MUSEUM OF THE SEA SAINTE MARGUERITE ISLAND (LÉRINS ISLANDS)Share
Visit the Musée de la Mer and the Fort Royal, located on the largest of the Lérins islands!
Meet at the port of Cannes with the Horizon shipping company for a 20 minute sea crossing. When you arrive on the island, you will discover the Fort Royal on the cliff side. Inside this fort, you will find the Musée de la mer. This place is entirely dedicated to the sea and the history of the island. A museographic and historical tour with the cell of the man with the iron mask. To facilitate your visit, don't forget to book your boat trip and your ticket. You will experience the history of the island by entering the cell of the man in the "Iron Mask". You will discover the other part of the museum dedicated to underwater archaeology. Don't miss the view of the coastline and the Southern Alps. For an unusual experience, spend a night in the royal fort.
Museum of the Sea
Located in Fort Royal, visit the Historical Museum. From the sea, you will appreciate the remarkable integration of the ramparts with the rocky cliff.
The exploration of the museum starts on the ground floor with the Roman remains. You will discover the wrecks dating from the 1st century BC and the 10th century. Thanks to archaeological excavations on the island, the wrecks and wall paintings were discovered.
Model of underwater wrecks
In the 1970s, Roman underwater wrecks were found on the island of Sainte Marguerite. The two best known wrecks are those of the 10th century ships La Tradelière and Le Batéguier. The ship's cargo can be discovered in the museum: amphorae, crockery, ceramics, vases, oil lamps... Discover the ship models and reconstructions.
In the 1970s, work in the fort's enclosure brought to light important Roman remains. Archaeological excavations carried out since the 6th century BC revealed the existence of dwellings dating back to antiquity. In the 1990s, fragments of wall paintings from the Roman baths were discovered.
All these ancient finds are now on display in the museum on the first floor.
The works of the prisoner Jean Le Gac
Jean Le Gac painted several works on the theme of prisoners in the 1990s.
This volunteer prisoner aimed to illustrate the memories of the prisoners.
One can discover the rebellions against the Reformed Church and the Arab revolts.
A series of four paintings called "the prisoner painter". All of them are painted on the walls of the prison cells.
Each work tells the story of the hardship felt by the prisoners during certain events of the time.
The iron mask cell
A prisoner whose identity remains a mystery.
This enigma has been popularised by novelists and historians of France. He was given several identities, including that of Louis XIV's twin, the version popularised by Hollywood films.
This prisoner was locked up for 34 years, 11 of which were spent on the island of Lérins. The man hid his face with a mask and the reason for his imprisonment was unknown.
His life ended at the Bastille fortress in Paris where he was buried. Following his death, his mask and personal effects were burned.
Only the guard knew his identity.
Sleeping on site, an unusual experience!
During the school holidays, the Centre International de Séjour des Îles de Lérins offers you to sleep in the royal fort!
Atypical location allows you to enjoy the island to the fullest.
Dormitory-style accommodation with bunk beds, outdoor dining areas, and a kitchen with menus.
To book, please click on this link.
History of the Fort and the prison
On the edge of the island's cliff, stands the Fort Royal.
This building was built to lock the access to Cannes at the beginning of the 17th century at the request of the Duke of Guise.
Built on the Roman remains, the Fort was reinforced a few years later by the Spanish during their occupation of the island.
The French quickly took possession of the island and gave the citadel the name of Fort Royal.
At the end of the 17th century, the fort became a state prison and was further enlarged. Famous prisoners made its reputation, including the unknown Iron Mask.
During your visit to the fort, you will discover :
The bastions, this military fortification.
The chapel and the bell tower offer a panoramic view of the fort.
The water wells to make the island habitable.
Opening hours - Prices - Information
April to May
Open every day except Monday
10:30 to 13:15 - 14:15 to 17:45
June to September
Open every day
from 10am to 5.45pm
October to March
Open every day except Monday
10:30 to 13:15 - 14:15 to 16:45
1 and 11 November, 25 December, 1 January, 1 May.
Last admission, 30 minutes before the museum closes.
Prices of the Museum of the Sea
The ticket includes a visit to the fort and the museum.
Adult: 6 €
Adolescents from 18 to 25 years old: 3 €
Children under 18 years old: free
Groups of 10 people or more: 3 €
November to March:
FREE ENTRY every 1st Sunday.
from October to May :
ENTRY to the Fort Royal at 3€ (Museum of the Sea closed) every Monday.
Remember to book your museum tickets online for a quick and smooth purchase.
Not suitable for disabled people with PRM and pushchairs.
Discounts on your maritime tickets
Shipping Compagnie Horizon book online 10% discount.
Where can I park my car in the port of Cannes?
Take the boat from the port of Cannes at Quai Laubeuf with the Compagnie Horizon We recommend 3 car parks:
Parking Laubeuf - on site
Parking de forville - 10 minutes walk
Parking du Casino - 10 minutes walk