Calanques, France

Sea of rocks of the Calanques

Europe’s Ton Sai Bay: The sea of rocks of the Calanques – a unique natural landscape between Marseille and Cassis in the south of France. Haut cuisine française instead of spicy curries.

Crystal clear emerald green bays, the eternal sun over the Mediterranean and the typical French-Mediterranean flair, that’s what the Calanques are best known for. But despite the fact that this is a classic climbing area, where climbing has been going on for over a hundred years, there are crags with fantastically rough and beautifully structured limestone.

Here are some impressions from this wonderful rocky landscape of the Calanques in southern France.


Let’s see where it is:

Best time of the year:

Spring, autumn and winter.

Route equipment:

Multi-pitch routes: In long routes, additional protection is necessary, often to supplement between existing bolts. Belays sometimes need to be supplemented.
Baseclimbs: The single-pitch routes are usually very well equipped. However, due to the proximity to the sea, there are also occasionally rusty bolts.

Climbing gear:

Multi-pitch routes: 50 m double rope, 10 quickdraws, nuts, Cams, Tricams
Baseclimbs: 70 m single rope, 14 quickdraws

What I've used:

The C.A.M.P. Tricams work generally great in limestone with its narrow and round holes. Tricams offer reliable protection on placements where regular Cams are too wide due to their design and where Nuts cannot be properly wedged.

Recommended place to stay:

Wooden huts at Shangri-La, Carnoux-en-Provence.

» Shangri-La residence chalets ( …)


Directly to the east of the Calanques, between Cassis and La Ciotat, lies the 300 m high rock bastion of the Falaises Soubeyrannes with numerous multi-pitch routes that are also definitely worth a visit.