If you feel like a break from Cannes, take a ferry to the island of Saint Honorat, owned by a Cistercian order of monks, who have lived here since the sixth century. No cars are allowed and the monks are from a silent order, so noise is discouraged. Over time, they have enlarged their monastery, named Abbaye de Lerins, set up a restaurant and made their wine-making commercial. The hard work has borne fruit as their Shiraz has just won a gold medal. They make only 40,000 bottles a year and as our guide explained, the wine here is quite superior to the “dustbin of wines” found elsewhere.
After enjoying a convivial meal at the La Tonnelle, which has seating for 200 and specialises in Provencal seafood, you can climb up a medieval tower, your efforts being rewarded by superb views over the water to Cannes. Or take a picnic and sit by the water’s edge, listening to the lapping waves and the incessant cicadas. On the thirty minute boat journey back, you can pretend you are very rich and choose your yacht, the shallow, protected waters encouraging many to moor here.
The ferry leaves from the western end of the port of Cannes, near the Sofitel. A return journey costs 11 euros (half price for children aged 5 – 10). In summer, ferries leave on the hour and return on the half hour.