The Abbey of Lérins is located on the island of Saint Honorat in the commune of Cannes. A community of Cistercian monks cultivates the vineyards around the Abbey as well as the peace of this island. Stays are even possible to recharge your batteries. To get there, you will have to take the boat which you can book HERE.
The first monastery was founded by Honorat of Arles, around 400-410. The present buildings were built between the 11th and 14th centuries, and completed in the 19th century. Seven chapels are scattered around the island. In the Middle Ages, they served as stations during the pilgrimage from Ascension to Pentecost. Four of these chapels are open to the public.
The abbey was for a long time Cluniac; the monastery is now home to a community of Cistercian monks from the Cistercian Congregation of the Immaculate Conception. Since 2011, it has hosted the annual Festival of Silence, which is held in parallel with the Cannes Film Festival.
Around 1073, the abbot Aldebert II began the construction of a fortified tower to serve as a refuge for the monks from the repeated attacks on the island. He was probably also responsible for the construction of the Suquet Tower (Cannes).
Other developments were added to the initial tower, including two superimposed cloisters in the 15th century. The basement, excavated in the 12th and 13th centuries, hides large cellars used to store the monks’ food, as well as an oil mill and a bread oven.
The first level is devoted to work and communal life. The first cloister, known as the “work cloister”, is built around a courtyard with a cistern. Most of its columns come from Roman monuments. The second level is dedicated to prayer. The second cloister, known as the “cloister of prayer”, has twelve octagonal marble columns. It gives access to three chapels, including the 14th century “Holy Cross Chapel”. The upper levels are reserved for the soldiers who protect the monastery: garrison room and signalling and defence terraces. But given its size (it consists of eighty-six rooms and four chapels plus two cisterns), the monastery was never fully protected.
The abbey’s fortress is listed as a historic monument in 1840.1 The island is a listed site. The island is a listed site.
Built between the 11th and 12th centuries, the cloister is the heart of monastic life. It is bordered by two large rooms built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the chapter house where the life of the community was organised and the refectory where the monks had their meals.
Chapel of the Trinity
Probably built in the 9th or 10th century, the Chapel of the Trinity is located in the south-east of the island. It bears witness to the great devotion of the monks to the Trinity. When the Spanish took the island in 1635, they built a battery of cannons on the roof of the chapel.
St. Saviour’s Chapel
St. Saviour’s Chapel is located in the northwest of the island, not far from the present-day landing stage. It is built on an octagonal plan. The star-shaped vault that covers its central part dates from the 12th century.
Chapel of Saint Caprais
Built near the place where Caprais de Lérins, Honorat’s companion, is said to have lived as a hermit, it is located to the west of the island.
Chapel of Saint-Pierre
The chapel of Saint-Pierre is located to the south, near the monastery. Medieval graves surround it.
Saint-Cyprian and Saint-Justine Chapel
The chapel is located towards the north-east of the island near the vineyards.
Chapel of St. Corcaire
The chapel is located inside the ramparts of the monastery of the Abbey of Lérins, in the south of the island near the fortified monastery.
Chapel of Saint-Michel
Chapel that has now disappeared, of which only a few ruins remain at its base. Located in the north of the island, it was surrounded by a cemetery where a Roman tile tomb was found.
Jetée Albert Edouard, 06400 Cannes