Tuesday, May 20, 2008

les Îles de Lérins: Peaceful island walks near Cannes

On Sunday, May 4th, we walked from our Mougins apartment down to the patisserie for a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) and cappucino. The bus stop for Cannes is right in front of the patisserie. We decided to take the bus (1 Euro each way) rather than pay for parking in Cannes. As mentioned before, the buses in this region of France are modern, clean and comfortable...but, you may have to stand up when it is crowded. This was an easy 20 minute trip.

Once in Cannes, we headed toward the water but found that all kinds of preparations were underway for the film festival. We took a few tacky tourist photos and decided to head down to the ferry port to get out on to an island (les Îles de Lérins are located just off of Cannes).

A ferry to St. Marguerite was ready to leave and we quickly bought our tickets (12 Euros round-trip) and hurried aboard.

Going to St. Marguerite is about getting away to quiet strolling paths, beautiful views, pretty flora and beaches. There is little on the island other than the remains of a prison (Man in the Iron Mask), a couple of places for food, and the rest is park-like with fabulous pathways. We were there for walking the paths. You don't need serious hiking gear for these paths. I wore my Keen mules (no socks), a skirt (skort, actually) and did just fine. Most folks were in shorts with their swimsuits underneath, walking in all kinds of fancy sandals down to flip-flops. It was a Sunday and the island was clearly an outing destination for French families.

We picked up sandwich jambon cru for a picnic lunch. We decided to check out the prison first (free on Sunday), then find our way through the labryinth of paths that crisscross the island...there are many choices.

After a nice, leisurely afternoon around the island, we decided not to wait for the last ferry since the island was full of French families. We took the next to last ferry and saw that many were turned away who arrived at the port too late to get aboard.

Docking back in Cannes, we decided to have a nice beverage (and visit the 5 star loo) at the Sofitel Hotel bar. We sat outside, sipping an apertif, and watching the yachts and people.

We took a walk through the Cannes market where antiques and art were on display. This wasn't your average market. These were very, very nice...and some very exquisite...items.

While we would have liked to linger, we also wanted to catch the "next to last" bus back to Mougins. It was a good choice, too. We made it aboard, but it was very crowded with families carrying beach gear from their Sunday outing. A point to be made...even with the crowded buses, the French were very polite. No pushing, shoving. And, seats were given up to the elderly, handicapped or those with babies and small children.

NEXT: La Corniche d'Or coastal drive