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The Callelongue calanque

the other side of the world at your fingertips

The Callelongue cove: an air of the end of the world for this cove located at the extreme south of Marseille… because yes, here it is always and still Marseille!

Hiking from Marseille

Get away from the noise of the city, the traffic jams of the beach, here nature takes over. Just after the village of Goudes in the Marseilleveyre massif, Callelongue is a wild area located in the 8th district of Marseille. At the end of this road, with its many bends in an arid landscape of white limestone, crushed by the light and the sun of the South, dazzled by the immensity of the sea flooding the landscape, we arrive, against all expectations, at a dead end.

As its name indicates, Calo longo in Provençal would mean “big creek”.

Like a confidential address, this limestone indentation gives us a feeling of freedom! Here is a world apart which changes its face according to the seasons. The fishermen’s cottages nestle in every corner of the cove, their boats make do with the limited space by climbing the rocks to cling to the relief and shelter from the waves.

Playful children and the few bathers, clinging to the rocks, enjoy the crystal clear water of this cove surrounded by a tiny sandbank. Because here there is no beach, only rocks! A few pétanque players live together with tourists who make their way to the start of the GR des calanques: the famous GR98 which runs along the coast from Marseille to Cassis (/!\ Warning: it is essential to wear hiking shoes as the path is steep and the rocks are slippery).

After a 10-minute walk, you reach the old semaphore, which was disused for a long time and has now been restored by local residents and the Calanques National parkIl a repris sa fonction de vigie et est un lieu de découverte de l’environnement des calanques.  

On trouve aussi à Callelongue un mythique restaurant, réputé pour ses pizzas et son poisson frais : la Grotte. 

A breathtaking landscape

The Avenue des Pébrons is the only crossroads in Callelongue: pébrons is a word of Occitan origin meaning pepper… and in the Marseilles language, it also means a person who blushes like a pepper and feels stupid, so by extension a fool.

This road, which is not quite as wide as an avenue, is lined with more or less spacious and attractive sheds. Several of them are occupied by students from the Merchant Navy School, located in the Pointe Rouge district. The Mediterranean vegetation, which can cope with scarce rainwater and dry ground, puts its colourful spots on the avenue with the tender green euphorbia, the pink valerian, the yellow anthemis or the mauve dimorphotheca. The avenue then gets lost in the hillside and you find yourself at the foot of a semi-circular cirque, with the feeling of being far from civilisation, which is nevertheless so close. The deafening song of the cicadas, the thyme and the rosemary are inclined to the rocky and haughty walls which overhang the landscape.

We join a slope to the right to climb to the Pas de la Demi-Lune, a sort of gap at the top of the wall visible from a great distance: the climb is steep but worth it. From up there, we have a panoramic view of the harbour of Marseille, and for the most daring who are not afraid of heights, we can go to the other side of the wall to find ourselves on the south side, sheltered from the mistral and facing the islands and islets. It’s magical!

Or you can opt for the “sentier du Président”, a magnificent hiking trail that links Callelongue to the port of Madrague de Montredon in about 2 hours: it is very varied and is dotted with remarkable viewpoints.

Did you know ?

Further down, you can still see the remains of the old telescope, the crazy invention of an engineer and a ski champion who, in 1967, proposed to visit the seabed in a small capsule that could descend to a depth of 10 metres. An incredible adventure for the time!

Access the calanque 

To come, it is better to forget the car because the parking is non-existent!
Take the RTM bus 20 from the Madrague de Montredon. But be careful, check the timetable on
www.rtm.fr because buses are not that frequent. 
Callelongue like all the calanques, is a destination that must be earned! 

Practical informations 

Restaurant/ bar ‘La Grotte’

1 avenue des Pébrons, 13008 Marseille 
Phone: 04 91 73 17 79 
www.lagrotte-13.com/

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