The Iles de Lerins consist of 4 Islands but only 2 are inhabited the Ile Sainte-Marguerite and the Ile Saint-Honorat. They were first inhabited during Roman Times. They are only accessible by sea, it is about a 15 minute boat ride from Cannes Harbour. There are shuttle boats from Cannes or we can rent you a private day boat with a captain.
They provide a great day out for visiting, swimming, sunbathing and lunch on one of the Islands restaurants or on your private day boat.
Ile Sainte-Marguerite Ile Sainte-Marguerite is an exceptional island of nature, culture and relaxation with some beautiful pine and eucalyptus trees. The best way to explore the island is on one of the many marked trails taking you on a botanical and historical tour including the Bateguier pond and its numerous species of migratory birds.
The cell of the mysterious “Man with the Iron Mask” can be visited in the Fort of St Marguerite, now renamed the Musee de la Mer. The museum also houses archaeological discoveries from shipwrecks off the coast of the island, including Roman and Saracen ceramics.
There are a few shops and a couple of great beachfront restaurants with fabulous sea views as well as some wonderful swimming in the sea from one of the many beautiful hidden beaches.
Ile Saint-Honorat Ile Saint-Honorat is the smaller of the 2 islands and is only inhabited by around 20 Cistercian Monks in the Abbaye de Lerins. Monks have inhabited the island since AD410. Now the monks divide their time between prayer and producing award winning red and white wine, honey, lavender oil and Lerina – a herbal liquer. The monastery is closed to the public but welcomes guests for week-long retreats.
Visitors to the island can visit the Gothic church, wander through the Monks beautiful vineyard and Olive grove and then visit the gift shop to sample and buy all the monk made local delights.
This Cistercian brotherhood may shun the limelight but their highly prized organic wines are universally acclaimed and a big draw to the Island.
In addition the abbey’s upscale La Tonelle restaurant highlights locally fresh Mediterranean ingredients and the catch of the day. All enhanced by a glass or two of their island wine whilst enjoying the glorious sea views.