Île Sainte-Marguerite Things to Do

  • Amphorae
    Amphorae
    by Elainehead
  • Musée de la Mer
    Musée de la Mer
    by Elainehead
  • Arriving on the island.
    Arriving on the island.
    by breughel

Best Rated Things to Do in Île Sainte-Marguerite

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Fort Royal - The Fortress

    by breughel Written Nov 19, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fort Royal - The Fortress
    1 more image

    From the seventeenth century on, the Ile Sainte-Marguerite had essentially a military vocation.
    Under King Louis XIII the Duc de Guise started to build (1624) the fortress Fort Royal (just east of the ferry pier) which was almost immediately conquered and reinforced by the Spaniards (1635). They had 800 men on this island without a sole spring so that they had to collect the rain water (now there is an underwater conduct bringing water from Cannes).
    The fortress was recaptured by the French in 1635 and later the famous French military engineer Vauban reinforced and extended Fort Royal which became a state prison with the Iron Mask has most popular prisoner (1687 - 1698) taking into account the number of books and films generated by the still unknown prisoner.
    More prisoners followed such as Abd el-Kader (1843) after the conquest of Algeria.
    In 1859 there were 600 Austrian prisoners captured at the battle of Montebello.

    Only one of the prisoners of the fortress escaped the Marshal of France François Bazaine who had been sentenced by the government for his surrender of the fortress city of Metz and his army of 180,000 men to the Prussians on 27 October 1870.
    His young Mexican wife and a nephew hired a yacht in Genoa and sailed to Golfe Juan (near Cannes) where they hired a fisher boat. In the night of 9/08/1874 they waited for the prisoner at the feet of the fortress. Balzaine came down with a cord from the 23 m high wall, jumped in the sea and did swim towards the boat. He found refuge in Madrid.

    There are many other things to say about the Fort Royal which we did not visit because the weather was too nice to stay inside and we have read enough about the Masque de Fer - Iron Mask in the novel of Alexandre Dumas "Le Vicomte de Bragelonne" also the author of d'Artagnan and The Three Musketeers which enjoyed our young years.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Four à boulets - cannonball furnace.

    by breughel Updated Nov 19, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Four �� boulets - cannonball furnace.

    It is nowadays difficult to imagine that a few centuries ago there were gun batteries on these now quite pacific islands in order to defend the coast from the approach by enemy vessels.
    The "four à boulets" cannonball furnace beneath the observation platform at the Pointe du Dragon was part of this defensive system and has been build in 1793 under command of general Bonaparte (who started his military career has artillery officer).
    These ovens could heat 20 metal cannonballs till they were red-hot. That would take about 35 min. Must have been rather hazardous for the gunners to introduce these red-hot cannonballs inside the tube of the gun!
    There are two of these "four à boulets" on the Ste-Marguerite Island and also two on the St-Honorat Island.

    From the seventeenth century on, the Ile Sainte-Marguerite had essentially a military vocation.
    Under King Louis XIII the Cardinal de Richelieu started to build the fortress, which was almost immediately conquered by the Spaniards. The memory of that occupation is guarded by the name Pointe du Dragon which is not linked to any dragon but an alteration of the Spanish Aragon.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Walking to the Pointe du Dragon.

    by breughel Written Nov 19, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pine trees at the Pointe du Dragon.
    1 more image

    Once you have disembarked best is to move south-west to the Pointe du Dragon by the wide paths in the shadow of the Alep pine trees and also here and there maritime pines that belong to the natural forest of the island. In the centre of the island the exotic eucalyptus has been planted around 1860. There is an Allée des Eucalyptus south of the fortress.
    Even if you were a hundred visitors on the pier you will very soon be nearly alone because there is room enough on this island of 3.5 km long and 1 km wide. The island is rather flat, maximum height 30 m. There is a pond of brackish water Etang du Batéguier near the western point. There is no spring on the island. The soft water comes from Cannes by an underwater conduct.
    At the Pointe du Dragon an observation platform (built on aq bunker from WW II) with beautiful views on the bay of Cannes has been constructed. There are a number of boards explaining the botanical and zoological characteristics of the island.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • National/State Park
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Small beaches at Ste-Marguerite .

    by breughel Written Nov 19, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A beach among the rocks.

