Nature in Cassis
It surrounds the village on every flank with an unspoilt, colourful belt: to the north the tender green of the vineyards, to the south the indigo of the wide open sea, to the east the ochre of Cap Canaille, to the west the white of the cliffs and the turquoise of the Calanques.
Here nature offers the rambler an infinity of panoramas, an infinity of activities for the diver, hiker or rock-climber... to everyone whose best memories are born in the most beautiful landscapes.
Calanques National Park
The geographical heart of the Parc National des Calanques, Cassis – one of the most beautiful places in the world – was determined to make a strong and innovative commitment to this unspoilt area for the benefit of its inhabitants. And to achieve this, Cassis has created and put in place an innovative concept: the ‘sustainable territory’.
"Canaille" comes from the Latin "Canalis mons", which means "mountain of the waters, of the aqueducts", or from the Provençal "Cap naïo", the "mountain that swims, that juts out into the sea".
To the east of the harbour and the village, Cap Canaille forms an immense stone rampart. This mountain’s cliffs are the highest maritime cliffs in Europe. Their summit is the Grande Tête with its 394 m sheer cliff. The Cap Canaille massif is a listed site.
Not to be missed!
The Crêtes tourist route
This 15 km long road snakes its way through the massif taking you to La Ciotat. It offers spectacular views of the Golfe de Cassis, the Calanques, the Riou archipelago in Marseille harbour to the west, and as far as Var to the east. Well-equipped car parks allow you to stop off to admire the panorama.
On foot or by bicycle: a hiking trail (12 km one way) allows you explore the massif.
The ‘Petit Prince’ path
This wondrous route is dedicated to the memory of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who died for France.
The “Petit Prince” path allows you to discover the Calanques and was created in the framework of an “integration scheme”. It is punctuated by 11 stations presenting the riches and particularities of the Calanques.
Going around the Port Miou peninsula, it is accessible to everyone for a walk, lasting about an hour, that will take you on a tour of the deepest of the Calanques (Port Miou 1.5 km).
We ask you to respect the site, not to smoke, and to bring back your waste and sort it at your place of residence.
Listed for its landscapes, the Calanques massif is a veritable seaside mountain. It’s a fragile area that is home to a large number of protected plant and animal species.
The other Calanques sites are accessible after a sporting hike lasting several hours along rugged, rocky paths.
In order to access these areas, it is essential to wear walking shoes and appropriate cloths, and to take an IGN map and a sufficient amount of water with you.
Fauna and Flora
Don’t take this dry and arid landscape at face value! The Calanques are home to an incredibly rich floristic heritage, with 900 species identified (38 protected and 43 remarkable)! 11% of the plant species present in France can be found in this chalky universe…
Some species are even typical of the site: for example, you will only be able to find the Provence Sandwort (Arenaria provincialis) in the Calanques.
Marine flora and fauna
The sea bottom abounds with an incredible plant and animal life, symbols of the water’s purity. The submarine fauna of the Calanques counts more than 60 heritage species.
Numerous species of reptiles, insects and birds are now emblematic of the region.
As you walk around the Calanques, perhaps you will come face to face with an ocellated lizard, the largest in Europe or even a southern smooth snake.
If you look carefully at the cliffs you may spot the nest of a kestrel or of a pallid swift.
On the horizon you’ll be able to admire the “Gabians”, the Provençal seagulls, circling in the azure blue skies.
And with a bit of luck and a lot of patience the majestic Bonelli eagle will perhaps appear as you wander along the cliffs…
The ocellated lizard
It is the largest lizard in Europe. Measuring up to 80 cm long, however, it is very discreet and hidden inside the massif. It owes its name to the blue and black stripes, called ocelli, which are on its flanks.
The Posidonia meadows: THE LUNGS OF THE SEA
This plant is endemic to the Mediterranean both natural filter of the marine environment but also a refuge for many species.
Because of its slow growth (1 meter per century) and human pressures that are exerted (water pollution, ship anchors), the Posidonia is threatened
Called "red gold" coral that is renowned in the Mediterranean for many years. It has been used for centuries in the manufacture of jewelry and statuettes.
Today it is gradually disappearing. Overfishing of coral-has become rare. Since 2011, it is protected in France up to 50 meters..
The Brown Grouper
This giant fish can grow up to 180 cm and weigh more than 50 kilos! It can live up to 50 years ...
It feeds mainly on octopus, cuttlefish and squid.
The Rascasse (Scorpionfish)
Be careful with this fish! Its entire body is covered with ridges and venomous spines!
It is highly sought after by fishermen, and is one of the ingredients of the fish soup.
This is very common in Mediterranean gorgonian occurs mainly on the drop-offs and overhangs from 5 to 100 meters deep.
The Aleppo Pine
This is a typical tree of the Mediterranean. It needs little water to live, so the white and dry limestone in the Calanques seem to be the most suitable place for its spread. It is the most abundant tree of the massif..
The Kermes Oak
This is the typical species characterizing scrubland. Adapted to drought, this shrub grows throughout the Mediterranean region. It is also very resistant to fires and regrows vigorously after being burned.
Four years underground before spending the whole summer singing! The cicada lives for approximately 50 days. Male cicadas sing to attract females.
The « gabian »
Often mistakenly called seagull, gull that is very present in the region and specifically the islands Marseille.