Les Calanques is one of France’s largest rock climbing areas, spanning from the city of Marseille to the pretty little town of Cassis, 20km to the east. There are 8 main rock climbing areas and each has its own distinct atmosphere.
The rock climbing on these limestone sea cliffs varies enormously from single pitch sport routes, long multi-pitch routes up to 250m long, to traverses along the sea edge and deep water soloing (DWS). The style of climbing has everything from technical slabs, steep climbing on the sea’s edge, to steep overhangs in caves across a wide range of grades. In fact at Les Calanques there are around 2,500 bolted sport routes and around 1,000 traditional routes.
The best time of the year to climb at Les Calanques is during the spring, though it is possible to climb here throughout the year. In the winter it is possible to climb on the many south facing crags in great sunshine, as well as being sheltered from the Mistral wind. The autumn is the rainiest season, though you will still enjoy many excellent days during this time. The summer is very hot and crowded, but is a good time to go deep water soloing (DWS) or find a north facing crag.
Getting to Marseille is very easy with its own International airport. This whole area is popular with tourists in the summer so there are plenty of options regarding accommodation.
Les Calanques rock climbing guidebooks. The most comprehensive guidebook is called “Calanques Climbing”, which describes over 1,100 routes mainly up to F6c. The “Cote d’Azur rock climbing guidebook” by Rockfax also covers the Les Calanques area. Buy both of these rock climbing guidebooks covering Les Calanques from our shop.
The photograph opposite shows some of the excellent deep water soling available at les Calanques.