Le Calanques are beautiful white rock coves to the west of the beautiful Mediterranean French town of Cassis. Here are three boats anchored just off shore. It is said the Calanques were formed by ancient streams long dried up. Artists are fascinated by the "secret rivers" beneath the rocks. Over the centuries, this land has been mangled further by the Mistral, the fabled wind that batters the Côte d'Azur after powering south down the Rhône valley. Thousands of tourists descend on this coast in scorching July and August, when the Calanques are closed because of the risk of forest fires. Visit in spring or winter, though, and you may have to deal with Le Mistral's mighty gales.