Sunday, June 9, 2013

Les Calanques: La Grande Candelle and Calanque de Sugiton

Calanque de Sugiton
This walk combines a low altitude trail along the sea (between 10 and 100 meters above sea level) with a high altitude trail for the return trip (around 300 meters), and with stunning views all along, especially of the Calanque de Sugiton. The only snag is that the trail combining the two trails have a rather difficult passage with a number of chains and iron fixings for your support. In any case, this is not a walk for anyone with vertigo problems. You should also be aware of the fact that the low altitude trail (red 6 trail) passed la Grande Candelle has a risk of falling rocks from above.

In addition, this 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.

The walk starts off on the low altitude trail going east from Luminy with good contact with the sea. If the difficult passage proves too difficult, it is only to turn around and enjoy some of the small trails down towards the sea (you could get all the way down in places, especially around ”le Tonneau”). It would still be a very nice walk. You could also visit Calanque de Sugiton for a swim on the way back.

Below Grande Candelle
Park the car in the large car park outside the University of Liminy and take the main forest road going straight south (yellow 6a on the map). After about 20-25 minutes walk you are at a big junction with a Citerne (water reservoir) at the 215 meter point. Here you take slightly to the left, following the trail marked GR, yellow and green 6. After another 20 minutes, the red 6 trail joins the forest road and after only another 50 meters, you take right along the continuation of this red 6 trail going east along the ”Falaise des Toits”.

On the 139 meter point, after only another 10 minutes walk (about 50 minutes from the car) you have a very nice view point down on your right with a few shady pine trees (marked on the map with a black spot). If your walk started late in the morning, this would be an ideal spot for lunch. The alternatives for lunch are after another 15 minutes (a smaller view point) or after 30 minutes (the point where the trail turns north, just before the difficult passage).

When you pass just above the large rock in the sea called ”le Tonneau”, you will notice small trails going down towards the sea. This could also be worth exploring  with lunch in mind. On this side of ”le Tonneau”, there is another big rock in the sea nearer land that seems to be popular among some to jump onto.

After the last ”beach” (about 1.5 hours from the car excluding breaks, the path goes steeply uphill and turns north in order to join the GR trail back to Luminy. After only 10 minutes you meet the difficult passage (marked with a red triangle on the map). But with good help of a number of different chains and metal fixings in the steep mountain side, I had no problems getting up (or down), but I see that many people have problems, so I have classified this walk as difficult for this reason.

Because of the the steep climb from almost 0 meters to about 350 meters where you meet the GR trail, you need to recon on a good 30 minutes before you see the GR signs. You could explore one of the short cuts indicated on the map (I have not tried them), but you will eventually be on Col de la Candelle, just behind la Grande Candella.

Continue along the GR trail (and yellow and green 6) westwards. You are high up with fantastic views, so take your time. When you are about straight above “le Torpilleur” in Calanque de Sugiton, the trail turns sharply downwards, and it descends fairly steeply about 60 meters. When the trail levels off again, you will very soon see a large cairn and a sign for a different walk down to the left (back eastwards). But you continue the yellow 6 and 6a all the way back to Luminy.



Basic information:

Duration:        6h (including 1h for lunch)
Distance:       12 km.
Ascent:           500 m (accumulated)
Difficulty:        Difficult
Start/finish:    Luminy (Parking at the University)
Map:               IGN Les Calanques de Marseille รก Cassis (1cm=150 m)



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