly easy.

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Life always finds a way --even in rock.

The initial ascent remained easy and delivered an amazing first-peek at the Mediterrean.

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Yet, as we continued, it became more difficult, forcing us to scramble up a steep, rocky incline.

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Once on top, with the wind whipping around us, we beheld some amazing vistas.

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Places along a waterfront always look remarkably different when seen from the water; so this afternoon, we made our way to Vieux Port to catch a boat tour of the Parc National des Calanques.

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Vieux Port is the maritime heart of Marseilles.

The boat tour didn’t disappoint. We got a tremendous view of the harbor and all its points of interest.

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Fort Saint Jean in the harbor of Marseilles.

The wind was blowing steadily, making it a great day for sailing. There were plenty of sailboats taking advantage of the opportunity.

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After a bouncy, but scenic ride, we slowed to take in the calanques. Some are populated with homes or restaurants.

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Others contain hidden beaches that are probably overrun in the summer. The water looked inviting even on a cool day in April. I imagine it’s irresistible on a hot afternoon in July.

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A small beach hides beyond the yellow buoys.

Whether by land or by sea, the Parc National des Calanques is something you’ll want to see if you ever find yourself in Marseilles.

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