Just off the south coast of Cannes lies the gorgeous island of Saint Marguerite, a true jewel which contrasts the fancy boutiques and hotels of Cannes with quiet pine forests and pretty coves.
The water off this island is crystal clear, thereby offering stunning views of the Riviera coastline. There are also walking trails along the island, some of which will eventually lead you to a little beach or a cove.
What is interesting is that there are actually about 20 houses on the island in a small village whereas the rest of the island in covered in a forest with museums and a few restaurants. If you visit the museum, you will have the chance to explore the island’s Roman and Crusader history as well as a notorious French prison and soldier’s hospital.
The Fortress Prison (Fort Royal) is the main attraction on this island. It’s a 17th century fort that gained reputation for holding the ‘Man in the Iron Mask’, a prisoner during the time of Louis XIV and immortalised by the writers Voltaire and Alexander Dumas. There’s also a small cemetery for French and North African soldiers nearby.
You can discover the whole island in just a couple of hours, by enjoying the beautiful forest paths and looking out for the sculptures that can be found on the trees. There is also a lagoon, ideal for bird watching. You can also spend some time clambering over the rocks along the beach, looking for sea creatures in rock pools or just relaxing on the sandy beach with your friends and have a picnic.
There are also two restaurants and two snack bars for your convenience but we advise you to take your own lunch with you and have a picnic at the beach or at one of the many picnic areas while enjoying some fantastic views.
It is very easy to visit Île Sainte-Marguerite as there are regular ferries that run from Cannes, and it’s only 15 minutes away!