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Côte d'Azur: 8 days from Monaco to St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and back

Côte d'Azur: 8 days from Monaco to St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and back

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Day 3

Find tranquility on L’iles de Lérins

Cruise past red-roofed villas spilling down the hillsides to Iles de Lérins, a cluster of four islands near Cannes, but as far away from its hurly-burly as can be imagined. Stop off at Sainte Marguerite, one of the two inhabited islands of the group, which is dominated by the fort where Alexandre Dumas incarcerated the ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ from his famous tale.

For history buffs the museum houses local Roman finds and the remnants of a tenth-century Arab ship. Take one of the trails that lead away from the congested port and enjoy a stroll through Aleppo pines and thick woods of evergreen oak. For lunch, avoid the island’s restaurants and instead take the tender round to one of the rocky inlets across the island for a swim and picnic.

In the afternoon head for the smaller southern island of Saint-Honorat, owned and inhabited by monks almost continuously since 410AD, and home to the bishop’s seminary where St Patrick trained before setting off for Ireland. Explore the abbey buildings, cloisters and fortress, or take a stroll through the pine and eucalyptus trees, breathing in the heady mix of lavender, wild daisies, rosemary, thyme and wild honeysuckle that hangs on the island’s air.

Don’t leave without a foray into the shop selling the white wine, lavender oils, honey and liquors produced by the 28 Cistercian brothers of the monastic community.

Picture courtesy of Bildagentur Zoonar Gmb H/Shutterstock.com

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