According to Wikipedia, the Île Sainte-Marguerite is the largest of the Lérins Islands, about half a mile off shore from the French Riviera town of Cannes. The island is approximately 3 kilometres in length and 900 metres across.
Last October, me and my colleagues decided to visit the islands as there was an ongoing exhibition about the Man in the Iron Mask. The mystery that surrounded this unknown prisoner has brought us to the island. Also, this island has a forest filled with guided paths and areas for picnic. It was a calming respite from the crowded scenes of the mainland.
During this tour, we purchased discounted boat tickets in our office CE. If you want to go here, you can buy tickets at the Quai laubeuf in Port de Cannes. The Riviera Lines company provides in their site the information on the ticket prices, schedule and other information for your convenience. It is only a 15-minute boat ride, enough for you to bask at the beauty of the French Riviera coastline, particularly Cannes. Get ready with your sunglasses!
As soon as we arrived, we took a long walk towards the left side of this port. Armed with food that we bought in the weekend market in Cannes, we aimed to settle in a nice, cozy spot overlooking Cannes. Be aware of the laughing sea gulls who would attempt to take the food away from you. Also, don’t forget to keep your trash and leave no traces! Although there are also available trash bins in the island, just remember to respect the surroundings by not littering.
After lunch, we went to the museum where the prison of the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask, a prisoner during the time of Louis XIV and immortalized by several authors including Alexandre Dumas and numerous movies, including the popular one by Leonardo di Caprio in 1998. Nobody really knows who the man was, but there were several speculations. Before I heard about this island, I thought everything was only fiction. My French colleague told me the story as if it was all true and called her bluff, but she said that it was true, and that’s where we decided to go. Yes, the fiction that I thought all along was just a product of a writer’s imagination was indeed a true story, hahaha.
Anyway, going back to the trip, there was an exposition of the photographs collected pertaining to the mystery that surrounds the person.
This is also an opportunity to discover the maritime museum beside it which housed archaeological finds and excavation stories of the area, which was pretty interesting. There is more about the island than the notorious prison.
After the museum visit, you have the free time to walk around the forest, just make sure that you follow the path. It is large and overwhelming for me already, considering that we also have to watch out for our walking time as we have to catch the boat back to the mainland.
Overall, it was a nice day for historical discoveries and long walks in the forest. We took the 4.15PM boat back to Cannes. There was still some time to go around before driving home to Antibes for dinner, so we walked around the old town and the church up in the hill. I recommend that you visit the island, preferably either on a spring time or in autumn when it is not raining.
Have yo been on this island or planning to? Drop in what you think about your experience! I love the tranquility of the island on a warm autumn sun, and would like to go back for picnic with friends again. 🙂