Destination: Calanques National Park, South of France

From June 1st to June 7th there seemed to be a giant rain cloud over most of Europe. We had planned on camping in Switzerland for a week after meeting up with friends in Barcelona (who brought our camping equipment) and meeting with family in Paris (with whom we had planned to send our camping equipment back). But, Mother Nature had other plans. So instead we searched for any place with sunshine in the forecast. Option A: Greece! But unfortunately 96*F was too much sun. Option B: Copenhagen, but we decided that Scandinavia deserves its own trip. So option C it was: the south of France!

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Marseille was on our original itinerary but after about 6-7 revisions, it had somehow been dropped off. This was due to the amount of criticism we’d heard & read regarding the grimy-ness of the city. We didn’t actually spend much time in Marseille, however to be fair, we were not there to explore the second largest city in France, but instead the Calanques National Park. It did not disappoint!

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We joined up with our Baltimorean friend we had met in Barcelona, who was couch surfing in Marseille before moving on to a farm in Italy for a Work Away. A short bus ride out of the city and a short walk into the National Park, and our eyes lit up with the beauty of white rocky trails and clear blue ocean views.

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Upon a split in the trail we opted for the “direct route” over the “easy one”. This proved to be the more worthwhile trail as we worked our way down steep declines and narrow mountainsides, passing rock climbers along the way. 

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Arriving at the bottom, the cliffside rocky coast was everything we had hoped for. Though the chilly Mediterranean water took a minute to get used to, it made for a welcoming change from the nearly shadeless hiking trail. A small rocky island also served as the perfect diving board, however the clear sea didn’t do any favors for our depth perception just before jumping!

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Afterwards we layed out on the smooth rocks soaking up the sunshine and enjoying this small paradise before taking the easy trail back out.

The following day we rented a car and  made our way to the small town of Cassis, on the opposite side of the National Park.

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From the beach we rented a kayak and paddled through the sea to the popular Calanque d’en Vau, a tiny pebble beach at the end of a narrow creek sandwiched in between high white rocky cliffs.

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The water in the seaside creek was much warmer than the previous day, which allowed for Siobhan to hop out of the kayak for a relaxing swim. Calanques National Park proved to be an amazing adventure which we were fortunate not to have skipped!

 

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