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Lerins Abbey – monastery, towering on the island of Saint-Ongora on the coast of the city of Cannes. The monastery, founded at the beginning of the 5th century, is one of the oldest monasteries in Gaul. The abbey has a regular ferry service to the city because it is located in the urban area. Ferries to the island leave from the old port at the beginning of the Croisette.
The monastery, like some others, was founded by Saint Honorat. By the 8th century, the monastery had become very influential: it was home to about 500 monks. The monks were distinguished by asceticism and at the same time high social activity, many of them founded new monasteries or became bishops.
At the end of the 19th century, a fortified fort was erected next to the monastery to protect the island from attacks. The fort housed a refectory, a chapel and a library.
There are seven chapels around the monastery, built at different times over several centuries (XI – XVII centuries). Some of them, such as the chapel of the Archangel Michael, are in ruins.
The main building of the monastery, erected in the 11th century and closed in 1789, was destroyed. The relics of Saint Honorat were transferred to the Grasse Cathedral, where they are kept today. Monastic life on the island was revived in the middle of the 19th century thanks to the Cistercian Order, who in 1859 began work on the restoration of the monastery. A new Romanesque building was erected on the site of old buildings, from which only the courtyard and towers have survived.
Today only the monastery church, a small museum with medieval manuscripts and a cloister are open to visitors. The eastern part of the island 'zone of silence' - completely closed to the public. Monks are engaged in gardening: they grow oranges, grapes, lavender and winemaking.
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Topic: Abbey of Lerins in France, resort of Cannes.