The "Iles de Lerins" are two islands just off the coast of Cannes and a regular boat connection goes to both Ile Sainte-Marguarite as Ile Saint-Honorat. Both island are very worth while to go to in historical, cultural as well as spiritual sense (see my "Ile Saint-Honorat" page).
Cannes is not all glitter and glamour. Less than half an hour?s boat trip away, across the bay from Cannes, the L?rins Islands are an oasis of tranquility and history. I visited one of the Lerins Islands, Ile Saint Honorat. The most interesting attraction on Ile Saint Honorat is the 5th century medieval monastery and today the Cistercian monks are the only inhabitants on the island. Much of the monastery is surprisingly modern, with the exception of the ruins of the 11th-century monastery on the sea?s edge. In the gardens of the monastery are native pine, eucalyptus and cypress trees. The monks organise tours of the island and try to sell their produce to tourists including homemade wine, honey and lavender oil. To get to the island, take a ferry from the pier near the Palais de Festival.
Port of Cannes offers an easy escape to the retreat of the Iles des Lerin - the Trans Cote d'Azur offers an hourly service to and from Ile Sainte Margueritte (pocket-size island 1km x 3km) between 9 and 7 daily for 5 euro return. St Honorat, the smaller further away island, is twice the price at 10 euro return, by a separate dedicated boat service
See for yourself the man in the iron mask and the 17th century royal fort, plus interesting walks. There are restaurants on the island, but expensive and picnicing is what the French do, mainly at the bays on the south side of the island.
Known as "the pearl of the golden isles" - couldn't fit any more copywriting superlatives in, eh? The largest of three islands at 3km x 7km
Boat leaves 8.30 from the old port - an expensive trip this, at 49 Euro adult return, 2 hours 15 minutes each way, Sundays only,
Trans - Cote- d'Azur lines
The island is 1km from the mainland and is famed as the place where the enigmatic Man in the Iron Mask - immortalised by Alexandre Dumas in his novel Le Viscomte de Bragelonne(1847) - was held in the late 17th century(see The Man in the Iron Mask travelogue).
The island is crossed by walking trails and paths. It's centrepiece is the Fort Royal, built by Richelieu to defend islands against the Spanish. Today it houses the Musee de la Mer, a museum with exhibits on the fort's history and shipwrecks. On the ground floor are the state prisons and the cell where the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask was incarcerated.