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The Samena Calanque

The entry gate to the Calanques National Park

The Calanque de Samena marks the entrance to the area known as the “terrestrial heart of the Calanques National Park”. It is the very first calanque and houses a small residential area, a restaurant, two guest rooms and a workshop for visiting artists.

The entry of the Calanques National park

Welcome to the terrestrial heart of the national park. The Parc National des Calanques is the first peri-urban national park in Europe, covering both land and sea areas. So, when you drive along the Marseilles seafront, preferably by bus or using a soft mode of transport, there is a road sign of cultural and tourist interest that should catch your attention. It is located at the foot of an old anti-tank wall, a vestige of the Second World War and dominated by a small rounded mountain, Mont-Rose, which rises to 84 metres and indicates the entrance to a magnificent, fragile and much coveted area.

A bit of histoiry

This district is the first one you encounter when you enter the Calanques National Park, which is a peri-urban park.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, Spanish fishermen from Catalonia settled here. Their patron saint was named Menas, and they decided to give his name to the Calanque that welcomed them.  It would later become “Samena”.
Like all the coves on the southern tip of Marseille, there were once factories and lime kilns.
Today, to reach the Calanque, you have to take a winding road of 3.5 kilometres. This small area, which is in fact a dead end, is mainly made up of accommodation, a restaurant, two guest rooms and accommodation for artists. A real haven of peace for the inhabitants.

Swimming

And its small unsupervised beach with its rocky coastline which bypasses the Mont-Rose which attract swimmers and fishermen from the shore. Nevertheless, on days when the mistral wind blows and the swell is strong, you must be very careful and avoid swimming as it is dangerous.

An immeasurable plant heritage

The coastline of the Calanque de Samena and Monte Rosa is incredibly rich in biodiversity. Several rare endemic plants can even be observed there.

Near the water, affected by the spray, there are halophilic plants, which like salt: the maritime cineraria, the maritime asterisk, the stonewort and the dwarf saladelle.

Then, slightly above sea level, at the edge of the path, there are three other plants: the Marseille astragalus, the tartarine passerine and the awl plantain. This trio is one of the rarest species that grow only between the Mont-Rose and the Cortiou cove. They are highly endangered because their living space is also the most frequented by visitors. They are victims of trampling, urbanisation of the coastline and the presence of invasive species.

Did You Know?

Fishing for octopus is prohibited from 1 June to 30 September, which corresponds to its reproduction period. To adopt the right gestures, consult the guide for leisure fishermen.

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