This self-drive 12-day itinerary highlights the best of the Rhône Valley, from north to south. Perfect for the whole family, you'll start in food forward Lyon, then work your way through the colorful countryside of Provence and down to Marseille on the Mediterranean coast. Along the way, you'll taste full-bodied wines, marvel at ancient Roman ingenuity, and enjoy the majestic beauty that is southern France.
Set just outside of Marseille, you'll find the scenic Calanques National Park. This is one of Europe's newer protected areas, as it was established in 2012. It's unique in that it comprises over 100,000 acres (520 sq km) between Marseilles and the seaside town of La Ciotat, protecting both land and sea. This is a natural treasure of France's Mediterranean coast, and one of the best ways to experience it is on a kayak outing.
As you paddle through the clear waters, you'll make stops at some of the Calanques most famous hidden coves and bays, plus take a break in the charming fishing village of Cassis. During the excursion, you won't find a shortage of stunning scenery, including towering limestone cliffs and crystalline waters that shine various shades of green and blue.
This precious area is only accessible by boat, so it's possible to enjoy all this majestic beauty in relative quiet, away from the tourist crowds. Better yet, if the conditions allow, this outing can be scheduled for later in the day to ensure the end of the trip features prime views of that beautiful Mediterranean sunset.
Discover more active excursions in France and other unique experiences in and around Marseille.
Itineraries with Kayak in Calanques National Park
One region that perfectly encapsulates France's rich culture is Provence. On a self-drive tour, you'll stop in historic cities like Marseille and Aix-en-Provence as well as hilltop villages like Uzès and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. As an added treat you'll hike canyons, kayak along the coast, and participate in a cooking class and wine tour.