Picture this: A serene beach enclosed by limestone cliffs so high that you have to squint your eyes to see the top. The cliffs cast a daunting but beautiful shadow onto the turquoise seawater. This describes the scene where I took a running start into the freezing cold Côte d'Azur and swam until my limbs went numb. The water was so cold that my smile seemed frozen onto my face as the salt water soured my open mouth.
The moment that I got to Cassis, I hit the trails to find what I came for. The Calanques are a well kept secret of France, and I hope they don't mind me sharing. The cliffs that line the southern coast near Marseilles make for great hiking and a million fantastic views of the sea.
I'm talking about some serious hiking though. The amazing and very environment-friendly hostel that we stayed in was a 50 minute hike from town. However, we took the long route, which took about 4 hours. We cooked a delicious meal at the hostel and watched the sunset cast its dimming light over the sea onto the Calanques. That night we were so worn out that we hit the bunks at 20:30. The next morning we went for a 'brisk' morning hike, on a rather dangerous decline that led us to Calanque d'En Vau.
Beach at Calanque d'En Vau. Those specks you see are actually people. (above)
Another view of Calanque d'En Vau (above)
We arrived at an empty beach so beautiful that words can't describe. Soon after we arrived, some rock-climbers joined us on the beach as they prepared to climb the Calanque. But we had our own rocks to climb as we headed up the mountain back to civilization. I could go on for hours about my weekend in Cassis. Long story short, I fell in love with the French coast this weekend.