• Donna.C

France: Cassis + Calanques

We touched down in Nice after a red eye flight, 1 mad rush of a stopover in Frankfurt where we had to sprint to another terminal and endure the gallic shrugs and blasé attitude of the airport personnel letting passengers enter customs 5 at a time despite the urgency of connecting flights leaving in like 10 minutes. There were 4 long lines of people in front of us, and only one customs officer. I almost had a conniption at the inefficiency and eye rolling inflexibility of the staff. Anyway for sure we'd miss our flight if we waited, so i begged, explained and gave my most charming smile to the people lining up and we skipped the queue, and just about made it. *cue sweat and massive relief*

Picked up our car, and drove 2h to Marseilles. The last time I drove in France many years back it was a nightmare. Apparently i forgot just how terrible it was, this time was no different. The most confusing roads, tiny alleys, tunnels splitting in multiple directions and very odd traffic signages made both of us grumpy and frustrated. Kudos to Dan who managed to find our bnb for the next 2 nights. By the time we got there, we were both so exhausted i ended up eating my cliff bar for dinner and knocked out for 14h straight.

Next morning we headed to Cassis, a charming little fisherman town with a little port, and got a nice table looking out to the boats, and ordered an enormous breakfast spread of assorted bread and pastries with various jams, confits, butter, as well as scrambled eggs, a cheese platter of brie, camembert and bacon. A double expressso, orange juice pretty much made it perfect.

We wanted to visit the Calanques national park, a beautiful area rich in biodiversity, towering cliff faces and limestone rocks, surrounded by beautiful unspoiled clear aqua waters. Only accessible by a days hike and by boat, we opted for the sailing trip due to time constraints.

The Vieux port (old port) of Marseilles is where we on boarded and it took us on a 3h tour around the inlets and caves of the Calanques. Along the way, pine trees and shrubs defiantly growing on the stark landscape of steep rock cliffs could be seen, as well as hikers meandering their way precariously on the narrow paths trekked along the cliff face.

There were some interesting caves to abseil and rappel down, which normally i'd have loved to explore if time permitted. Rather unfortunately, some women and men were sunbathing starkers on what they probably thought was a secluded and nice sunny spot, only to have a gawking and gossiping boat full of inquisitive people armed with cameras pass by. In all, it was a beautiful area to tour by boat. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Vieux Port, Marseilles


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