19.5 C
New York
Friday, June 14, 2024

A Nice Day Out on Île Sainte Marguerite Cannes

This submit could include affiliate hyperlinks.

Searching for enjoyable issues to do in Cannes? Catch the ferry to Île Sainte-Marguerite. It’s solely a stone’s splash away.

Right here’s a information to this walkable island of seashores, mysteries, woodlands and coves.

Ile Sainte Marguerite ferry dockIle Sainte Marguerite ferry dock
Île Sainte-Marguerite – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Île Sainte Marguerite France

A part of the Lérins Islands Archipelago, Île Sainte-Marguerite is a tiny island with a hefty historical past.

A pure haven of rocky inlets, Aleppo pines, myrtle and aromatic eucalyptus, it’s solely quarter-hour by ferry from Cannes.

What Can You Do on Sainte Marguerite Island?

Whereas the island is a mere 3 km lengthy, there’s a lot to maintain you busy.

You may swim in turquoise and sapphire water, picnic, wander the paths, or have lunch on a seaside terrace. For an enormous bang of tradition you possibly can go to the outdated Fort Royal, dwelling to the Museum of the Sea.

You may as well do what I did and develop into obsessed by the Man within the Iron Masks.

Display of the Man with the Iron Mask in Fort Royal prisonDisplay of the Man with the Iron Mask in Fort Royal prison
The Man within the Iron Masks – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

The Most Well-known Prisoner of Fort Royal – The Man within the Iron Masks

Who was the Man within the Iron Masks?

We don’t know.

We do know he was a political prisoner held within the Fort Royal jail on Île Sainte-Marguerite from 1687 to 1698. To hide his identification he was pressured to put on a masks. That’s 11 lengthy years. In a masks.

And never a snug two-ply cotton disposable one both.

The prisoner, l’Homme au Masque de Fer, by no means caught a break. After 11 years on Sainte Marguerite he was transferred to the Bastille in Paris, and held till he died.

The world loves a juicy thriller and there aren’t any finish of theories about who he was – some extra outrageous than others. (The king’s secret twin brother, actually?)

Regardless of the reality, moving into his cell – and into this unusual puzzle piece of French historical past – is among the most unusual issues to do on Île Sainte-Marguerite.

Though, to be sincere, most individuals go to Sainte-Marguerite Island merely to benefit from the nature and have a refreshing time out on the French Riviera. That’s enjoyable, too.

Thick foliage on Sainte-Marguerite Island with Cannes in backgroundThick foliage on Sainte-Marguerite Island with Cannes in background
Getting again to nature on the Lérins Islands Archipelago – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

A part of the Lérins Islands Archipelago

Île Sainte-Marguerite, or Sainte Marguerite Island, could also be small however it’s the most important of the Lérins Islands, a pocket-sized archipelago made up of 4 islands and some scattered rocks off the coast of Cannes.

Sainte Marguerite is certainly one of two islands that may be visited by ferry. The opposite, Île Saint Honorat, is dwelling to the Lérins Abbey the place Cistercian monks nonetheless dwell right now.

Each islands are a straightforward day journey from Cannes – you possibly can even go over for simply a few hours – and supply a welcome escape from the bustle of South of France cities like Good and Cannes.

Sign for Ste Marguerite ferry in CannesSign for Ste Marguerite ferry in Cannes
Ferry leaves from the Outdated Port in Cannes – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Taking the Île Sainte-Marguerite Ferry From Cannes

You may catch the ferry to Sainte Marguerite Island from the harbour, the Vieux Port. It’s on the west fringe of the port.

Attending to the Cannes Ferry Dock

It’s possible you’ll not see the ferry terminal at first should you’re strolling from the Palais des Festivals and La Croisette. (I didn’t, however I’m directionally challenged).

It’s on the reverse finish of the harbour, nearer to the Outdated City.

In the event you see the Radisson Blu Resort you’re in the precise zone so head for the ocean.

