Port Miou (Calanque)

S/V Goldcrest
David & Lindsay Inwood
Fri 27 May 2016 11:25

42:12.298N 5:30.917E Fri 27th May 2016


We had a 3 hour windless motor along the coast from Marseille to get to this wonderful calanque (I guess we would say fjord, despite the diminutive size of these rocky inlets).  The coast east of Marseille is spectacular, with deeply weathered limestone cliffs and dense trees rearing above the sea, split by these narrow but long clefts.  Several are navigable with tiny anchorages tucked around their corners, but Port Miou is a particularly good example.  It has been used as a port for shipping the stone mined here so has an interesting industrial heritage, with shoots for loading stone and old quarry buildings.  The limestone is very hard and fine grained and has been used for building the Suez canal and much of Marseille (we also read that it was used for the base of the Statue of Liberty, but that seems literally too far fetched!).  The calanque is very narrow and long with most of its length occupied by local boats tied to rickety pontoons.  The outer section is available for visitors where you tie the bows to a buoy and the stern to an iron ring set into the cliff.  The same cliff is used by local lads for fearless leaps into the water - the highest point they use is about 20m up, although we “only” saw them jumping from about 10m (which looked pretty scary to me).


Views of Port Miou:


We only stayed a night but had two great walks.  The first was along the coast to Cassis; another delightful Cote D’Azur fishing village now given over to tourists (like us).  I quite fancied taking the boat into its compact little harbour, but a walk and a drink and we’d pretty well done the place anyway.  The next morning we hiked the other way to the next calanque which was tiny and hardly imaginable full of yachts in high season.  It gave us a good chance to wander through all the old quarry workings and enjoy the birdsong and flowers.  We really don’t get to hear enough birdsong from our floating home.