Part 2 Cannes -
I'ILE ST. HONORAT - a beautiful island off the coast of Cannes, France. Home for 16 centuries to the monks of Lérins Abbey, respecting the rule of St. Benedict based on prayer and work.
Almost as an afterthought at about 3pm I take the Ferry to St. Honorat. It's mentioned in a guidebook, and after walking through the crowds of Cannes, interviewing folks for my column, I'm ready for a break. I get it! Taking a 15 minute ferry ($13 senior rate), I peek back at Cannes (less busy already), then the white caps of the Alpes appear.
It takes my breath away!
The island is stunning!! Vineyards sprawl through the interior, and churches, fortresses, abbeys, forests, turquoise water, and magnificent views hug the coastline. I circumnavigate for two hours en silence - broken only by the sounds de la mer, les arbes, oiseaux - then sit in silence at the church. They have personal retreats here for $44 per night (max 7), including 3 meals. It's a no brainer; I'll be back.
After exploring the island and before heading back, I sit in a eucalyptus grove, looking at the channel, the alpes in the distance, white with snow, and taste the St Honorat 2010 (best red so far - cherries, earth, silence) & St. Sauveur 2010 (Hallelujah, there IS a god!) These Benedictine monks know how to make wine!! (I wonder if they serve wine with the meals here during retreat). Forget the yachts and celebrity, I want to move here ... forever!
Catch the last boat back to Cannes at 6 pm, then limp (walked 8-10 miles today) to the train, since the taxis all want longer fares (or celebrities), like to St. Tropez or Cap Ferrat. The train's 10 minutes late, but a sweet woman from Beaulieu sur Mer helps me switch platforms (I'm still a bit lost reading signs)...or I would have had to wait even longer. Home by 8, fatiguèd. Long day! Met some sweet people, made some great discoveries, and fell in love with another island :-)
Photos here: I'île St. Honorat