Calanques National Park is a national park located in southern France, established in 2012. It extends over 520 km2 (201 sq miles), of which 85 km2 (33 sq mi) is land, while the remaining is marine area. It includes parts of the Massif des Calanques stretching between Marseille and Cassis.

Following significant legislative reform in 2006, French national parks comprise two types of area: the Park Core and the Surrounding Area.

The Areas in a National Park

The Park Core has the highest level of protection thanks to specific regulations. In addition to its Land Core area, the Calanques National Park is an unusual in that it has a Marine Core, like Port-Cros and Guadeloupe National Parks.

  • Calanques National Park Land Core: 8,500 hectares
  • Calanques National Park Marine Core: 43,500 hectares

The Surrounding Area on land provides environmental solidarity with the Core. Municipalities can choose to belong to the area, in order to promote their sustainable development, with the support of the National Park. Marseille, Cassis and La Penne-sur-Huveaune have chosen to belong to this area for the Calanques National Park. They form the National Park’s Surrounding Area, which was validated by the Prefectoral Order of 19 September 2012.

  • Calanques National Park Surrounding Area: 2,630 hectares

The Adjacent Marine Area also sets out themes for sustainable development, but municipalities do not sign up to it.

  • Adjacent Marine Area: 97,800 hectares

Origins of the Park

The Calanques site, with its distinctive land and marine Mediterranean Provence landscapes, is known around the world for its beautiful landscapes, outstanding biodiversity and cultural heritage.

This natural gem is located on the edge of France’s second city and faces multiple pressures (urban pressure, pollution, excessive visitor numbers, over-fishing, forest fires, etc.). Local residents and users have sought to protect the site for almost a century.

The idea of a national park was first mentioned almost 40 years ago, but it was not until the 1990s that people realised the urgency of acting to preserve this exceptional heritage, leading to the creation of the Calanques Groupement d’intérêt public (GIP – Public Interest Grouping) in 1999. This was initiated by Mr Guy Teissier and has been chaired by him ever since. The bringing together of state representatives and its public institutions, local authorities and members of civil society (environmental protection, user, owner, resident and professional associations) in the GIP, and the French Act of 14 April 2006 to reform national parks, were determining factors in seeing the realisation of plans for this national park.

National parks are public institutions financed by the French Government and are a tool for excellence in environmental protection across France. It was the only tool that seemed truly capable of tackling the issues in the Calanques, and the best adapted for the sustainable protection and management of a land, marine and semi-urban area.

The former Prime Minister’s signature of the Decree for the Creation of the Calanques National Park on 18 April 2012 finalised the creation of the 10th French national park.

The Calanques National Park covers land, marine and semi-urban areas, and its creation is the realisation of one of the key commitments of the French Grenelle de l’Environnement environment round table. It is the first national park in mainland France since 1979, and is the first to have been entirely designed in line with the provisions of the French Act of 14 April 2006, which significantly reformed processes for creating and managing French national parks.

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