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Fortress Lérins | by Mark Fischer
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Fortress Lérins

The fortified monastery of Abbey Lérins on Île Saint-Honorat.

 

The Île Saint-Honorat is the second largest of the Lérins Islands, about a mile off shore from the French Riviera town of Cannes. The island is approximately 1.5 kilometers in length (East to West) and 400 meters wide.

 

The island, known to the Romans as Lerina, was uninhabited until Saint Honoratus founded a monastery on it at some time around the year 410. According to tradition, Honoratus made his home on the island intending to live as a hermit, but found himself joined by disciples who formed a monastic community around him. The monastery has operated on the island since the 5th Century, though the monks have fled or been expelled over the years by invaders, pirates, wars, and political factors.

 

The monastery is home to 30 Cistercian monks and is a popular tourist attraction. The Abbey of Lérins and the 15th Century fortified monastery are open to visitors, and a monastery shop sells various monastic goods, including wine and honey produced on the island. Regular ferry service connect the island to the port of Cannes.

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Taken on April 21, 2013