Shopping for your Ferry Ticket:

You should purchase a Cannes Île Sainte-Marguerite ferry ticket on the ferry terminal or upfront.

In the event you’re shopping for on the dock give your self additional time as there might be a lineup. Costs are round $20 USD (about 18 euros).

Skip the road and purchase your ferry ticket to Sainte Marguerite Island right here.

Ferry Schedule to Marguerite Island

Ferries go away roughly hourly, typically each half an hour, relying on season and time of day.

The primary boat to Ste Marguerite leaves Cannes at 7:30 a.m. Besides Sundays, when the primary boat is at 9:00 a.m.

The final ferry again is at 6:00 p.m. Don’t miss it, otherwise you’ll be wishing you at the very least had a cell just like the Man within the Iron Masks.

Examine the complete ferry schedule right here.

Taking the boat from Cannes to Île Sainte-Marguerite is breezy bliss. If the climate is nice sit exterior and let the wind tug your hair as Cannes fades into the pastel distance, the Esterel Mountains behind.

Are you able to go to Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat on the identical journey?

Nope, not on the ferry. The boats are totally different. You’d should take the ferry to at least one island, then return to Cannes and purchase a ferry ticket for the opposite. Or go for a personal tour.

(Go right here for the Saint-Honorat ferry.)

Ferry From Good to Sainte Marguerite Island

You may go to Sainte Marguerite as a day journey from Good, too, although the Good Ste Marguerite ferry schedule is far more restricted.

In excessive season boats go away Good at 9:00 a.m. and return at 18:00 p.m. and the journey takes about an hour.

Costs from $56 USD. Examine schedule and guide tickets for the Good to Ste Marguerite ferry right here.

Ferry dock on Ile Sainte Marguerite FranceFerry dock on Ile Sainte Marguerite France
A nice journey from Cannes – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Arriving on Sainte Marguerite From the Ferry

Arrival on the island is simple peasy. You step off the ferry and begin strolling. Trails are effectively marked. Most individuals head left in direction of Fort Royal.

One other Possibility – Take a Non-public Boat Tour to Each Islands

Whereas I used to be slumming it on the ferry (simply kidding, it was fairly pleasant), I noticed that lots of people go for personal boat excursions to allow them to sip wine, snorkel, paddle and sunbathe to their coronary heart’s content material.

This personal speedboat tour will get glorious evaluations and features a go to to each Sainte-Marguerite Island and Saint-Honorat Island, and hosts as much as six individuals.

Examine costs and availability for a Non-public Speedboat Tour right here.

Shoreline of Sainte Marguerite Lerins Islands FranceShoreline of Sainte Marguerite Lerins Islands France
The Lérins Islands are an excellent day journey from Cannes – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Turbulent Historical past of the Lérins Islands

Earlier than you begin exploring, it’s useful to know a little bit background concerning the Lérins Islands archipelago.

Principally, it’s lengthy and war-ridden. Right here it’s in a nutshell.

The islands had been occupied by the Ligurians, then the Romans, and within the fifth century they got here underneath the possession of the Cistercian monks.

Alongside the best way there have been pirate raids, shipwrecks and a profitable assault by the Spanish in 1635. The French received it again two years later after a 45-day siege.

In 1746 the islands had been misplaced to the Austrians and the English for a yr. And in WWII first the Italians then the Germans occupied Fort Royal.

Truthfully, for such a tranquil place, Île Sainte-Marguerite appears to have had a battle fought over each inch of it.

Boats floating in the Bay of CannesBoats floating in the Bay of Cannes
Pleasure craft head for the channel between Ste Marguerite and St Honorat – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Île Sainte-Marguerite Issues to Do

Look Out For Historic Websites

Preserve your eye out for abandoned WWII bunkers as you tramp the paths. They’re a poignant reminder of the island’s Nazi occupation.

Don’t miss the 18th-century cannon with elaborate ornamentation (do you see the dolphin?) exterior the Fort Royal entrance.

You might also stumble throughout cannonball furnaces from the Napoleonic period as you discover the island.

