Sainte-Marguerite, The Island of Legends

Facing the bay of Cannes, the Lérins Islands have over the centuries inspired many legends based on historical fact or wild rumor.
By Emma Sebbag
In the 14th century, the islands were the site of a powerful earthquake that provoked a tidal wave that would inspire two legends about their creation. One of them claims that Satan had made Léro (Lérins Island) his home where he condemned his prey to endure 7 years transformed into wild animals or plants. God finished by setting things in order by immerging the island under the sea and then having it reappear cut in half, creating in this way the islands Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat as we know them today.

The second recounts that when he arrived, Saint Honoratus himself caused the tsunami in order to rid the island infested with vermin and that he survived by climbing to the top of a palm tree. And this is how the city of Cannes adopted its emblem famous around the world ever since thanks to cinema, the Palm!

Other stories link the fate of the islands to the two saints whose names they wear. Saint Honoratus came to build on one the first monastery of the Gauls, while his sister Saint Marguerite would live on the second. In order to limit his contacts with other humans that might dull his noble godliness, he imposed on Marguerite that they only see each other when the cherry trees blossomed. Very attached to her brother, Marguerite prayed to God with such fervor that the cherry trees bloomed each month!

And in other stories, when they arrived, Honoratus and Marguerite had to fight a dragon, which mortally wounded, flew away to die in the hills in the hinterland, at the place of the village known as Draguignan. The most recent legend linked to the islands is of course the one related to the famous Man in the Iron Mask who was imprisoned there for a decade without his identity ever being revealed and who was thought to be successively the bastard brother of Louis XIV, Fouquet and even Molière. We can nonetheless today visit the very cell he stayed in, within this military prison today become the Museum of the Sea.

Discover

Ferries to the Islands from Cannes

www.cannes-ilesdelerins.com


Sainte-Marguerite, The Island of Legends
Sainte-Marguerite, The Island of Legends
Côte d'Azur
Photographies José Nicolas
Sainte-Marguerite, The Island of Legends
Sainte-Marguerite, The Island of Legends
Côte d'Azur
Photographies José Nicolas

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