The Côte Bleue, the stretch of Mediterranean shore between Marseille and the Camargue, deserves more attention. Running 22km west from the outskirts of the city towards wave-washed Cap Couronne, the coast reveals a succession of limestone coves, crested with Aleppo pines, threaded with walking trails and sheltering unpretentious fishing villages-cum-holiday towns. The waters around the sandy cape are rich with marine life, protected by the Parc Marin de la Côte Bleue. Its natural beauty may not quite equal that of the nearby Parc National des Calanques, but it's plenty picturesque in its own right.
Now on the outskirts of Marseille's northwestern sprawl, L'Estaque once lured artists from the impressionist, Fauvist and cubist movements. Moving west you'll find calanques and towns such as Le Rove, Niolon, Méjean, Ensuès-la-Redonne, Carry-le-Rouet, Sausset-les-Pins and Martigues.