the lerins islands are made up of ile de sainte margeurite and ile sainte honorat, they are located just off the coast of cannes. we visited st. honorat a few weekends ago and it was a gorgeous escape.
the island itself is owned and inhabited by 30 monks from the Abbaye de Lérins, but they allow visitors on their island year round. they live, work and worship on the island, it is their home. to get there, you can take a quick boat ride from cannes – the shuttle boats depart hourly (or so) from early morning until 5 or 6pm.
so a quick boat ride from the city and you land on the shore of paradise. st. honorat is the smaller of the two islands that make up lerins islands. there are marked footpaths, benches and picnic tables scattered throughout. thankfully we went before the height of tourist season, so it was not too busy.
there are plenty of boats that we saw anchored around the shallow waters in the calm sea between the two islands. here are some photos of the rocky shoreline and boats.
we packed a picnic lunch, although there is a restaurant and ‘snack’ bar on the island too. we preferred to hike around, find a nice spot to eat and continue on exploring the island. the east side of the island is actually quite dense and somewhat like a forest, we found a nice shady spot near one of the many chapels on the island. we had a little picnic ;-)
the monks have various vineyards where they grow syrah, chardonnay, pinot noir and some sort of rosé grape also. the footpaths are throughout the fields, however it is not permitted for guests of the island to walk too close. the sell their wines (as well as handmade liqueurs) at a store near their monastery and also in surrounding cities on the mainland. this is part of the way they support themselves financially on the island. some of their wines are such good quality, that they are offered at some of the best restaurants nearby.
the island is such a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, you almost feel as though you are thousands of miles away. it is serene, quiet, wildflowers and bugs and birds (including beautiful pheasants – we even saw a few!) flutter around you while you walk along the shore. we saw jellyfish, butterflies, bunnies and all!
as we headed around the back of the island, we came across the old fort tower, and then the actual monks monastery and working distillery where they make their wine and spirits (delicious natural alcohol drinks). it was so beautiful and on top of the tower was magnificent, i was swept up in it all as the wind wrapped around us.
the monastery itself is gorgeous….
at the end of a wonderful relaxing day with my sweetheart, we stopped for a drink at the beachside bar, i had a glass of wine, david had some of the monk’s liqueur. deeeelish.
then we had to head back to reality. *sigh.