Friday, June 22, 2012

Luminy (Marseille): Les Calanques, Crete and Cap Morgiou and Morgiou village.

Morgiou Plage

Calananques de Morgiou et Sugiton
This walk is perhaps the best introduction to the Calanques you can make in one day. Essentially, you follow several mountain ridges (cretes) all the way from Luminy to Cap Morgiou with fantastic views of Marseille city in the beginning; thereafter the sea with all its islands and finally the Calanques themselves, Morgiou, Sugiton, St.-Jean de Dieu, Devenson etc. with the massive wall of la Grande Candelle in the background. You finish the walk by returning down to the old fishing village of Morgiou where you have a nice bar/restaurant and some small beaches.

The area is normally closed to the public from 1st July till 15th September (except for morning walks till 11 am) because of the risk of forest fires. But call 0811 201313 for exact information.

Drive down to Cassis and take the main road towards Marseille (D 559). At the round-about just after the plateau, take left for Luminy (University of Marseille) and park as far in as you can get on the large car park. The walk starts here going straight south on the main dirt road that passes the forest police check-point.
As you can see on the map, the dotted yellow 6a trail is the only trail marked from the car park, but it could be difficult to find the yellow dots. The easiest is to follow this road to the large intersection with GR 51 & 98 (about 20 minutes) and here take the GR sharply to the right (westwards). After only some 750 meters, you have a large intersection, and here we prefer to take the yellow markings (yellow 6) that takes off on a trail to the left of the road. This will give you a ridge with a fine view of the University and later Marseille city. If you want a bit more “remote” trail, take the green marking (green 6). The two routes will join up at the 198 meter point further up.

Keep following the yellow 6 trail to the 213 meter point (about 1h). Here you cross the little road that you could use to drive down to Morgiou out of season (closed for normal traffic July-September). You keep following the yellow 6 trail, but at the large intersection only some 350 meters further on, you continue straight on the blue 1 trail for Cap Morgiou (do not turn right down into the valley).

You will now follow Crete de Morgiou all the way out to the tip of Cap Morgiou. On the way you will pass the return trail to Morgiou (Black 4 trail) on the 85 meter point (2h 15min). Enjoy the views in all directions! From here it’s only 20 minutes down to Cap Morgiou, where you can find some shelter from the wind and the sun.
You return to Morgiou by the same trail up to the 85 meter point and simply turn right down the black 4 trail to Morgiou (about 1h from Cap Morgiou). Here you could start with a swim at the local beach (If it’s full, continue along the sea front around the property that is just after the beach, where there is yet another small beach.) You might also like a coffee or a drink in the local bar/restaurant (tel. 04-9140-0637 for opening hours). They also serve lunches (somewhat pricy and no credit cards accepted, but with such a location …) and in particular they normally have a good selection of to-days catch of fish.

The return walk to Luminy will take you about one hour and I suggest the easy route (without ladder/rope). From the Bar in the village, follow the main road back up for about 15 minutes. Here you have a track road taking off to the left (with a barrier), but you want the yellow 7 trail taking right at the same point (it’s really the red 6 trail for the first 40 meters). Just follow the yellow 7 trail till it meets up with the yellow spotted 6a trail (also an alternative return route, but with one tricky point to watch out for). Go on up to the GR-trail and back to Luminy the way you came this morning (1h).

Walk variation - Our new favourite walk in the Calanques.

Park at the new main parking next to the Business School. (Approaching Luminy - take right in the last round-about before Luminy and simply follow P-signs from here. Much easier parking en plus!) From here you get to Col de Morgiou 20 minutes faster and we found that from here we could combine the 2 walks described on this blog in a 4 hours effective walk (Crete and Cape Morgiou AND Calanques de Morgiou AND Sugiton). This "refinement" makes this our prefered walk in the Calanques. From the end of the parking, take the Blue 7 path marked for Morgiou, and you will be on Col de Morgiou in 40 minutes (use your map). Another 30 minutes and you have "le Carrefour" where the Red 5 crosses. Another 30 minutes and you see down to to the carrefour where the Black 4 starts back in to Morgiou. (You need, however approx. 20 minutes to get down this steep end of the ridge on lots of rolling stones, so if this concerns you, take the Red 5 back down to Morgiou.)
The Black 4 will take you about 30 minutes to Morgiou and from here you follow the coast all the way around to Calanque de Sugiton on Red 6 path - total approx. 45 minutes.

The next strech of coastal path has 2 difficult passages; one steep rock climbing and a descent on a fixed ladder. From Morgiou Village, however, you could return directly to Luminy in about 1 hour. For the direct return to Luminy, you have an easy route and a more difficult route (more scenic). For the easy route, follow the road north-west from the Village about 1km and turn right here onto the path7 for Luminy. For the more interesting walk, start off from the Village on the red 6 for Sugiton, but very soon after the first beach you take sharp left on the 6a path (the intersection is almost at the highest point). 

From Calanque de Sugiton you have a good 30 minutes climb up towards Luminy before you reach the Citerne at 215 meters. From here it will take about 35 minutes back to the car, provided to find the narrow pathway between the "old" parking and where the car is parked. Just ask for the path for the Business School.

Basic information:

Duration:       4.5h (+ 2h lunch and swimming)
Distance:       13 km.
Ascent:          500 m (accumulated)
Difficulty:       Moderate
Map:              IGN Les Calanques de Marseille á Cassis (1cm=150 m)
GPX-file:        Luminy2.gpx    (Click for free download from list)

VisoRando Lien:
Pour le fichier GPX, vous pouvez télécharger à partir d'ici (voir ci-dessus) ou mettre à jour via ce lien VisoRando où vous pourrez également voir l'itinéraire sur une bonne carte.

For the GPX-file, you could download from here (see just above) or update through this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map.

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