The larger and more popular of the Îles de Lérins, Île Sainte-Marguerite is dissected by walking paths that lead through Aleppo pines, strawberry trees, eucalyptus forests and Mediterranean scrub. There are a few shingle beaches or you can swim off the rocks.
The island’s Fort Royal became a state prison in the late 17th century and housed a famous prisoner, the Man in the Iron Mask, who was imprisoned there from 1687-1698 until he was moved to the Bastille in Paris. His real identity remains a mystery and a great source of speculation for historians.
Entry to the Fort (€6,50 entrance fee for adults; free entry for children under 18 years) includes access to the prisons and the Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea) with displays of archaeological finds from nearby shipwrecks and Roman wall murals found on the island.
There are a few snack kiosks near the ferry pier and a terrace restaurant L’Escale, but our pick is La Guérite restaurant with a beautiful view over the sea and a tempting menu that includes octopus carpaccio with lemon oil, sea bass with artichoke puree and a tropical-themed dessert of coconut ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon and pineapple chips.