This summer, the Calanques are being classified as a National Park and join the short list of landmark parks of its kind in the world.
Between Marseilles and the town of La Ciotat lies the Calanques National Park. It is one of the few in the world to cover land and sea as well as be on the edge of a large metropolis, it is unique in Europe, and is the first to develop in proximity to a major urban area. In its case, next to Marseilles - France's second largest city.
With 43,500 hectares of marine area and 8,500 on land, this highly protected National Park is famed for its striking natural beauty and is one of the region's most prized assets.
The area encompasses unparalleled geological, botanical, zoological and ecological qualities as the number of protected and listed species of both flora and fauna is nothing short of impressive: 139 protected land species, 62 protected marine species and 900 listed on the inventories of special interest.
Additionally, parts of the Calanques date back over 5000 years, and remnants of a prehistoric ice age can be found in the underwater caves with polar-climate animal bones and primitive art.
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