Coastal trail around Île des Embiez

The three islands of Les Embiez are situated west of the Cap Sicié peninsula, just off the coast of Six-Fours-les-Plages. Salt was produced here until 1958 when the islands were bought by Paul Ricard. He is best known as a pastis magnate as he introduced the most famous pastis of France carrying his name.

He constructed a large marina, hotels and restaurants on the largest island. Being an environmentalist, he built an oceanographic museum near the northern tip. Vineyards already existed there when Ricard bought the islands. The western and southern part of the island are still surprisingly sauvage, much more so than one would think after having read some guidebooks. The coast there is dotted with small beaches with crystal clear water, many of them are best accessed by a kayak or dinghy.

We took the ferry from Le Brusc (15€) and reached the island after 12 minutes. From the port we turned right heading towards the oceanographic museum. The coastal trail started behind the museum. It is an about 2-2,5-hour tour along a paved road and natural coastal paths. These numerous small trails running through the maquis are worth taking whenever possible. Right after the museum, at Point Saint-Pierre we had great views of the two smaller islands, Île du Grand & Petit Rouveau.

We headed south where the cliffs got higher and higher. At the southern tip, we climbed to the island’s highest point at Pointe du Coucoussa, dominated by an ancient observation tower. The vineyards were visible from here, as well as the coastline with Les Calanques in the west and Cap Sicié in the east. A narrow straight separates the island from the Gaou islands that are connected to the mainland by a pedestrian bridge.

From Pointe du Coucoussa, we walked back to the harbour passing some of the vineyards.


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