Top Ten France Classic Adventures

Rock Climb the Calanques
By Patricia Ochs

Put vertigo aside—the Calanques near Cassis on the French southern Mediterranean coast are just too big a treat to miss. These narrow inlets with giant limestone cliffs hovering over them serve as the playground of rock climbers of all styles and persuasions. In fact, climbing techniques in the Calanques developed into climbing as we know it today. Near Cassis, the Calanque En Vau, nicknamed the "super siren," soars to 361 feet (110 meters) and takes an hour and a half to summit. At Sormiou, white rock plunging into the aqua waters of the Mediterranean create a dramatic and alluring ambience. Perhaps most challenging is the Castelvieil, with its series of four transversal routes. Its total length of 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) makes it one of the longest rock-face routes in the world. Leaving Cassis, most Calanques can be reached by foot or by asking for a lift from one of the many boats in the area.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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