Randonnée Calanque Sormiou ©joomtcmrandonnee-calanque-de-sormiou-joomtcm-16.mp4
Discovery of the Calanque National park

Guided hike in the Calanque of Sormiou

Hiking in the Calanques, it’s good ! But, hiking with a professional guide, it is  even better ! I will tell you my story in the National Park, discovering the history and botanical heritage of  Sormiou.

Published on 28 January 2022
Jade Orengo
  • Marseille in 3 words

    Wonderful, diverse, native.

  • My favourite neighbourhood

    Les Goudes, and its quiet side (in the off-season) for sipping a drink and having an aperitif facing the sunset.

A hike starting from Marseille

Guided hike in the Calanque  National park

It is 9 am when our guide meet us at the small car-park located above the Baumettes. It is still chilly.The mist rises through the trees, anyway, we are going to warm ourselves up thanks to the sun coming up! We are immediately immersed thanks to Vanina who explains to us the tour. It is a 4 hours panoramic discovey hike of the Calanques National Park. Classified since 2012. It is the only French National Park to be at the same time terrestrial, marine, insular and peri-urban.

Indeed, we quickly realized by taking a little height that we have on one side the view of the sea. And on the other side the view of the city (with Notre dame de la garde posed on the hillside!). Hence the many problems of attendance and flow of visitors, who are each year very numerous to come and enjoy the Calanques.

A  hike enhanced with anecdotes about the natural heritage

The trail we take is very well maintained, many different kind of plants on both  sides. Vanina stopped and asked us if we know their names. Personally, I am not familiar with the subject but we can see immediately who is knowledgeable in the group!

For example we learn that ‘la Bruyère’ (heather), little arbus with little violine flowers which own some dieretic characteristics used in infusion. ‘Sumac du corroyeur’ ( Sicilian summac) produce little red fruits with a small lemon taste. It  is famous and used as a spice however owns many benefits : antioxidant,anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.

However, another plant called ‘rue Fétide‘ may be (on the other  hand) very toxic and allergenic for some people. It gives off a strong odor, recognizable on our way. We also cross the road of a sarsaparilla plant: would the Smurfs have taken up residence in the Calanques of Marseille?

Did you know?

The word ‘Sormiou’ means (in provençal) ‘the best spring‘  is  located under the Calanque and supplied until the XX s century, two wells (from XIV th century). This water was used by fishermen and visitors… This water is now no longer flowing in the Calanque.

Breathtaking landscapes

Gorgeous landscape between sharp cliffs and turquoise waters.

The sky is an azure blue, the sun is high. There is a great panoramic view of Riou Archipelago and the different islands. A real shelter for protected terrestrial and underwater species . We can see the beach of the Sormiou calanque ! Once  we  reach the Col des Escourtines, we take a small valley that goes straight down to the heart of the calanque.

We move cautiously through the scree of stones, with good shoes on your  feet. I feel very small in the middle of the  huge dizzying limestone cliffs that surround us. After about 30 minutes of descent, we see the first sign of civilisation: a petanque field… Yes indeed, it  is sacred in Marseille and it is the very first thing we see when we arrive at Sormiou! We also see a bunch of provencal cottages which take us back to summer, to the song of the cicadas.

A sunbath and a  gourmet  break

It’s high time for  us to  have  a  break. We settled into a small creek behind the fishermen’s port. The landscape is amazing with a sea turquoise blue. The sea is  very cold, the bravest venture out to dip their feet. We need to say it is tempting!

We settled down in the sun and took advantage of this well deserved lunch break, sitting on the pebbles. I enjoy coming here even more in the winter, when the days are beautiful (we  can even wear  a tee shirt), than during the summer when the heat is overwhelming. When we finished our  snack and our sunbathing, we headed to the famous sandy beach of Sormiou. Ten minutes are enough to discover this little paradise. Pictures speak of themselves. Then we are going up to the staring point, taking another way. The return is more cardiotic but Vanina doesn’t rush us. Everyone has their own pace.

This tour is recommended for children from 7 years old, but of course depends on the persons  skills. Even though some places are steeper than  others. I think this tour is very interesting and accessible. You don’t need to be in great physical shape but good shoes and a lot of water!