Iles de Lérins visitor guide

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Visit Iles de Lérins, France

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The Iles de Lérins are a small group of islands on the French Riviera near Cannes. The islands separate the Gulf of La Napoule, to the west of here, from the Gulf of Juan, to the east.

To reach the islands you can take boats from Cannes - the emabarcation for these boats is to the west of the old port in the town and the journey takes around 15 minutes. Boats to the islands also leave from other resorts along this part of the cote d'Azur at Juan-les-Pins, Mandelieu-La Napoule and Theoule-sur-Mer.

Explore the Lerins islands

The islands form quite a dramatic contrast with the busy riviera: here you can stroll in peaceful forests of pine and eucalyptus trees, there are no cars and very few permanent residents. Despite the lack of residents you will still see a very large number of boats around the islands, tourists attracted here by the beautiful coastline.

View of the Ile Sainte-Marguerite

Although there are several islands in the group called the Iles de Lérins, only two are usually visited by tourists:

  • The more northerly island, the Ile Sainte-Marguerite, is the larger of the two and the most visited
  • A short distance further south, the Ile Saint-Honorat can also be explored

Ile Sainte-Marguerite

This island is mostly covered with forests, and has a footpath around the coast of the island that passes the Royal Fort, the principal monument on the island from where you can look across the sea to Cannes and famous as the place where the Man in the Iron Mask was detained.

The coastal path and a visit to the Royal Fort are the main activities on Ile Sainte-Marguerite, and you can also visit a small museum.

See Ile Sainte-Marguerite for details.


Ile Saint-Honorat

This island also has a forested area but a visit is largely dominated by the Abbey of Lerins, an imposing historical monument on the southern side of the Ile Saint-Honorat that has stood here since the 5th century and was once among the most important religious centres in France. A substantial fortress next to the abbey was once used to defend the monks from Sarrasin invasions.

Ile Saint-Honorat also has a coastal path around its entire circumference and a successful vineyard where the monks produce wines and liqueurs.

See Ile Saint-Honorat for details.

View of the Ile Saint-Honorat

Attractions nearby

There are numerous attractions along the Cote d'Azur in this part of France: of course, one of the most important resorts is Cannes, just a few kilometres north of here. A few kilometres to the east of Cannes, Antibes is one of our favourite towns on the French Riviera.

See more islands of France. You can find more travel ideas in the Alpes-Maritimes guide and the Provence guide.

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Ile Saint-Honorat

Ile Saint-Honorat

The Ile Saint-Honorat, one of the Iles de Lerins south of Cannes, is best known for its abbey and fortress

Ile Saint-Honorat guide
Ile Sainte-Marguerite

Ile Sainte-Marguerite

The Ile Sainte-Marguerite is one of the Iles de Lérins on the Cote d'Azur and has a large fort with views of Cannes

Ile Sainte-Marguerite guide


Cannes has a charming town and harbour area, and is one of the most visited resorts on the Riviera

Cannes guide
Cap d\'Antibes

Cap d'Antibes

The Cap d'Antibes peninsula is a tranquil region between Antibes and Juan-les-Pins, with a nice coast path and public gardens

Cap d'Antibes guide


A short distance west of Antibes, Juan-les-Pins is one of the liveliest resorts in the riviera

Juan-les-Pins guide


The resort at Theoule-sur-Mer is on the coast near Cannes, and is a cheaper alternative to staying at Cannes or Nice

Theoule-sur-Mer guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Alpes-Maritimes

The French version of this page is at Iles de Lérins (Francais)