Friday, December 6, 2019

Col de Sormiou: Calanque de Marseilleveyre par le Plateau de l’Homme Mort and Col de la Selle.

This part of the coastline is one of the best for combining hiking and swimming, and don’t be surprise to find the temperature in the Mediterranean still at 18 degrees well into November. Here you will find perhaps the largest and best beach in the Calanques: Calanque de Marseilleveyre. Here you could also have a drink or coffees at the  Bar/Restaurant (no road or electricity out here, so deliveries by small boats).

We often leave Pertuis at 9h30 to avoide traffic, arriving at Marseille Vieux Port tunnel at about 10h15. Follow for Pharo – Les Plages and drive along the Corniche de Marseille for 10-20 minutes (depending on traffic) to the round-about at Plage Bonneveine. Take left here and keep following for Mazargues and Sormiou. You should be at Sormiou in another 5-6 minutes after the round-about.

Calanque de Podestat
You will pass la Crayolle with its large shopping area (incl. Decatlon) and the road may stop at a barrier at the parking marked on the map by the large sewage complex marked “St. epur” on the map. In winter/spring (November to March) the road is open for traffic, so simply drive on to the highest point on the road (Col de Sormiou) and park here. In the summer/autumn you must call the day before (after 18.00) to check if the Calanques are not closed for walking (see Safety and Practicalities under Pages in this Blog) and walk from the parking up to the col (only  about 15 minutes).

From spring 2018, the road up to Col de Sormiou is closed for ordinary traffic from 31 March to 4 November! This means that you park the car below the Col (just before the barrier) and walk the 15 minutes up to the Col. So you need to add 30 minutes to the duration of the walk.

You start walking westwards on joint GR51&98 and Black path. You quickly arrive at  Col de Cortiou (8-10 minutes) and here you take right on the blue path going still further upwards. Fantastic views of the Calanques, the Sea and Marseille. A very steep 15 meters rock wall must be climbed with the help of the hands, but no problem for an experienced mountain walker.

Calanque de Marseilleveyre
After about 50 minutes from the car, a green path crosses your path. You just continue straight on, but this green path to the left could be an interesting short cut over to Grand Malvallon valley and finally down to the sea (see your map). After about 1h from the car, a yellow path will join your blue path and after another 25 minutes you are at Col de la Selle, where you take left on the green path and start the descent into the Grand Malvallon valley. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the beach, so if you can’t wait that long for your lunch, you better take it up here as there isn’t a lot of nice places to lunch before the beach.

Calanque de Podestat
Calanque de Marseilleveyr is probably the biggest and best beach between Callelongue (Marseille) and Cassis and it has an old charming beach restaurant. It used to be open 363 days a year, but now you need to check their Facebook page for opening ours (winter time 12.00 – 14.30), but some days closed.

Follow the sea side back towards Col de Sormiou along the GR51 and GR98 (also marked black). After 25 minutes, take off the GR path and down into the Calanque de Podestat, also a charming place and good for swimming. When you exit this place, make sure you don’t take the first path you see. You should in fact take the last path you see on your right (going inwards in the valley), marked with “Cassis” on a stone. This is a very good path and you will have no problems here.

The GR path will start rising but you go through a fantastic mountainous landscape here along the coast. You shold be back up on Col de Conrtiou in about an hour and back down at the car on Col de Sormiou in 5-10 minutes.

Basic information:

Duration:         5,5h ( Group of 10, including 1h for lunch)
Distance:        10 km.
Ascent:           550 m (accumulated)
Difficulty:        Medium to Difficult (Climb 15m cliff and steep descents)
Start/finish:     Col de Sormiou (Marseille – Mazargues – la Cayolle)
Map:               IGN Les Calanques de Marseille á Cassis (1cm=150 m)
GPX:              Col_Sormiou1   (Link to 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 go to this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map.

If you have problems with this VisoRando link, download the GPX-file (Vitrolles1) from above and import it to VisoRando or other application.

28.02.2020: Bjorn, 10.00 - 15.45 (2,5h + 2,0h).

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