Ile Sainte Marguerite

There is only one possible word to describe Cannes and that is glamorous. 

The sparkling Mediterranean Sea, haute boutiques and opulent hotels are only some of the reasons why this city on Cote d’Azur is considered to be a playground for the rich and famous. Cannes’ biggest draw is, of course, it’s utterly fabulous Film Festival.

I had already told you that we were lucky enough to be invited by our friends to spend a couple of days in Cannes during the Film Festival in 2012. We spent a lovely weekend, getting to experience this amazing spot on French Riviera. I hope that those of you who haven’t been can enjoy the photos and get an idea of what it’s really like out there.

On our third day in Cannes, after we had breakfast on the terrace, I took my swimming suit and I spent some time on Martinez famous private beach – Z Plage, one of the largest beaches on the Croisette. Looking over the city I saw a mosaic of terracotta roofs, the Mediterranean glistening in the morning sun and multimillion dollar yachts bobbing up and down in the port. Punctuating the horizon are sailboats and the Lerin islands of Ile Sainte Marguerite and Ile Saint – Honorat. These islets are two of Cannes’ most interesting attractions, particularly Ile Sainte Marguerite, where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned.

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I don’t know if it’s pure luck or the power of positive thinking, but every wish I have… happens sooner or later! And as I got used to all these amazing gifts that life gives us sometimes, I couldn’t be more than happy when I returned to my room and found out that a boat is waiting already to take us over to the Ile Sainte Marguerite for lunch. The island it’s about 15 minutes boat ride from the mainland. The journey offers a glimpse into how the other half live. Cutting through waves we pass luxury yachts where bronzed bodies are catching rays and champagne glasses clink.

Formerly known as “Lero”, Île Sainte-Marguerite takes its name from a chapel built in early Christian times dedicated to Saint Margaret of Antioch. Nearly the entirety of the island is covered in luscious woodlands, protected by the “Office National des Forêts” (Forestry Commission), and harboring an astonishing biodiversity. Île Sainte-Marguerite was first inhabited by the Ligurians, a Celtic tribe, then later invaded by the Romans with many vestiges remaining today. It then became home to a community of monks until it was reintegrated in the crown lands of France (royal domain) in the 17th century. – See more at:

Formerly known as “Lero”, Ile Sainte Marguerite takes its name from a chapel built in early Christian times dedicated to Saint Margaret of Antioch. Nearly the entirety of the island is covered in luscious woodlands, protected by the “Office National des Forêts”, and harboring an astonishing biodiversity. Ile Sainte Marguerite was first inhabited by the Ligurians, a Celtic tribe, then later invaded by the Romans with many vestiges remaining today. It then became home to a community of monks until it was reintegrated in the crown lands of France in the 17th century. The wooded island is great for hiking, the beaches are public and the sea is about as clear as the Mediterranean gets. But its natural beauty hides a horrible history; this island was used to incarcerate the Man in the Iron Mask during the reign of Louis XIV. You can visit the mystery prisoner’s cell at the Musee de la Mer. Some historians speculate that he was the illegitimate half-brother of the reigning monarch, Louis XIV, while others suggest he was a military general incarcerated for retreating from a battle and leaving behind his wounded men. A few claim he was the illegitimate son of Charles II of England. However, most agree that the mask was one of black velvet rather than one made of iron but that detail doesn’t make for a great tale.

Arriving on the island was so nice because it looks so quiet compared to Cannes. The Fort Royal brings you back 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. It is nowadays difficult to imagine that a few centuries ago there were gun batteries on this island in order to defend the coast from the approach by enemy vessels.

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Sometimes all you need is just a small island, your friends beside you and a sunny day. We started celebrating with a delightful Mediterranean lunch at La Guerite restaurant, enjoying this unique location, the breezy wind and sea. We also enjoyed several glasses of one of our favorite southern French wines, Cuvée Saint-Pierre, an elegant white made from Chardonnay grapes grown on the island. A nice quiet walk around this beautiful, peaceful paradise after lunch is a real pleasure. We didn’t have time to explore the whole island, but you could easily spend a whole day here, loosing yourself in the tranquility, sunbathing in one of the isolated coves and enjoying the clear blue waters. My advice is to take good walking shoes, plenty of sun cream and of course a towel and bathing attire.

Late spring is the perfect season for Cannes.

We don’t know when we will have time for such magic moments in the near future! So… we decided to spend the last evening in Monte Carlo. In May is another great reason to be here – le Grand Prix de Monaco held each year on the circuit of Monaco!

Here’s a lot of pictures from that day! Truly a great day… We had so much fun!

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 I’ll be back soon with a mini – Monaco diary ! Kisses !