Cannes & Ile Sainte-Marguerite

Saturday, January 19, 2013

After the "luxury" walk along the Boulevard de la Croisette and having felt like a movie star, the real exploration of the Provence and Cote d'Azur started the following day.

Diaries of an explorer

We decided to go to the Lerins Islands, a group of four islands not far from Cannes, and in particular to Ile Sainte-Marguerite.

So parked the car in Cannes, we moved to the tourist office to get some more info, located in the Palais des Festivals and over there we found the movie star handprints, actors or directors, like this:
Diaries of an explorer

There was an impressive number of handprints around the building: so it's almost sure you will find your best actor or actress ( PS: Meryl Streep is not my favourite actress lol).

To reach the Ile Sainte-Marguerite you have to go to the Cannes Port and take a boat: the last trip starts at 17.30 so it's better to go there in the morning. The return ticket is quite expensive if you think that it takes just 15 minutes to approach and you pay 12 Euros per person for it.

Anyway Ile Sainte-Marguerite has always been an important port and commercial centre as Cannes coastline was not an ideal place for the anchorage of the ships. It became famous because of its Fort Royal, a fortress built in the 17th Century by the cardinal Richelieu.
Diaries of an explorer

From the the fort Royal you can enjoy a great sightseeing of Cannes and its surroundings ( the yachts are part of this landscape as you will see in the entire Cote d'Azur travel)
Diaries of an explorer
but also of the same Ile Sainte-Marguerite port and nature.
Diaries of an explorer
The Fort has some watchtowers, cannons and ramparts that were built by the architect Vauban and the cardinal Richelieu in order to control the commercial route and the entire coastline,
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
and also the Maritime Museum, where you can see some anphoras of sunk Roman boats, evidence of the commercial importance of the island.
Diaries of an explorer

However the Fort Royal became famous to the entire world not just for its prisons, but for being the prison of the Man of the Iron Mask, whose identity is still unknown despite many historians tried to figure it out. He collected almost 60 different identities (!?!), but nobody could see his face: the most fascinating hypotesis was that he would be the brother of the King Louis XIV....anyway it still remains a mistery....

Unfortunately it is forbidden to take pictures in the prisons and especially in the Iron Mask's cell, but someone did not respect this and even put the picture on Tripadvisor:
<a href="/Attraction_Review-g187221-d2519912-Reviews-Isla_Santa_Margarita-Cannes_French_Riviera_Cote_d_Azur_Provence.html">Isla Santa Margarita</a> Photo: Le Fort RoyalThis photo of Isla Santa Margarita is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Some cells are also decorated by their prisoners. Once left the prisons you can find old barracks, some other buildings that now are inhabitated by students for particular projects and the southern ramparts.

The price to visit this was around 6 Euros and for its history and importance it's worth: it was not one of the best fortresses even seen but I will include it in the list of castles to visit anyway.

Left Fort Royal, the next destination was laying down on one of the beaches of Ile Sainte-Marguerite: the beaches are narrow, sometimes rocky and not that comfortable but anyway you can swim, relax and enjoy a stunning sea like this:
Diaries of an explorer Cote d'Azur travel
 and also enjoy the sightseeing of the Fort Royal.
Diaries of an explorer - France
The beaches of Ile Sainte-Marguerite are not the best among the Cote d'Azur beaches "visited", but anyway a swim after the visit is worth!

Sometimes during a travel something unexpected can happen, but it's also funny when it happens. When we decided to come back to Cannes, instead of taking the boat ride to the city we took the one to Nice! Because of a misunderstanding we saw the boat going beyond Cannes and after 1h 30 min we got to Nice.

As in the next days we did not have the time to visit Nice, it was nice to see the historic centre from a tram to the central station, in particular the stunning Piazza Massena.

Then we took a local train to Cannes ( 40 minutes) for 6,5 Euros per person and got back to the hotel.

2 commenti:

Anonymous said...

Wow thanks for sharing...the Iron Mask story is so mysterious that I would really discover more about this!


Marco Zannin said...

Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping and commenting! Yes it was great to visit the tracks of the Iron Mask and to discover...that the nobody can say who he/she was! :-)

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