With the film festival well under way, all eyes are on Cannes at the moment. But there is another more peaceful option on offer.

With its myriad international stars, countless parties and fashionable red carpet, the Festival de Cannes is all about glitz and glamour. Easy to forget then that just a short ferry ride away, on île St. Honorat, there is an abbey where Cistercian monks live lives of silence and contemplation.

In an attempt to connect these two apparently very different worlds – that of superficiality and of spirituality – Yvon Bertorello had the idea of creating the Festival de Silence in 2010. Every year, a contingent of 20 or so movie personalities are whisked away from the madness of the Croisette to share, for a few hours, the daily routine of those men who have chosen to withdraw from the world to pray.


As the only inhabitants of the island, the monks are used to welcoming pilgrims all year round to the island for religious retreats. They may have given up on civilization, but they still have an « entrepreneurial » spirit, and as they have done for centuries, they work the soil, growing grapes and producing their own wines and liquors which are now sold in many parts of the world.

For movie stars who are used to lives of luxury, this is a great opportunity to discover one the oldest communities of friars in France, and enjoy a unique spiritual experience in harmony with nature. On the program: a visit to the Abbey of Lérins, some time for prayer, meditation, and reflection, and a monastic meal.

Ile Saint-Honorat near Cannes

The vineyards on Ile Saint-Honorat

And afterwards when it’s business as usual for these stars, they will be reminded of their trip, as the emblem of the Cannes Film Festival is also that of the Abbaye de Lérins – the palm tree.

Cistercian Abbey
(Abbaye de Lérins)
île St. Honorat
06400 Cannes

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Lead image ©  Idarvol on Wikimedia Commons; licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0 licence




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