Ornate cannon outside Fort Royal in the South of FranceOrnate cannon outside Fort Royal in the South of France
Royal cannon forged in 1715 – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Go to Fort Royal

Fort Royal is a one-stop store for historical past. Rising up from the cliff, this stern stone fortress dates again to the early 1600s.

For sweeping blue views stroll across the ramparts and look out over the terrace.

Examine Out the Museum of the Sea

Inside Fort Royal is the Museum of the Sea.

Right here you’ll discover artifacts excavated on the islands. Issues to see vary from fragments of Roman wall work and the traditional Roman cistern system to ceramics salvaged from Saracen shipwrecks.

There are additionally shows about marine ecology and the biodiversity of the ocean. It wasn’t an enormous spotlight for me, however that’s in all probability as a result of I used to be extra within the Man within the Iron Masks.

Roman artifacts at the Museum of the SeaRoman artifacts at the Museum of the Sea
Museum of the Sea – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

See the Jail of the Man With the Iron Masks

In one other part of the museum you possibly can enter the cell and consider an exhibit concerning the Man within the Iron Masks.

I’m a sucker for romantic legends and tragic tales so this was the massive lure of Fort Royal. I’m not alone.

Like Switzerland’s Prisoner of Chillon, the Man within the Iron Masks has been catnip for writers, historians and filmmakers for years.

A Superstar Prisoner

From the writing of Voltaire and Three Musketeers creator, Alexander Dumas – who perpetuated the parable the masks was iron when it was extra doubtless black velvet – to the 1998 Hollywood film The Man With the Iron Masks starring Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s a story that by no means grows outdated.

Outside the cell of the Man in the Iron MaskOutside the cell of the Man in the Iron Mask
Jail cells in Fort Royal – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Scandalous Secrets and techniques of the Man within the Iron Masks

Locked up throughout the reign of Louis XIV (the Solar King of Versailles fame), the Man within the Iron Masks was a person of some significance who was saved in pretty grand fashion – at the very least so far as jail cells go.

He could have been Ercole Matthiole, a traitorous Italian rely; or Eustache Dauger, who snitched on his employer for stealing from the royal household.

Was he a wicked nobleman whose household paid to have him out of web site? A failed murderer? The queen’s lover? Louis XIV’s illegitimate son? Why was it so very important to cover his identification?

Essentially the most unlikely – however by far the most well-liked – idea is that the Man within the Iron Masks was the king’s older brother (presumably a first-born twin) who, by the very nature of his existence threatened Louis XIV’s proper to the throne.

It’s countless meals for thought and can hold your head busy as you set off to discover extra of the island.

Different Prisoners on Île Sainte-Marguerite

Earlier than you go, take a second to consider the opposite prisoners who had been confined right here, just like the six Huguenot pastors held right here for his or her non secular beliefs till their lives withered away.

On a happier observe, you too can consider Marshal Bazaine, a French officer who was the one individual ever to flee this grim jail.

HIking trails on Ile Sainte-Marguerite FranceHIking trails on Ile Sainte-Marguerite France
Climbing on Sainte Marguerite Island – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Hike the Trails

By the point I left the museum my head was reeling and I used to be desirous to get exterior.

I used to be barely much less keen when a fats rat trundled throughout the shady path in entrance of me close to the Plateau de Milieu, the shallow channel between Sainte Marguerite and Saint Honorat.

That is unspoiled nature, nevertheless, and nothing may spoil my enthusiasm for lengthy, not when the solar broke by means of the clouds and I had 22 km of mountain climbing trails, oak timber and scrubland of honeysuckle and wild clematis forward of me.

Go Fowl Watching at Batéguier Pond

One of many prime Île Sainte-Marguerite points of interest is Batéguier Pond, the Étang du Batéguier, on the west aspect of the island.

A mixture of recent and salt water, this protected reserve is an oasis for migratory birds.

Sainte-Marguerite Seashores

A lot of the attraction of this beautiful Cannes island is its secluded coves and seashores.

