The island was uninhabited until around 410 AD when Saint Honoratus founded a monastery on it, and it has been home to a community of monks ever since. Legend has it that Saint Patrick, patron of Ireland, studied at the monastery in the 5th-century.
Over the centuries that followed, monastic life was interrupted on several occasions and the monastery was disestablished in 1787. However, less than 100 years later the island was bought by the Bishop of Fréjus, and the Cistercian community that he established has remained there ever since.
You can take a short ferry from Cannes to visit the island’s 15th-century fortified monastery which, although still active, is open to visitors. Scattered across the surrounding woodland and vineyards there are various listed monuments, including a Napoleonic cannonball furnace and a Second World War gun emplacement.