The quirky places of the French Riviera: The Lérins Islands - Marguerite & Saint-Honorat

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The quirky places of the French Riviera: The Lérins Islands - Marguerite & Saint-Honorat

In the midst of Mediterranean waters, proudly facing Cannes, stand the Lérins Islands, oddly calm in the midst of the glitter and glamor of the city of cinema.

Peaceful and mysterious: Sainte-Marguerite and Sainte-Honorat, 20 minutes from the beaches of Cannes by boat, offer an idyllic setting, unspoiled nature, a breathtaking view over the bay and towards the sea.  They are a must-see, always with an environmental and ecological approach of prevention and protection of biodiversity, for an eco-responsible tourism.

Sainte-Marguerite is the largest of the Lerins archipelago. The legend says that it takes its name from Marguerite, sister of Honorat, the hermit who founded the abbey on the neighboring island. With nearly 152 hectares of forest and 15 beaches, the island is home to a royal fort - which once served as a prison (notably for the mysterious "Man in the Iron Mask", a famous prisoner whose identity is still unknown) and welcomes visitors today to the Museum of the Sea.  Throughout the year, the museum showcases a superb collection of underwater and terrestrial archeology; and from April to October, one can discover the protected marine fauna by visiting the aquariums.

Sainte-Marguerite is the exclusive address for some twenty privileged residents who share their island with visitors and tourists. Here, culture and relaxation are the key words: enjoy authentic vegetation, fragrant Mediterranean essences such as pine, myrtle, honeysuckle or eucalyptus, discover the Bateguier pond which is home to many species of migrating birds, then head to Pointe de la Convention.  With several restaurants and picnic areas, pretty coves and crystal clear water, Sainte-Marguerite is a true haven of peace.

Saint-Honorat, the smallest of the two Lérins islands, is also the one with the richest historical heritage: the abbey of Saint-Honorat, founded in the 5th century by the Cistercian monk Honorat, is today still inhabited by approximately twenty monks who, as tradition has dictated since the Middle Ages, produce wines and liqueurs thanks to 18 hectares of vines, carrying out all the stages of production themselves, from harvest to bottling, including winemaking and aging.

Still very steeped in this monastic environment today, Saint Honorat Island is open to everyone, whether you are in search of spirituality or a nature lover; students even go there to prepare for their exams, in silence, for perfect concentration!  Enjoy walks under the maritime pines, a real invitation to calm and meditation. 
Discover this heritage classified as Historical Monuments. Taste the wines of the monks.  More than a simple walk, a real art of living.


Who, according to legend ... Is the man in the iron mask? 
Who, with his face hidden by the famous but no less loathsome iron mask, is the man who spent 11 years in the royal prison within Sainte-Marguerite island?  Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Alfred de Vigny ... many have written, fantasized about this strange character, with several hypotheses  well studied, the best known of which - the man in the iron mask would be none other than the twin brother of Louis XIV.

More about the Man in the Iron mask

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