Île des Embiez

Island in Sanary-sur-Mer

Not content with owning just one island (Bendor), in 1958 Paul Ricard also bought the largest of the Embiez archipelago, 1km off the Presqu’île du Cap Sicié between Sanary-sur-Mer and Toulon. It is home to the Institut Océanographique Paul Ricard, with a very small aquarium where Mediterranean species swim around in tanks, and the associated Mediterranean Museum.

The rest of the 95-hectare island is occupied by a vast pleasure port, pine forest, maquis, vineyards, apartment blocks and a couple of posh hotels. Nonetheless, it's said to be something of a natural refuge, with 90% of Mediterranean plant species grow somewhere here.

Boats sail year-round from the small port at Le Brusc (10 minutes), a beach resort 5km south of Sanary-sur-Mer. From June to September four daily boats (adult/child return €10/6) sail to and from Bandol.