Île Sainte-Marguerite is a short boat ride from the French city of Cannes and home to a historic port and some of the most breathtaking shoreline views on the Mediterranean. Travelers to this tiny, forested island are met with a feeling of seclusion and intimacy whether they are looking to spread out their towels on a pebbled inlet or explore the weathered Fort Royal.

Couples and friend groups would find the most enjoyment out of this small, historic island. The hotel on Île Sainte-Marguerite has been closed since 2005, but most come here for a day trip to enjoy the sun and water sports.

What are the highlights of Île Sainte-Marguerite in Cannes?

The rich history of Île Sainte-Marguerite is one of its most charming aspects and spans from the Roman era to World War II artillery batteries. Most famously, Fort Royal, a former Spanish fortress and then French penitentiary in the 1700s, housed the unknown political prisoner infamously known as the 'Man in the Iron Mask'.

The history is up close and personal, as visitors can tour the massive coastal castle structure and view many of the penitentiary cells in Fort Royal. Additionally, a small cemetery near the fortress penitentiary is the final resting place of French Crimean War soldiers and North African World War II soldiers.

What else is good to know about Île Sainte-Marguerite in Cannes?

By far the most popular attractions on Île Sainte-Marguerite are the coastlines and water activities. Most of the inlets have aged coniferous trees that provide plenty of shade, and these inlets also create plenty of bathing neighborhoods in clear, shallow waters.

If you want to ramp up fun on the water a few notches, you'll find opportunities for snorkeling, waterskiing, parasailing and scenic boat tours. The consistently warm weather and gentle breeze create the ideal conditions for a memorable day in the Mediterranean. It is recommended to book a boat trip and secure gear rentals ahead of time, as the island itself has few accommodations.

Île Sainte-Marguerite in Cannes

Location: 06400 Cannes, France