    Don’t expect to find soft sand beaches on this island like in Cannes.
    Access to the sea is possible in several places but it is between the rocks and the few meters of "beach" consist mainly of small stones. Therefore wearing plastic sandals is a must to protect your feet. Once in the water these small and hidden beaches under the pine trees are agreeable because the sea is quiet and the views, for example on the Ile St-Honorat, nice as you can see from my photos.
    There is a beach with softer grit just west of the pier in front of the sailing club.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    French cannon from 1715.

    by breughel Written Nov 19, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    French cannon from 1715.
    1 more image

    Next to the entrance of the Fort Royal stands a beautiful gun from 1715 which was found (1995) in the sea at a depth of 41 m in silt sediment that protected the gun from corrosion.
    It is not only a performing 24 pound bronze gun weighing 2800 kg that could fire at a maximum range of about 4000 m (efficient against fortifications at a distance of 400 m) but it has a nice classical decoration usual at the time of King Louis XIV.
    The motto engraved on the barrel is Ultima Ratio Regum (the last argument of kings) which is not without some dark humor.
    The name of this gun made in Strasbourg is "l'Inconnu" the "Unknown". Actually this gun never belonged to the fortress and it is still a mystery what it was doing there in the sea between the island and Cannes because it is not a naval gun but a siege cannon. The conservation of this gun was excellent; it has never served.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Fine views during the boat trip.

    by breughel Written Nov 19, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Arriving on the island.

    Views from the boat on Cannes are great and worthwhile the price (12 €) one pays for the return trip even if it takes only 15 min. During our trip at the end of September we had hot weather for the season so that the sea breeze on the upper deck was welcome. Sailing out the Cannes harbour is already fine for the views on the luxury yachts, the promenade and the hill of Le Suquet. To the west there are also the hills of l'Esterel.
    Arriving on the island is again nice because it looks so quiet compared to Cannes and the Fort Royal brings you back for some centuries in the past. As soon as you have left the pier there are less and less people and after a few hundred meters walking you will be alone under the trees.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Picnic on the Ste-Marguerite Island.

    by breughel Written Nov 19, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Picnic on the Island.

    There are two restaurants and two snacks on the Ile Ste-Marguerite; you can see on VT or TA what people think of them.
    Best is to take your picnic with you. A "baguette", wine, cheese and a "saucisson" are the basics.
    On the island you will find a large number of picnic areas.
    We much liked those at the Pointe du Dragon. As you can see from my photo they remember the Stone Age. Not really comfortable but the views are fantastic and the shadow of the pine trees is much appreciated in the summer. Furthermore they are close to the sea if you want to "ouvrir l'appétit" by a swim.
    Next year we will go back to l'île Ste-Marguerite because we had only water with us and no wine!

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chbuchie's Profile Photo

    Eucalyptus & Pine trees

    by chbuchie Written Nov 3, 2005

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    3 more images

    Aside from being on a quiet island so close to Cannes and the noisy Cote d'Azur , the smell of these trees is very nice.

    They are all around the island, even on the paths that cross the island through the middle part.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Elainehead's Profile Photo

    Musée de la Mer

    by Elainehead Written May 21, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mus��e de la Mer
    2 more images

    Located in the royal fort, this museum is dedicated to archeology (terrestrial and underwater) and it also holds the prison cell where the famous man in the iron mask was held captive.

    It's a small place so it won't take long for the visit. I think you'll spend most of your time reading the history about this place and about the prison's famous personalities.

    There are a couple of cells and the one of the Man of the Iron Mask was bigger than I expected, it had a fireplace and toilet (concrete seat with a hole). Just a piece of advice, if you would like to read aloud the explanations/documents (available in English and French), please don't. The sound resonates and it sounds louder than expected and it'll certainly annoy other visitors.

    Some artists forbid having their artwork being photographed so check it at the entrance beforehand. Had I known that it was allowed to take photos of the Man of the Iron Mask Cell...I would have taken a few ones.

    Entrance full rate fee: 6€

    Discount rate fee for those under 25 years old: 3€

    Free on the first Sunday from november to march for those under 18 years old and students under 26 years old.

    It closes for lunch so check the museum's open hours.

    Closed on January 1st, May 1st, November 1st, November 11th and December 25th.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • lulujones's Profile Photo

    Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea)

    by lulujones Updated Mar 14, 2003
    Outside the Prison

    Visit the St. Marguerite Prison/Fort, now more politely named Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea). It took the Man in the Iron Mask 11 years to leave but should only take you not more than an hour to explore. This museum also houses some archeological discoveries of shipwrecks off the coast of St. Marguerite, which is absolutely fascinating. Guided tours are available during the summers. 3 euros entrance.

    Dogs are allowed in for free but you have to carry them the whole time. So, if you have a large dog, start working out now!
    *
    PHOTOS are not allowed inside. :-(
    *
    Opening hours: Tues-Sun 1030-1315 and 1415-1615 (Oct-Mar); Tues-Sun 1030-1315 and 1415-1745 (Apr-Sep); Tues-Sun 1030-1315 and 1415-1830 (Jul-Sep).
    *

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Travel with Pets

    Was this review helpful?

  • chbuchie's Profile Photo

    In good company

    by chbuchie Written Nov 3, 2005

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    view on St Honorat
    2 more images

    indeed Ste Marguerite is located between the island of St Honorat and Cannes, as you can see from the following photos

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Île Sainte-Marguerite

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

105 travelers online now

Comments

Île Sainte-Marguerite Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Île Sainte-Marguerite things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Île Sainte-Marguerite sightseeing.

View all Île Sainte-Marguerite hotels