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Made of six monumental sculptures depicting portraits of locals immersed near Sainte-Marguerite Island, Cannes Underwater Museum adds some magic to the French Riviera’s underwater world. Freely accessible from shore, this singular spot with artistic but also ecological accents aims to protect and provide refuge for marine life. By snorkeling between the portraits, you will also encounter local fish and invertebrates, which are back to this now protected small stretch of coastline.

Cannes Underwater Museum beach
Cannes Underwater Museum snorkeling area seen from the beach.

How to go snorkeling in Cannes Underwater Museum?

The Cannes Underwater Museum is located just off the southern shore of Sainte-Marguerite Island, one of the Lérins Islands, near Cannes. Compagnie Trans Côte d’Azur provides a boat service to Sainte-Marguerite Island all year round from the Port of Cannes/Quai des Îles. The boat trip takes about 15 minutes and costs 16 euros pp. round trip (10 euro/child, 2022 rates).

Once on the island, you’ll have to reach its south coast by foot. There is an extensive network of walking paths through the island, but the shortest path runs straight through the pine forest between Fort Royal and Maison Forestière (about a 1.3km walk). The snorkeling location site is then signposted.

Cannes underwater museum snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling in Cannes Underwater Museum

Recommended water entrance is from the beach, in front of the swimming area.

Cannes Underwater Museum snorkeling tips

Cannes underwater museum features a series of six monumental portraits sited between 80 and 150m from the shore, at a depth of 10 to 15ft/3 to 5m. It is quite easy to locate them thanks to the buoys delimiting the swimming area and by looking at other snorkelers in the water.

Jason Decaires Taylor underwater sculpture in Cannes
A Jason deCaires Taylor underwater sculpture in Cannes.

Each artwork is over 2 meters in height and is based on a portrait of a Cannes local resident. This series is the first installation in the Mediterranean from Jason deCaires Taylor, the British artist notably known for his underwater galleries in Cancún and the Canary Islands.

The sculptures not only make an enchanting underwater landscape: they also create new habitats for the restoration of marine fauna and flora on these fragile coastal waters. With time, the statues will be covered with algae and a whole range of microfauna that will attract bigger fish and invertebrates.

A snorkeler swimming above a sculpture in Cannes
Small algae start growing on the artworks.

The top of some sculptures is only 3 to 5ft/1 to 1.5m deep. Do not step on them, to avoid disturbing the small ecosystem slowly colonizing the works.

This spot, where fishing is only forbidden since 2021, is for the moment quite poor in fish. A few sargo and saddled bream swim around the portraits, while schools of salema are sometimes seen in the deeper Posidonia meadows. In the shallow waters near the beach, different species of wrasse and small red mullet can be seen, particularly in the sandy beds covered with dead Posidonia leaves.

Annular seabream and red mullet
An annular seabream and a red mullet in the shallows near the beach.

Located in a no boat and no anchoring area, Cannes Underwater Museum can be snorkeled in good safety conditions.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

There is no food option on Sainte-Marguerite Island’s south coast. Several restaurants and sandwich stands are located near the landing stage and the Fort Royal.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth18ft/6m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.