My all-time favorite photo spot in the South France and one of the most relaxing islands in the French Riviera is just a 15 minute boat ride from Cannes. Cannes is where the famous international film festival is held every year, so definitely check out the city while you are there and take a walk down the Promenade de la Croisette for wonderful bistros and boutiques. The island I am so in love with is Ile Sainte-Marguerite. I had no idea it even existed until my French host sister brought me to the island in 2015. The island is perfect for leisure activities such as: swimming, hiking, fishing, bird watching, and picnicking. There are pre-done trails throughout the island for tourists to follow that wind between eucalyptus and pine trees and often lead to different beaches. These beaches have some of the best views of the Riviera. The water looks like crystal turquoise in this area and you can see the entire city in photos as compared to taking a side shot from a neighboring town. At only 1.9 miles long, you can walk the entire island in one day and there is no need to stay overnight because there are no amenities for that. The main attraction at the island is Fort Royal. Have you ever heard of the man in the iron mask? Well, this is where he was incarcerated. The man in the iron mask is a prisoner who was arrested around 1670. He was held in many different prisons and ended up dying in his cell at Sainte Marguerite. He was imprisoned during King Louis XIV’s rule. His face was always covered by a mask or cloth, so nobody knows who he was. It is mostly agreed upon by historians that he was of some royal blood and may have been an illegitimate brother of King Louis. In addition, the fort has recently been turned into a museum. The “musee de la mer” or “museum of the sea” still boasts the attraction of the fort, but with the added viewing of artifacts from roman and arabian shipwrecks. The last site to see on the island, other than the 20 buildings that are mainly owned by fishermen, is a small cemetery that rests North African soldiers from the Allied side in WWII. Even during peak season in summer, the island is relatively calm and quiet. This is why you want to visit, one of the best tourist destinations in the world is the French Riviera and 15 minutes from it is basically a private island with history and nature. What could be better? Oh yeah, the fact that the boat ride is only about 15 euro;) Love, Claire.
This post is dedicated to all of the impressively generous people who accept foreign exchange students and treat them like family:)