Réserver une balade en mer

04 42 01 80 01

Départ sur la grande plage

13260 Cassis, France.


Flora, fauna and ecosystem

Flora, fauna and ecosystem

Together preserve the fragile environment.



Thank you to respect its ecosystem.

Birth creeks

There are 140 million years since the Mesozoic era, Provence was under the sea. There was then an accumulation of sedimentary layers. During the Tertiary, there were 60 million years, emerging sedimentary layers by the overlapping of African and European tectonic plates. The Pyrenean chain – Provencal including the Pyrenees, Corsica and Sardinia appeared. There are 6 million years: the very hot climate caused the drying up of the Mediterranean by evaporation. Canyons formed as the pit Cassidagne, 1000m deep. Then there are 1.5 million years, the Quaternary era, alternating glacial periods interspersed with climate warming that resuledt in movements in the level of the sea. Cold rain and corrosive acids accentuated the digging of the Creeks and formed the current landscape.

Cliffs iover secret beaches, turquoise waters flowery bush, creeks do not finish to delight the eye.

Between Cassis and Marseille, the 25 kilometers of jagged coast contain twenty creeks. Nearly 145 km of marked paths allow to walk in the area of 5000 hectares of creeks.

This place of wild beauty caused by fragrant vegetation, the harshness of the rock and the proximity of the sea does not cease to amaze you


The Calanques is composed of shelly limestone called Urgonien. There are many fossils visible, particularly on the peninsula of Port -Miou. Cape Canaille forms an older massif. Today it is an alternation of white limestone, clay and sandstone decomposition (detrital rock). Cliffs Soubeyrannes in Eastern Cape, before arriving in La Ciotat, are composed of conglomerates (pebbles cemented into sand) and indicate the presence of a delta in this location. Indeed, a river flowied from a mountain, where now stands the sea, to the north.


The Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry and mild summers , with wet winters. The summer drought is a typical Mediterranean climate: during the warmer months, rainfall becomes scarce or nonexistent, and the sky is bright and clear. The subtropical anticyclone covers back in latitude in the Mediterranean regions. However, winters are well watered in regions not too sheltered from maritime influences. The other characteristic of the Mediterranean environment in rainfall is of low frequency and intensity. If the average annual totals are between 300 and 1000 mm (a little more in some mountains), the frequency is low: less than 100 days per year. The mistral in Provence and Catalonia, is a cold drying wind, blowing over the European continent towards the sea. In general, sometimes violent winds clear the sky and makes it remarkably sunny, and in Sirocco and Khamsin, hot, dry winds blow from Africa to the sea.

A natural heritage

Forest habitats

The interest of the forest territory, excluding the coastal part, discussed below, is mainly made of yeuseraies (= plantings of oaks or Qercus ilex) relict coppice and sometimes mixed or dominated by pubescent oaks. In cooler areas, some pine woods (= pine plantation) are in the process of evolution towards a potentially green oak forest in the soil’s best conditions.  Changing shrublands (= plant formation formed shrubs or shrubs) can be favorable to hardwoods, and to that end, the pubescent oak. In Roquefort-La-Bédoule, there is also a small natural “yeuseraie” mature high forest which is a rare ecosystem because it is probably in the final stage of plant succession. This type of stand, a very favorable structure and conservation, is extremely rare on the scale of Provence limestone.

Rocky habitats

These habitats include the lapiazs and boulders, cliffs and caves where many specialized and unique species, (bats, cave birds, vegetation chasmophytic = that grows in small accumulations in earth cracks and crevices of the rocky areas) take refuge of high heritage value living almost strictly in these environments. . The lapiazs limestone boulders contribute to the biological characteristic, ecological and landscape planning. The biological importance of this habitat is related to the presence of a predominantly consistent form of flora therophytes (= annual plants die after breeding) specialist, whose Sabline of Provence or Poison Gouffé (Arenaria provincialis). It is highly vulnerable vis-à-vis the destabilization by trampling.