Whereas the sandy seashore to the precise of the ferry dock could be crowded, the farther away you get from the jetty the higher probability you’ll have of discovering a personal French Riviera paradise.

Many of the locations to swim on the island are small and rocky, so count on seashores extra wild than groomed.

Carry every little thing you want with you, as there aren’t any outlets. Don’t neglect a towel, sunscreen and water sneakers should you use them.

Sainte-Marguerite Island Eating places

Picnicking is a well-liked pastime on the island, and there’s are two snack bars for fast bites, however there are additionally a few Île Sainte-Marguerite eating places to select from.

Salad and sea at L'escale Restaurant Ste MargueriteSalad and sea at L'escale Restaurant Ste Marguerite
Lunch at L’escale Restaurant – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

Informal Eating at L’escale Restaurant

I opted to eat at L’escale, primarily as a result of I stumbled throughout it by probability.

This family-friendly restaurant isn’t low cost, however the pizzas regarded standard and the big outside terrace has beautiful views over the water.

Take observe: L’escale fills up quick at lunch.

I wish to give a nod to the waitress as a result of, as a solo feminine traveller taking on a complete desk in a crowded restaurant, I typically really feel extra like an annoyance moderately than a valued buyer. Not right here. Thanks, L’escale.

 A Seashore-Clubby Vibe at La Guerite

Located on a rocky cove, restaurant La Guerite takes eating on St Marguerite up a notch. An enormous notch.

Mediterranean delicacies and recent seafood are on the menu at this vigorous upscale eatery that’s been operating since 1902.

There are additionally seashore loungers, and I consider they’ve a personal boat shuttle accessible. And DJs. Wow. I want I’d needed two lunches so I may have eaten right here as effectively.

On summer time weekends La Guerite is open for dinner, so should you’re searching for romantic issues to do on Île Sainte Marguerite, hold it in thoughts.

Sainte-Marguerite Lodges

Are there motels on Île Sainte Marguerite? Er, probably not. However type of.

Former barracks of Fort Royal Sainte Marguerite Island off CannesFormer barracks of Fort Royal Sainte Marguerite Island off Cannes
Ste Marguerite hostel lodging (which I discover surprisingly interesting) – Picture: Carol Perehudoff

CIS Cannes Youth Hostel Lodging

The outdated barracks at Fort Royal is a youth-hostel-y wanting place open primarily for teams.

It’s official identify is the Worldwide Heart for Iles de Lérins de Cannes Jeunesse (CIS Cannes Youth), they usually do guide in people and households on excessive season weekends.

To test availability contact them instantly.

Ultima Cannes Le Grand Jardin – Final Luxurious on Ile St Marguerite

Le Grand Jardin is the one personal property on this richly-forested Cannes island, and it’s a luxurious walled property with rental luxurious lodging.

There are 12 bedrooms and you want to lease the whole factor, not only a room.

And also you’ll in all probability wish to go by helicopter, although a personal boat would work simply as effectively. It’s excellent for {couples} with an entourage.

(Ben and Jennifer, are you listening? Justin and Hailey? Meghan and Prince Harry?)

Only a wee little bit of scandal for gossip lovers: The palatial property was as soon as owned by Vijay Mallya, an Indian magnate referred to as the King of Good Instances who’s now needed in India and accused of sensational monetary crimes.

Is Ste Marguerite Island Definitely worth the Journey?

It relies upon what you’re searching for. In the event you’re in search of recent air and a extra laidback environment than many French Riviera locations, Ile Saint Marguerite makes a calming day journey from Cannes, Good or Antibes.

In the event you’re in search of Ferraris and foie gras, stick with the Boulevard de la Croisette or head to Monte Carlo in Monaco as a substitute. There’s one thing for everybody within the marvellous South of France.

Why is the island named Sainte Marguerite?

In Roman occasions Ile Sainte-Marguerite was referred to as Lero. The island was most certainly renamed by the crusaders, who constructed a chapel right here devoted to Sainte Marguerite (Saint Margaret in English) of Antioch.


Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles