Discover Cannes destination
A few minutes from the bustle at Cannes, Saint-Honorat Island awaits you with an experience out of the ordinary. Calm and beauty, nature and spirituality, this jewel of the bay of Cannes lives at the relaxed rhythm of the monastery of the monks of Lérins. Known since the middle Ages, the Cistercian community always honors the rule of welcoming. Visit for a day or come for an extended retreat, come to discover a natural and cultural heritage remarkable for its multiple legends.
History of Saint-Honorat
The history of the island is linked to that of a religious man named Saint-Honorat who gave the island his name. From his life, there have been a few uncertainties and some legends. Born in Treves around 370, Honorat ended his life as bishop of Arles, a very fervent bishop who had to abandon his monastic life.
At the end of a journey in the East with his friend Caprais, Honorat ran along the coast which was not called yet Côte d'Azur. Arriving in the bay of Cannes, the two men were seized by the beauty of the site. Settling in the vicinity of Frejus, Honorat quickly became famous for his sermons; a burdensome celebrity soon became intolerable, which required him to find a safe haven. He chose the deserted island of Lérina, the smallest of the Lérins Islands, hidden behind Léro, the future Sainte-Marguerite. We think that the monastic foundation of the island resumed a former place of pagan worship,already assimilated to the time of the Romans, dedicated especially to Neptune, the God of the sea .
For Saint-Honorat, the seclusion did not last long. Soon, visitors flock, attracted by the example of high perfection embodied by Honorat. A real nursery for Bishops of Southern Gaule, the abbey of Lérins Saint-Honorat must leave as its founder but he reluctantly agrees to accept the diocese of Arles. He died in January 6, 430.
The legends of Saint-Honorat
No Saint is without a miracle. The legend says that the earth trembled when Honorat arrived on Lérina. The island then thronged of snakes. With a prayer from Honorat, all snakes were extinguished in a very bad smell. Another incantation raised the wind and a tidal wave cleaned the island. Honorat and Caprais took refuge at the top of a palm tree. Once the sea retreated, the island was purified and the sun was shining.
The Monastery of Lérins
Despite numerous murderous invasions, the fortified monastery of Lérins shines in the entire West between the 5th century and the beginning of the 11th century. Then there was a period of decline and the closure of the abbey in 1788. The monks reformed the community in 1869 and rebuilt a monastery on the ruins of the first.
Today, the abbey is very active. Between prayers and fraternal life, monks perpetuate 16 centuries of monastic life. They produce wines and liqueurs of great quality. Day visitors and the others are welcomed throughout the year. Guided tours are organized. You can also freely discover the heritage of the island, the old chapels, the furnaces to cannonballs and the fortified monastery that let you be lulled by the softness of the site.
Only the company Planaria, managed by the monks, ensures the connections between Cannes and Saint-Honorat. The island has a unique restaurant, La Tonnelle, located near the pier.