Les Calanques is one of those places that is difficult to grasp via words. This area offers picture-perfect bullet-proof sun-lit white limestone above the crystal blue waters of the French Mediterranean. Set between Cassis and Marseille, this 12-mile cliff band (with over 3000 routes) shoots shiny white buttresses through various inlets that offer a fantastic, albeit surreal, climbing adventure. This place is wild. Known for it's long and committing traverses right above the vast sea, the calanques necessitate technical footwork and a calm mind, plus some route-finding skills on the longer routes. As with most climbing areas in France, Les Calanques has a rich history that includes names like Gaston Rebuffat and Georges Livanos. The area was a playground for these motivated alpinists as they put up numerous classic lines throughout the 1940's! When the wave of sport-climbing arrived in the 80's, Les Calanques became a premier European climbing destination. Today, there are threats to climbing in the area. Stewert Green wrote about the current issues in his blog; climbing.about.com/b/2009/11/21/new-les-calanques-national-p>>>
If you have ever climbed there or plan on visiting, or just want to help out with the cause, check out his blog and see how you can get involved in keeping one of the most unique and pristine areas in the world open to climbing.
Each area has a different road that accesses the cliffs. The best option here is to get a good map, and follow the signs down the steep roads to the port. The guidebook "Escalade Les Calanques" has a great map and is sold in Marseille and Cassis...though it written in French.