Friday, March 20, 2020

Les Goudes (Marseille): Sommet de Marseilleveyre (433m), Grotte de Saint-Michel, Col de la Selle, Col de la Galinette and Calanque de Marseilleveyre.

Les Goudes
This is a fantastic mountain walk only some 7 km from the centre of Marseille. Best for winter and out of the hot season (little shade), but to be avoided in high winds and in wet weather. The view as just superb all the way and the 360 degrees views from the top of Marseilleveyre is magnificent. As a bonus you pass the massive Cave de Saint-Michel on the way up. Well worth a visit (15 minutes extra). From early May till almost Christmas time you could also take a refreshing swim at the beach at Calanque de Marseilleveyre on the way back (30 minutes extra for the swim). You could also visit the tiny Port des Croisette and Cap Croisette on the way back to les Goudes (extra 20 minutes all the way out).

Attention: This area is often closed to the public from 1st June till 30th September because of the risk of forest fires. But call 0811 201313 for exact information.

On the way up to Sommet de Marseilleveyre.
You park anywhere near Port des Goudes (no problems out of season) and start the walk up Chemin de la Batterie. This is the Red trail No 1 on the map (marked red in the terrain) and after only 15 minutes you join the GR51-98 trail for a short while further uphill. After only some 5 minutes, the Red No 1 trail leaves the GR trail off to the left (well marked on stone). Some 25 minutes later and much higher up, the red trail joins a yellow marked trail. You want to stay on the yellow trail No 3 (takes off shortly to the right) in order to see the Cave Saint-Michel (5-6 minute’s walk – one way) and you see the massive entrance from far away. It’s a massive big Cave worth visiting for a look (lamp recommended).

You might have noticed that Green trail No. 1 joined your yellow walk on the small hill top before you reached the Cave. To continue the walk you want the joint yellow/green trail back to the hill top, where you want to take off to the right along the Green No 1 trail heading north here. You follow the green trail for about 10 minutes till it joins the red trail, which is the route you want for the top of Mount Marseilleveyre, where you will be in another 40 minutes. This is the main viewpoint and it is quite a large area up there, so easy to find a place for lunch.

Grotte Saint Michel
The way down from the top on the Red 1 path is quite steep and as usual in these parts full of rolling stones. Keep a sturdy foot! The steep path you start on downhill is the joint red, yellow and blue trails. After about 15 minutes downhill, you want to branch out to the right and follow the Blue No 1 trail direct to Col de la Selle, where you will be in about 20 minutes.

It should be noted, however, that if you want to avoid this somewhat airy part of the blue trail, you could stay on the red trail all the way down and at the “bottom” take right onto a yellow trail for the climb back up to Col de la Selle. It is slightly longer, but takes about the same time and is easier walking. The only thing you will miss is keeping the hight (you walk down and up again) and the lovely views along the mountain ridge.

Sommet de Marseilleveyre
At Col de la Selle the walk turns south for the sea, and you will follow Yellow path No 2 (starts off south-west from the Col). Follow this path for about 40 minutes till you see a massive great boulder only a few meters from you on your left just before the hill top marked 149 meters. The trail is marked yellow 2b on old maps, but is no longer marked in the terrain. The path is shown on most free landscape maps, so you find the position with a GPS. Just behind this boulder you will see the path going down steeply, and you follow the steep path down till it joins the green trail No 3 going down the valley below in about 20 minutes. Now you turn right down the green path and you will be on the beach of Calanque de Marseilleveyre in about 5-6 minutes.

Here it should be noted that you could easily avoid the unmarked and steep path down from just before Col de la Galinette (at the big boulder) by taking off from the yellow trail after only some 15 minutes walk from leaving Col de la Selle. Here the Green trail No 3 takes off down into the valley and you will be on the beach in about 30 minutes (20 minutes quicker than on the longer but more scienic route along the yellow trail).

The beach at Calanque de Marseilleveyre
The beach at Calanque de Marseilleveyre is the biggest in these parts and well suited for a swim. The local café serves just coffees or full hot meals (no electricity out here, but nice basic food). The restaurant is not open every day all year around as in the old days, but you could consult their Facebook page for more information: Search for “restaurant chez le belge”.

La Grotte at Callelongue looks like any odd Cafe/Restaurant from the outside.
The main path along the sea (GR51 and Black path 2) will take you to Callelongue in about 45 minutes and the way proposed for getting back to the car will take you another 30 minutes. There is a very nice Café/Restaurant in Callelongue and in les Goudes you will also find places open. Could be well worth delaying the departure home till after rush hours! It’s worth noticing, however, that the drive back to Pertuis only took us 1 hour 10 minutes starting at 17.00 at les Goudes on a Monday in January (using the toll tunnel directly from le PRADO).

Calanque de Callelongue
For the shortest way back to the car (about 30 minutes), you walk out of Callelongue along the main road uphill all the way to the top. You turn left into the parking area here and follow first the highest path for the hill just in front of you. Well before you reach the top, however, get down on the wide path/track road going along the northern side of the hill. Follow this path passed the hill top (great views of the local harbour and Marseille all the way) and where it seems to stop, you walk up a little to join the path going down on the ridge itself in a northern direction.

Les Goudes.
Head for the monument on top of the next hill, but before you get this far you see a narrow path cut out in the rocks taking off to the right. This path takes you directly to the village les Goudes. The path takes you first down to another surfaced path which you take to the right. Very soon you see some stairs going further down directly to the harbour (with a signpost). Take down the stairs and you are soon on the main road going into les Goudes. Follow the main road into les Goude and around back to the car.

Basic information:

Duration:      6h (including 1h for lunch)
Distance:      11 km.
Ascent:         620 m (accumulated)
Difficulty:     Difficult
Start/finish:   Les Goudes or Callelongue (Marseille)
Map:              IGN Les Calanques de Marseille á Cassis (1cm=150 m)

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 from above and import it to VisoRando or other application.

2019, December, Jacky made a slightly longer walk, but without the coast.

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