Saint-Honorat, Île monastique de l’archipel de Lérins à Cannes is part of the Tentative list of France in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Saint-Honorat, the monastic island of the Lérins archipelago, bears witness to a succession of Early Christian, Benedictine and Cistercian monastic traditions. The monastic sites originated in the 5th century within the Eastern tradition of ascetism. The monumental Romanesque cloister dates from the 11th century, when the island was occupied by the Benedictine Order. They also added a fortified tower. The Cistercians took over in the 19th century and the monastery is still active.
Map of Saint-HonoratLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
I visited the Island of Saint-Honorat during my vacations in Cannes in September 2001. We did a day trip to the Lérins Islands by ferry from the port of Cannes in a same way as a lot of other tourists. I do not remember all the details but the tour included both islands. It means bigger Sainte-Marguerite with the fortress, where a small museum was located, and nice small beaches all around the island, where we spent most of our time. We also did a short stop at the Saint Honorat Island, where the monastery is located.
As the island is still inhabited by the community of monks not all the places are accessible for tourists. There are big church rebuilt in 19th Century, adjacent Monastery buildings surrounded by crop fields, and the most interesting component: the fortified monastery located direct on the shore. While the big church was built in eclectic "neo" style and did not attract me too much, I spent some time by walking on the ramparts of the fortified tower with views towards the inner arcades.
PHOTO: Sorry for very poor quality! In the middle, you can see the tower of the church and the fortified monastery is visible on the right side.
All in all, the island is quite nice, but cannot compete with other attractions of the Provence region. I cannot see even traces of the OUV, and I do not understand why this site was proposed. The Western Christianity including the monastery sites are already over-represented on the list. Well, the monastery is located on the island, the fortified tower is kind of unique, and it bears the traditions and continuity since the 5th Century, but these do not justify the inscription in my point of view. Interestingly, the justification text is focused on non-European monastic sites and the very long list of similar churches and monasteries are omitted. I do not thing that this strategy will work.
I suspect that Cannes seeks its WHS status inspired by recent success of Nice. However, I hope that the dream will not come true in the case of this monastic island. I recommend the visit if you are in Cannes and have some time off, but I found Marseille with the Frioul Islands much more interesting. It is good to compare the strategy of state parties of France and Ireland: Iniscealtra, Holy Island, was submitted as potential to-be-TWHS of Ireland in 2021, but it was very recently announced that it has no OUV...
2022 Added to Tentative List
The site has 1 locations