Hike to the idyllic harbour of Vallon des Auffes

Hike to the idyllic harbour of Vallon des Auffes

Today we took the bus to the Vieux Port in Marseille for the first time, which turned out to be the best option as the terminus of bus line 82 is just a few meters from our accommodation.

By the way, taking the bus in Marseille is almost a dream that we would also like to see implemented in Germany: the ticket is purchased at the bus entrance using a credit card and costs 2 euros for the entire line. Simple and easy, but this time we only wanted to get to the harbor. Another tour was supposed to take us the following day to Montredon (about 26 kilometers), which also only costs 2 euros and is possible with line 83.

Via the Pharo district to the beach at Plages du Prado

marseille kleiner hafen 01From the old port we walked continuously uphill, passing the Soap Museum, then the Saint-Nicolas fortress and the Palais du Pharo to the Plage de Catalans. Up here at the Palais du Pharo, it is worth taking a short detour through the park up to the palace, as the magnificent panorama of the harbor opens up with a view of the Saint-Jean fortress opposite and the Mucem.
The Plage du Prado is located in the 8th arrondissement of the southern French metropolis and is accessed by the Promenade de Georges Pompidou, to the west of which the beach runs. The beach was artificially filled in the 1970s and 1980s on the initiative of Mayor Gaston Defferre using material from the construction of the Marseille Metro. It consists mostly of fine pebbles.

marseille kleiner hafen 02The Plage du Prado is used as a local recreation destination and as a venue for numerous sporting events, including kite flying and windsurfing.

In July 2008, the Plage du Prado hosted the 2008 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which was the first time it was held outside Brazil.

We make another stop at the beach and even use the small bay to feel the waves on our legs, but it turns out to be quite cold. In general, there is a lot of seaweed on the beach, so there is a strong smell of decomposition. Well, at least we dipped our feet in the Mediterranean again.
marseille kleiner hafen 05Just a stone's throw from the Plage des Catalans, almost directly opposite the statue of the Heroes of the Eastern Army, is a small Provençal fishing village: the "Vallon des Auffes", a very beautiful, small harbor in the middle of the big city.

There are numerous colorfully painted fishing boats and some restaurants, although they are usually quite expensive, and require reservations. Best reached by bus number 83 from “Vieux Port”. Get off at the “Vallon des Auffes” station if the walk from the Vieux Port is too far.

A stone staircase leads down to the Vallon des Auffes

marseille kleiner hafen 06Wedged between two cliffs and facing the sea, the Vallon des Auffes offers the image of an idyllic, picturesque harbor, as if Marcel Pagnol's time had stood still. The Vallon des Auffes is closely linked to the maritime and fishing profession, even its name comes from Esparto (auffo in Provençal), a granulate used to make ropes. In the 19th century, rope manufacturers settled in the natural harbor basin.

With its very colorful fishing huts and its Pointus, as the typical Marseille fishing boats are called, and its traditional and renowned restaurants, the Vallon des Auffes symbolizes the “Dolce Vita” of Marseille.
marseille kleiner hafen 03As already mentioned, access is via a narrow staircase that leads down to the bay. There is constant coming and going here. The terraces of the restaurants are full and it is better to come in the morning if you want to enjoy the bay in peace (especially in summer).

The small harbor of the Vallon des Auffes is no longer an insider tip, but it is still really picturesque. The former fishing village with its colorful houses is now popular not only with bathers, but also with gourmets. It has two culinary institutions: Chez Fonfon, known for its bouillabaisse, and the Michelin-starred restaurant L'Épuisette.
marseille kleiner hafen 07A partially quite narrow footpath leads around the bay under the viaduct and on the lake side there are more fishing boats and a sandy, but concrete-lined, almost natural bathing pool that opens out to the sea. It is noticeably calmer here and therefore much warmer, so we use the pool for our first swim, which is also used by two students and a local resident during a free period.
We let ourselves dry in the sun, climbing onto the piled up rocks that serve to protect the small harbor. Because the Mediterranean can be completely different, as we were able to experience over the following two days, but more on that later.

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Life | Outdoors