The crests of habitats

Some massive ridges are dominated by apical lawns Genet Lobel (Genista Lobelli), endemic to Basse Provence. They extend from the coast, where the stations are relict and endangered mainly by trampling (Cape Dirty, Puget Carpiagne, Marseilleveyre) to beyond the national park in the continental ridge tops of the Sainte Baume of the Holy victory where it finds its ecological optimum.


Coastal habitats

They focus the remarkable biodiversity both in terms of the presence of species to species associations, from the sea to the peaks of coastal cliffs. On this strip, a few hundred meters are particularly subject to the influences of salinity and wind succeeds to the caddis fly (= low shrubland on rocks), the coastal scrubland nested in with the climax pine forest of Aleppo pine and the training red Cedar. Mediterranean dune grasslands on the island of Riou and low spurge formations, present on the Friuli, are rare habitats throughout the Mediterranean. Similarly, stands of wild Olivier and carob trees are in the Cape rabble and some valleys, and green oak copse sometimes generally consisting of old trees, on siliceous regolith ion the valley floor or foot cliffs (of Bec eagle,) are particularly noteworthy and important in biogeographical and landscape levels. Over 50% of the vegetation Friuli consists of six coastal habitats of Community interest. Mediterranean dunes on the island of Riou and low spurge formations presenting on the Friuli are rare habitats throughout the Mediterranean. Similarly stands of wild Olivier and carob trees in the Cape rabble and some valleys, and green oak copse and sometimes generally consist of old trees, on siliceous regolith in valley floor or foot cliffs (of Bec eagle) are particularly noteworthy and important in biogeographical and landscape level. Over 50% of the vegetation Friuli consists of six coastal habitats of Community interest.


These coastal habitats

They are concentrates of rare or protected species, some of which are endemic to Provence but they are also on the mainland and Friuli, the most impacted by human activities. Coastal cliffs (Archipelagos of Friuli and Riou, Devenson, Castelviel, Soubeyrannes) represent refuges for wildlife and range limits of certain plant species in Mediterranean thermo affinity. As refuges, are the sites of major interest for the breeding avifauna sedentary rock (ash Puffins and yelkouan, storm petrel and shag for seabirds, peregrine falcon, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, etc.), food wintering migratory avifauna consists of montane rarities (Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor, Swallow rock Chough red Beak, etc.) and the role of houses for bats (Miniopterus Schreiber, the European free-tailed bat and Savi’s pipistrelle, etc.) especially during hibernation.


Earth side: a remarkable biodiversity

Located in a southern position coastline here has a Mediterranean climate with very little rainfall, high evaporation due to sun and wind, and significant permeability due to the fractured nature of the land, and limestone. In addition, along the coast (especially since Marseille towards Calle long and beyond), salt spray plants require an additional constraint. The extremely slow regeneration of soil overwhelmingly made up of limestone substrates is an important feature of this coastline. The complexity of environmental conditions and facies diversity makes this coastal portion a place of great biological interest. An image is often used by botanists to characterize this mosaic vegetation coastlines massive « grows in size countless pots, depth and soil composition each time different. » The orientation of the slopes, the relief, the substrate and the distance to the coastline determine the layering of vegetation and wildlife. And from the coast to the hills of the hinterland, physical conditions are more conducive to the development of vegetation including situation and shady valley floor.


Sea side: a unique natural heritage


The Posidonia meadow

Posidonia is a marine flowering plant, slow root growth (1 century to 1 m) and endemic to the Mediterranean. Largest producer of oxygen and stabilization funds, the Posidonia meadow serves as a nursery, refuge and food to a rich and diverse wildlife.

One can see many fish species like saupe the sar girelle the hippocampus where besides many invertebrates such as sea urchin diadem which has spines up to 10 cm.


