Lush subtropical vegetation reminiscent of a Caribbean island makes this a green paradise,
5km (3 miles) long and 2km (11⁄4 miles) wide. The most mountainous of the
archipelago, Port-Cros has been a French national park since 1963. A fire in 1892 devastated
the island, which now abounds with pine forests and ilexes. Birders flock here
to observe nearly 100 different species. Day-trippers can explore some of the many
marked trails. The most popular and scenic is sentier botanique; the more adventurous
and athletic take the 10km (6-mile) circuit historique (you’ll need a packed lunch
for this one). Divers follow a 274m (900 ft.) trail from Plage de la Palud to the islet of
Rascas, where a plastic guide sheet identifies the underwater flora. Thousands of pleasure
craft call here annually, which does little to help the island’s fragile environment.
WHERE TO STAY & DINE
Le Manoir This is the only bona-fide hotel on the island, but despite lack of
competition, its owners work hard to make their guests as comfortable as possible.
Originally, it functioned as the grandiose home of the family that owned the entire
island. Today, the hotel consists of an 18th-century architectural core, plus an annex
that contains most of the guest accommodations, which are simple, with bathrooms equipped with tub/shower combinations. Some rooms have air-conditioning. The
restaurant serves lobster-and-fish terrine, several seasoned meats, and fresh local fish
with baby vegetables, as well as regional goat cheese and velvety mousses.
83400 Ile de Port-Cros. & 04-94-05-90-52. Fax 04-94-05-90-89. firstname.lastname@example.org. 23 units.
145€–185€ ($189–$241) double; 180€–210€ ($234–$273) suite. MC, V. Closed Oct–Apr. Amenities: Restaurant;
bar; outdoor pool; limited room service; laundry service. In room: Dataport, hair dryer.