As its name suggests, the GR 2013 will be open for the European Capital of Culture event in 2013, nevertheless it’s already possible to participate in location scouting for the circuit. Let’s look over this trail in the making…


By Sarah Carrière-Chardon - Photos GR 2013 - November 29, 2011

It all began with a publisher named Baptiste Lanaspeze (Wildproject) who was concerned with questions about the relationship between nature and mankind. He moved to Marseille specifically for its unique location, which includes marine, urban, farming and mountain landscapes. There he discovered that it was among the first cities to encourage hiking, in particular with the 1896 creation of the Société des Excursionnistes Marseillais, or the Society of Marseille Day-Trippers. In 1910, they were the first to defend the notion of the natural heritage value of the calanques, by

protesting against an industrial project that would have disrupted this bountiful region.

Today, this sporting or leisure activity unites close to eight million people and puts the Bouches du Rhone region (with its 118 hiking associations) in the lead of French hiking centers. Amongst them, an unusual scene of “artist-walkers” exists in Marseille, composed of creative types who value beautiful landscapes at the heart of their approach. Influenced by Land Art theories from the 1970s, and supported by the National Federation, who asked them for “a pleasant route, for the eyes and the feet,” Baptiste teamed up with

with these artists to create a circuit in search of spectacular views, vividly integrating the modernity of industrial zones, like commercial wastelands, with bursts of nature on trails with as little bitumen as possible.

Amongst these artist-walkers, Nicolas Mémain has traced the circuit in a double loop, in a figure eight, whose intersection is located at the Aix-en-Provence train station. A genuine Möbius strip, you will need 13 days, assuming a rate of 20 kilometers a day, to complete the “First Metropolitan Hiking Path.” Far from an

outdoor museum with compulsory art stops, the trail itself is the artwork. Considering the territory, which has been modified and transformed by man into a work of art, Nicolas Mémain asks mischievously if the “ultimate work isn’t to see the Bouches du Rhône region like you look at the Sistine Chapel…” On the first Wednesday of every month, public scouting walks are organized. Come and be a part of the masterpiece!


Le GR 2013 Marseille Provence Capitale Européenne de Culture

olive tree

GR2013-Marignane-en-corniche ©HendrikSturm

GR2013-Chaine-de-La Fare©BaptisteLanaspeze

GR2013-Sortie-de-Roquevaire-Voie-ferree-de-Valdonne ©HendrikSturm

GR2013-BaladeDeReperage2010-GareAixTGV-Photo De Nicolas Memain