Ages since I’ve been out in the Parc National des Calanques on my classic Marin mountain bike but a reminder of the clearer air and the views quite specific to the Calanques around Marseille. The cloudy-bright day was better as it’s easily too hot when there’s full sun, also only a light breeze not a violent Mistral. Sun-baked limestone is particularly sharp so rough on the tyres. I took my picnic just down from the summit of Le Baou Rond (282 m.) with views along the coast and back to Marseille. Big geology. Herbes de Provence grow wild up here: rosemary showing its blue flowers now; thyme and savory are around too.
Bit of carrying, chain off once, not a bad ride though I kept off the most technical paths and the Marin’s rim brakes aren’t trustable at speed for the long downhill ride out.
Urban rides to and from the parc boundary took about 45 minutes each way, there’s a choice of routes. I followed signs through Marseille up to Morgiou, including passing the grim old gates to the Prisons des Baumettes, which the tourist office doesn’t feature very often in their guides. The modern gate is some way up the road. On the way down, I took the cycle superhighways along Boulevard Michelet past the Stade Vélodrome (home of OM, Olympique de Marseille) to Place Castellane.