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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>>>
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.
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