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Climbing in Les Calanques, Marseille, France May 16-19

Original Post
Karoline Meador · · Austin, TX · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 20

My boyfriend and I are going to Les Calanques for a couple days to climb May 16-19 and we really want to climb at Calanaque d'en Vau, a beautiful cove with an easy 5 pitch spire, 40 feet from the water. We are looking to meet up with a couple other climbers and hopefully rent a car because Calanque d'en Vau is pretty far from Marseille and the buses don't go far enough. Let me know if you'll be in the area and would like to meet up! We are both fluent in French and will have all the gear + rope necessary, staying in the outskirts of Marseille, near Luminy. Feel free to email me at 

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,832

Since you speak fluent French, read this: 

about taking the bus from Marseille.
Not sure what you mean by "don't go far enough". It's a substantial hike in to Calanque d'En Vau even if you have a car.

If you speak French, then just post for ride-sharing or climbing partners on forums.
. . . (but don't be surprised if the responses you get include something like,
. . . . Why would you want to climb polished rock in a crowded tourist area when there's so much better climbing elsewhere we could take you to?).

Great trailhead for standard multi-pitch climbing, overhanging sport routes, and hiking / trail-running in the Calanques with easy frequent bus service from Marseille is Luminy.

Worth purchasing the new 2017 edition of the FFME "big blue" guidebook: Calanques Les Escalades.

Anyway ...
What's really great about the Calanques is the hiking and trail-running and kayaking -- and the unique seacliff-traverse climbing routes -- not the standard multi-pitch climbing.

My recommendation: Make your visit to Calanque d'En Vau a hiking / trail-running / swimming day. (or perhaps even better, a sea-kayaking day from Cassis, which includes paddling into a limestone sea cave). Do your roped climbing somewhere else.


kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,832

Really what you should do . . . 

Sign up on, then post to one of the French-language forums an inquiry not saying, "We are arriving and our tick-list is X + Y + Z, so how do we accomplish those".

but rather saying like,
We've heard the Calanques is an amazing unique space, and we like climbing and we're prepared for that and other outdoor things (but we don't have a car) -- so what do you suggest we try while we're here in Marseille (and how do you suggest we get transportation).


Karoline Meador · · Austin, TX · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 20

Thanks for the suggestions, Ken! I'll post on and keep an open mind about exploring Les Calanques!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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