“This morning, everything is going well, let’s hope it’s the case all season”, explains to AFP Mathieu Benquet, in charge of police and risk mission within the Calanques National Park, posted at the ultimate filtering point. , a few hundred meters from the turquoise waters of the Calanque de Sugiton.

“Between 30 and 50 people”, especially foreigners, had to turn back at this level, he explains, for lack of being in possession of the precious sesame, a QR reservation code that had to be downloaded. And then repeat, in the opposite direction and uphill, about 45 minutes of walking under a blazing sun and to the rhythm of the song of the cicadas.

But “many more” were rejected “as soon as they entered the massif”, where the Park had set up two public information points, allowing a first filtering, adds Mr. Benquet. For anyone forcing the dam, the fine is 68 euros.

“We expected a small proportion of people who were going to complain, we stay in the nails of what we had imagined”, underlines Cyprien Giffon, 28, one of the ecoguards.

But for Younes Azabib, a 26-year-old Marseillais who came to decompress with his friends, the pill is hard to swallow.

“We’ve been coming here for about ten years, it’s as if it were our creek!”, Protests the young man. Aware of the establishment of reservations, he did not know “that it took effect today”.

“The picnic, the pizzas, we had everything planned, except the reservation”, quips his friend, Bilal, 30 years old. Their third comrade, Yohan, also 30 years old, does not hide his intention to circumvent the obstacle by side roads, at the risk of being checked by a flying squad.

– “Let the scrubland regain its rights” –

“We traveled almost an hour, so we want to swim”, assumes the young man: “The beach is a hobby, not a constraint”, he develops. “We are from Marseille, we have the impression that it’s policing”.

For others, in possession of the pass, this quota is a godsend. “It’s super pleasant, it’s great”, testifies Isabelle, a 50-year-old Marseillaise who usually avoided the creek in the summer: “First because it’s hot but also because there are too many people. We will finally be able to swim.

She therefore enjoys a sea bath with her companion, with the feeling of being alone in the world. Around 12:30 p.m., on the two beaches at the bottom of the creek, only about thirty people were sunbathing. Very far from the 2,500 visitors who some summer days congregate here.

Also far from the 400 maximum authorized visit permits, yet all reserved as of Thursday. But many actually came later. At 6:00 p.m., 342 people with permits had been checked, the Park said.

There was a certain “deterrent effect”, confirms in any case Alain Vincent, delegate for territorial action of the Calanques National Park.

By limiting access to Sugiton Creek to 400 people per day during the summer period, “the objective is the natural regeneration of this creek, to limit erosion, to allow the scrubland to regain its rights”, recalls Nicolas Chardin, acting director of the Calanques National Park.

“It’s very good, it allows us to preserve this whole ecosystem a little”, judges Nicolas Ponsot, a 41-year-old father accompanied by his three children.

“I have the impression that we live more and more in a world where we are told where we can go or not”, tempers Océane, 27, who arrived very early in the Calanque before the establishment of controls .

Because getting up early is still the best way to enjoy Sugiton, in the cool. “We wanted to book but there was already no more room, so we went when the guards were sleeping,” laughs Dimitri Raffray, 39.