The Mid-littoral rock bottom

This habitat is conditioned by the presence of irregular waves and variations in atmospheric pressure and winds. It is mainly characterized by the presence of encrusting algae and varies with the nature of the substrate and the humidity level. The corbelled (or sidewalk) Lithophyllum lichenoides is the characteristic facies of the lower intertidal rock. These sidewalks are formed at the land-sea interface, in areas battered by waves from a red alga calcifying. Centuries are required for such training reaches 1 meter wide. This habitat is home to many crustaceans (crabs), anemones (sea anemone tomato or common), sponges, mollusks (Arapède) …


The sandbanks slightly covered by sea water

They occupy all the funds coves and inlets to the upper limit of the Posidonia meadow. These areas of fine sands calibrated, generally very low and regular slope, are influenced by the swell from the open sea. This habitat helps to maintain the balance of beaches and also a feeding area for flatfish.


The biocenosis of semi-dark caves

This habitat corresponds to the vertical drop offs, overhangs, entrances of caves and tunnels. Factors such as the light and hydrodynamics are reduced and hardly know no variation. The algae (due to very mild brightness) and herbivores are virtually absent from the biocenosis of semi-dark caves. Many crustaceans (lobsters, crickets, cave shrimp …), fish (mostelles, corb, congress …) and several species of fauna attached (anemones, red coral, sponges, Neptune lace …) are characteristic of this habitat. These environments are particularly popular with divers because they are of high aesthetic value landscape thanks colorful wildlife they support. Further offshore, cetaceans are observed, as the Grand Dauphin and the Striped Dolphin, Fin whale or who, after the blue whale, and with a length of about 20 m, is the second largest living animal on planet.


Roche subtidal algae to photophilous

This habitat is located in the infralittoral zone, up to 20 meters deep. This is a bedrock dominated by algal stands photophilous, whose presence depends on the light penetration. It is, therefore, very sensitive to water turbidity. It is an extremely rich and diverse habitat, including several hundred species which feed on many fish.



It is considered one of the habitats with the highest ecological value of the Mediterranean. This is a set of biological structures of soft or calcareous algae which is in the form of massive very craggy concretions. Coralligenous meets on horizontal rock walls or along rocky drop-offs between 20 and 70 meters deep. This habitat is in the current areas, life is very rich. Taking advantage of the slightest gap, coral, sea fans, sponges, fish, crustaceans or to wage a battle for space and light.



Creek of Port Miou

The creek of Port-Miou is the first from Cassis. It is an old limestone quarry, used for the Suez Canal. Very curvy, Port Miou way deep inland and is a natural harbor that accommodates over 600 boats.


Creek of Port Pin

A little caution is needed before reaching the smallest creeks of Cassis. The creek of Port Pin named Aleppo pines, appears as balanced on the rock. This dream location features a sandy beach with a generous pine forest. The curiosity of the site is the prompter’s box: a kind of cave where the waves rush in the hunt with air force. This air escapes through a pipe and on windy days, sometimes we hear it blow up in a radius of 100 meters. The Cassis stone, this compact and hard rock, which is full of rudists, lamellibranches horn-shaped shell, was quarried from the tip Cacau in 1720. It was loaded into ships with a hopper system. It was made famous by the fact that it served as the foundation for the Statue of Liberty.



This is one of the most beautiful creeks of the region but also one of the most remote: the only way to reach it is walking or boat. En-Vau, is so wedged between the rocks as the sun does not have much time each day to warm the water there. The background is a pebble beach. A lookout at the top of the cove offers a remarkable view on it. We particularly noticed a rocky needle called « Finger of God.


The creek Oule

It’s like an open mouth on the sea. The cliffs rise abruptly from 170m above the sea and are a kind of limestone with lace. Its name comes from that of the Provencal Oulo means « pot » or « cauldron ». Indeed, very wedged between cliffs, it is accessible only by sea or abseiling. It is overlooked by the Belvedere cliff climbing route includes the « Future Croulants » A semi submerged cave at its base is a possible dive site.


The towering cliffs of Devenson

Drawn in large vertical organs, they dive on the green waters of the Creek Devenson. These cliffs continue on 2 kms to 300 m high