The coast between Cassis and Marseilles, in the Provence region, is one of France most spectacular thanks to the many cliffs (calanques) thatoften interrupt the white pebbled beaches.
Calanque d’En-Vau, nestled between two cliffs, is the hardest to get to by foot (a winding steep trail is the only land access to the beach) and the most scenic by far: the water has an incredible green shade, in stark contrast with the white cliffs and beach.
For the adventurous, organised excursions into the calanques are available from the Bureau des Guides des calanques (the Office of Guides to the Calanques) for groups of a minimum of four and a maximum of 12 persons. As well as simple guided walks, canyoning, abseiling (rappelling), mountain biking and rock climbing are all on offer. Some excursions are available in English.
WHEN TO GO: The extraordinary topography of the calanques makes it difficult to get to many of them, except by boat. And because of the severe fire risk in summer, access is restricted by law between 1 June and 30 September. During this period there are three risk levels: orange (access authorised), red (access authorised between 6am and 11am) and black (access banned). You can check the levels daily here.
HOW TO GET THERE: there is a steep trail that leads directly to the beach, quite difficult to climb but the final reward really make up for it. An easier alternative is a boat tour.
WHERE TO STAY: