Calanques National Park

Created on 18 April 2012, the Calanques National Park is France’s 10th national park and the first in Europe to include land, sea and semi-urban areas. At the heart of Provence’s limestone coast, the national park, which stretches over the municipalities of Marseille, Cassis and La Ciotat, is world-famous for its sublime landscapes, its remarkable biodiversity and its cultural wealth.

The distinctive features of the area is the proximity between wild natural landscapes and France’s second city.

Remarkable natural heritage

La Ciotat is one of the main gateways to the national park. The municipality includes several of the park’s core sites, including the iconic inlets of Figuerolles and Le Mugel.

Linking the towns of La Ciotat and Cassis, the Soubeyranes cliffs are a magnet for mineralogists. These magnificent landscapes plunging to the sea are among Europe’s highest sea cliffs and offer spectacular viewpoints accessible from the Route des Crêtes hilltop road. Ochre-orange in color, the cliffs consist of puddingstone, a conglomerate of pebbles, unlike the white limestone Massif des Calanques.

Opposite La Ciotat, the Île Verte is separated from the continent by a shallow sound. It is the only wooded island in Bouches-du-Rhône. The forests that cover it are very recent, however – the predominant Aleppo pine could only spread when farming was abandoned on the island after the First World War.

Regulations for the best protection

A national park is free to access and open to all, but it is nonetheless an exceptional natural space and thus protected by specific regulations set out in a decree and a charter.

The regulations on park uses and activities only apply to the central areas of the park and are designed to preserve the natural and cultural heritage and character of the national park. The rules of conduct are simple and are based on common sense and respect for nature and other park users. They allow everyone to enjoy this magnificent site to the full.

For more information on the national park:

Visit the Calanques National Park's website