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Route des Cretes visitor guide

Photo of Route des Cretes in Cote d'Azur (Provence region)
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Visit Route des Cretes, France

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The Route des Cretes is a very scenic coast road between Cassis and La Ciotat in Provence to the south-east of Marseille.

Note: there are several other routes called 'route des cretes' in France, including one on the northern rim of the Gorges du Verdon, also in Provence, and another in the Vosges region of north-east France. This article is referring to the cliiftop route on the coast in the Bouches-du-Rhone department.

Follow the Route des Cretes in Provence

France This Way comment: the Route des Cretes is one of the most scenic coast roads in France - it often features on lists of the best coastal drives in the Mediterranean - and although it is not very long a visit is highly recommended when you are in this region

Road along the Route des Cretes towards Cassis

The Route des Cretes follows along the cliffs in the region known as the Falaises Soubeyranes. The D141 road along the cliffs is about 15 kilometres long and at its highest point allows you to reach an altitude of 394 metres. The cliffs here are the highest sea cliffs in France and among the highest in Europe. The main part of the cliffs is between Cap Canaille (the highest point) and the Bec de l'Aigle.

There are various places along the route where you can stop the car to better appreciate the views or walk along the footpath that follows the cliffs to have more views. From the Route des Cretes you have remarkable view across the bay of La Ciotat, towards Marseille and its islands to the west and towards Bandol to the east.

Completing the route des cretes takes about one hour if you drive and stop for photos. Of course, if you plan to also walk along the path or stop for a picnic you might need to allow rather longer!

We usually find that the road is not too crowded but we have always visited slightly outside high season. The road is not too challenging but does have quite a lot of sharp bends and places where you are driving quite close to cliffs and I am aware that some drivers find it a bit scary!

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It is possible to follow the entire route on foot. Cycling along the road is also of course possible if you are able to tackle the hills at either end of the route but the number of cars on the road would probably make it a bit less than enjoyable in the busier seasons.

The scenery along the Route des Cretes is best around sunset, but worth seeing at any time of day. I have been told  that the road is sometimes closed if the weather is very windy, although we have driven it several times with no problems so hopefully this is quite unusual.

I should also mention that there are not many barriers along the cliffs except in the main parking areas, so when you stop to get out of the car don't let the children get out first and rush towards the edge! Caution will be needed if the rocks along the clifftop are wet and slippery.

View from the clifftops

Attractions nearby

The principal attractions are the towns at either end of the Route des Cretes: La Ciotat to the east and Cassis to the west. Both merit a visit, especially Cassis which is one of our favourite small resorts in France.

If you follow the coast to the west of Cassis towards Marseille you can discover the Calanques de Marseille. Now protected as part of a natural park, the calanques are perhaps the most beautiful coast in France and can be visited on foot or by boat trip from the harbour in Cassis.

See more scenic highlights in France. You can find more travel ideas in the Bouches-du-Rhone guide and the Provence guide.

See also: 

Photos of Route des Cretes

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • along-the-cliffs
  • along-the-route
  • clifftops
  • highest-cliffs-in-france
  • rocks-along-path
  • various-rock-types
  • view-to-cassis

Map of Route des Cretes and places nearby

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Visit near Route des Cretes with France This Way reviews

La Ciotat

La Ciotat

The attractive harbour and numerous chapels in the old town are the main attraction in La Ciotat

La Ciotat guide
Cassis

Cassis

The harbour area of Cassis, its beach and proximity to the Calanques de Marseille all help ensure the popularity of Cassis

Cassis guide
Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer

Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer

The beaches such as Les Lecques, the forest and the pleasant town make Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer a popular summer resort

Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer guide
Aubagne

Aubagne

The small market town of Aubagne is best known for its association with Marcel Pagnol, the famous French author

Aubagne guide
Calanques at Marseille

Calanques at Marseille

The white cliffs of the Calanques de Marseille plunging into the deep blue sea make it one of our favourite coastlines in France

Calanques at Marseille guide
Bandol

Bandol

The beach and the harbour, the bustling old town and the vineyards nearby all contribute to making Bandol a very popular destination

Bandol guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Bouches-du-Rhone

The French version of this page is at Route des Cretes (Francais)

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