Sailing charter holiday with skipper on the French Riviera – The Lérins Islands – Saint Honorat

The Lérins Islands are a small archipelago made up of two smaller islets and two small wonderful islands: Sainte Marguerite and Saint Honorat.
The first is the largest and is also the closest to the mainland, while the second is certainly the most special. The two islands are separated by a navigable channel called Plateau du Milieu on whose sides you can anchor. This is one of the most classic and scenic anchorages on the entire Côte d’Azur, the water is crystal clear and the seabed is all to be explored, in short, a MUST!
Saint Honorat is private, but open and welcoming. It is entirely owned by the monks who have occupied it since the 4th century, today it is the Cistercians who live, maintain and cultivate it.
Everything is taken care of in an almost maniacal way.
You can easily disembark on the island thanks to the small port of the Monks, very suggestive. Our skippers and crews always strongly recommend making a visit to the island during a day on a boat in Cannes and during a week’s sailing holiday on the French Riviera because visiting the island is something unique, which remains for always in the heart of those who make it.
On the island, the monks live in their abbey where they work and pray, being a place of worship, appropriate clothing is required and therefore shorts, a T-shirt and covered shoulders are mandatory.
The entire tour of the island takes a maximum of two hours but will remain indelible forever. As soon as you disembark at the marina, our advice is to head towards the north-western side of the island along the path that runs along the coast. Every few meters there are coves, ravines and sandy beaches and walking, after passing the public toilets and the ruins of the chapel of Saint Michel, you arrive at the restaurant “LA TONNELLE”, the only restaurant on the island, also owned by the monks, where you can have lunch in the shade of the Mediterranean scrub and with your feet in the sand.
Continuing the route, you will arrive in a few steps to one of the two bullet furnaces built on the island by Napoleon Bonaparte to destroy the planking of enemy warships with fireballs.
Next to the ovens is the small but beautiful chapel of Saint Caprais and behind it starts a path that leads to the beach.
Following the main road in the shade of centuries-old trees, you soon arrive at the side of the island facing the open sea where there are limestone rocks that create beautiful natural pools. The water is shallow and therefore you cannot swim but it is also very hot and, especially at sunset, it is a pleasure for those who get their feet wet.
Advancing on the path you will arrive at the Saint Pierre chapel, behind which two rather steep paths start leading to two coves with amazing sandy beaches and for true connoisseurs, hidden among the vegetation.
After passing the St Pierre chapel, after a few meters you arrive at the abbey, an extraordinary image, peace reigns supreme and the atmosphere is magical. The church can be visited and mass is celebrated regularly and is open to the public. The church is imposing and majestic, however the interior is rather bare, being a monastic church. Everything is great.
The monks on the island cultivate the olive trees with which they produce a very good oil and above all cultivate the vines from which they produce various wines, all branded Abbaye de Lérins, very renowned and even drunk in the Elysee palace in Paris.
The vines grown are Clairette (Saint Pierre), Chardonnay (Saint Césaire), Viognier (Saint Cyprien), Syrah and Pinot Noir.
At the rear of the abbey, the monks also have a distillery where they produce many types of exquisite liqueurs, the most famous of which is Lérincello.
All the monks’ products can be purchased at the island’s boutique, located near the entrance gate to the church.
As soon as you pass the corner of the perimeter wall of the church you find yourself in front of an amazing view: the fortified monastery built practically inside the water. An ancient and fascinating building, the undisputed symbol of the island.
The monastery can be visited and I can assure you that it is absolutely worth it, especially to climb the narrow stone stairs that lead up to the roof, from which you can admire a 360 ° view over the entire Gulf of Cannes, the view is exceptional!
After visiting the fortified monastery, you can decide whether to cut directly towards the port via the central path of the island or whether to continue traveling the circumnavigation of the island going towards the other bullet furnace and towards the chapel “La Trinité” to then come back to the marina.
This island is certainly magical and not infrequently our skippers, during a late sailing holiday on the French Riviera, Nababbo Sail, will offer to accompany guests to visit it in order to guide them to discover even the most unknown and remote corners.
Good wind!