This French national park asks visitors to pre-book their day at the beach


The Calanques National Park, in the south of France, is the only European national park to encompass land, sea and urban areas.

It is located just 15 km south of Marseille, the second largest city in France, and stretches along 20 km of stunning turquoise coastline.

But now, in a bid to protect this natural beauty, visitors to two of the park’s most popular seaside spots will need to pre-book their beach day.

Why do you have to book in advance to go to the beach?

At its peak, day visitors to Sugiton and Pierre Tombée beaches already reached 2,500. Even the daily average during the summer reached 2,000.

The initiative to control the number of visitors will allow the area to rejuvenate, which means that it can be enjoyed by visitors for a long time.

Although it may seem annoying to have to book in advance, let’s be honest: nobody likes a crowded beach. So if you’re lucky enough to land a spot, it will make the day so much better, for you and for the environment.

“Two hundred would be the ideal limit which would mean that there would be no impact on the environment”, explains Nicolas Chardin, acting director of the Calanques National Park.

“But at four hundred, that’s already six times less than our busiest days and so we hope that nature, with this reduced number of visitors, can regenerate much more easily.”

How will the reservation system work?

The reservation system allowing visitors access to certain coves and beaches in the Bouches-du-Rhône has had two test days and will apply daily from July 10 to August 21.

During this high season, visitors are limited to a maximum of eight days per person. Reservations can only be made up to three days in advance on the national park’s website.

Visitors will receive a QR code via email which they must show to a park ranger upon arrival on the day of booking.

Watch the video above to learn more.


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