"Île Sainte-Marguerite - escape from Cannes!" Île Sainte-Marguerite by NiceLife

Île Sainte-Marguerite Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 41 photos

The fifteen minute getaway

The relentless commercialism of Cannes can get a little wearing, and a great way to escape is the hourly boat to Iles des Lerins. St Marguerite is the more obvious choice of the two islands as the round-trip to the larger and nearer St Marguerite is 5 euro whilst the alternative boat to St Honorat is 10 euro. Pays your money, takes your choice. Both have some historical attractions, but if escape is what you want, St Marguerite offers the more convenient choice.

Whilst there are a handful of fairly modest but pricey bar-restaurants along the front facing Cannes, mostly the Cannois pack a coolbox, including the essential bottle of chilled Rose, and head across the island to the bays on the far side facing St Honorat. The relatively small numbers of people will often allow you the privacy of your own rocky bay, complete with welcoming shade among the Aleppo pines.

You won't have complete privacy however, as the narrow chanel between the two islands is home to hundreds of small boats and yatches, also with hundreds of coolboxes out.

The Royal Fort and Museum of the Sea

The Royal Fort dates back to the 1600's, and is an unattractive and dull former military establishment. To spice it up, the French have tried to raise controversy over a mysterious man held prisoner in an iron mask, however, frankly, its difficult to work up any enthusiasm for the story and difficult to justify the price of admission as there is very little to see. Perhaps they should take a leaf out of the Disney book and employ an actor to pace up and down his cell in an iron mask.

Slightly more promising is the Museum of the Sea tucked away in a corner of the fort. Unfortunately some beaurocrat has decreed photography is forbidden in the museum, and you will be relieved of any bags on entry. Fortuitously a Cannes website offers you a convenient workaround, with the photo's you would otherwise have taken - online.

There are numbers of large oil or wine carrying ceramic jars - amphores - rescued from the bottom of the sea from the various wrecks in the area. Some date back to Roman times, during which a "trip to the off-licence" was an altogether more hazardous enterprise, requiring the ability to navigate by the stars and a small accompanying army in order to fight off Saracen pirates. The design of amphores is an interesting solution to the problem of liquid storage on board boats in choppy waters. That said, the word "interesting" may be stretching the point here a little.

Your own personal pine tree bay and picnic table.

The far side of St Marguerite facing St Honorat or Golfe Napoule offers the prospect of your own personal Aleppo pine tree for the day, your own bay, and your own picnic table.

Don't on any account expect to top up your provisions or drinks from local shops - there are none. You have only what you bring with you . A smart move is to pay a visit to Monoprix in central Cannes to stock up before you head off for the ferry.

The island has no cars, no scooters, no buses or trains, no hotels, no anything.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Privacy, pine-fresh clean air, no pressure or pace, pure relaxation.
  • Cons:Rocky bays - no St Tropez here.
  • In a nutshell:Perfect Escape.
  • Last visit to Île Sainte-Marguerite: Jul 2005
  • Intro Updated Jul 24, 2005
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Comments (1)

  • chbuchie's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2005 at 5:27 AM

    Hi , Feel free to have a look at my brand new pages on l'Ile Ste Marguerite Keep travelling & enjoy VT, Greetz from Antwerp, C

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