Commencing in an industrial town that has seen better days for its shipyards, the route climbs rapidly through quiet urban streets to the cliff edge at a historical signal post. The remainder of the route closely follows the cliff edge, with massive rock outcrops and convulsions of terrain, until it descends a hanging valley of low scrub to join urban streets and quiet back ways to your destination.
A taxi journey from your hotel in Cassis starts your day, the earlier the better. A smooth 20 min ride will leave you at the end of the Chemin de Semaphore overlooking the disused dockyards of La Ciotat. Look backwards as you approach the Semaphore Station for a view of Les Trois Secs, Le Bec de l'Aigle and Isle Verte and within an hour you will be standing at the observation table next to the white signal station. Turning inland, you can review your routes of the previous three days as the path snakes along the Cliffs of Soubeyranes, passing Grande Tete and Cap Canaille. On reaching the Belvedere des Calanques, you descend through the quiet valley beneath La Route des Cretes before finally joining the quiet back road by the vineyards of Cassis.
Always check the weather before setting off, and take heed of any paths that have been closed by the authorities.
Temperatures in Provence can soar, and you can't always rely on passing a water supply on your walk. Take at least 2 litres of water per person, perhaps even more on very hot days. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink, and take regular sips as you go.
There is no where to pick up food or drink along the way so a picnic and plenty of water is necessary. You can ask you hotel to provide this (always ask upon check-in) or you can pick up supplies from the local bakery or supermarket before setting off.
Points of Interest
1) Le Bec de L'Aigle - or Eagle's Beak, is so named after its profile when viewed from the sea.
2) Sapeurs-Pompiers - The Fire Services in France are known as “sapeurs-pompiers” except in Marseille where they are “marins-pompiers”, and trace their origins back to Napoleon's military engineers. However, the great majority of France's 250,000 firefighters, some 95%, are civilians of whom 80% are volunteers. Like the Fire Service, the Securite Civile is part of the French Ministry of Interior, and it provides emergency capability of a more specialised nature; coast guard, bomb disposal, mountain rescue, air ambulance. In Provence perhaps its most visible presence is the yellow and red, amphibious water-bomber, the CL415 “Superscoop” which replenishes its supplies with a brief touchdown on the nearest suitable stretch of open water during operations.
3) Cap Canaille - is the headland overlooking Cassis, where can be found the Falaises de Soubeyrannes, the highest sea cliffs in France.
4) Cassis Wine - Not to be confused with the liqueur Creme de Cassis, the fresh white wines of the area tend to be consumed locally. Having suffered in the devastating European plague of plant louse in 1865, its former reputation for dessert wines changed when the stock was rebuilt with vines from the United States