Sainte-Marguerite Island – Cannes, France – .

Sainte-Marguerite Island – Cannes, France – .

To the other side of the sea of ​​glamor Cannes, the silhouette of Île Sainte-Marguerite conceals an unsolved mystery. The island is part of the Lérins Islands and is articulated by several paths that crisscross between pine and eucalyptus forests. In the island fortress, known as Fort Royal, the mysterious “Man in the Iron Mask” was held captive for 11 years in the 17th century.
In his work of 1751 The age of Louis XIV, Voltaire told the story of a captive whose face was hidden by an iron mask. (The records suggest that Voltaire was wrong about the material, that the mask was in fact made of black velvet, not iron.) According to the testimony of other prisoners, this mysterious prisoner had preferential treatment: “We do not refused him anything he asked for. , he had exquisite taste in the way he was dressed, he played the guitar and he was given the best meal… ”

The penitentiary course of this enigmatic convict, who is not mentioned anywhere in his true personality, went from the prison of Pignerol in the French Alps to the island of Sainte-Marguerite in 1687. Finally, he was transferred to the Bastille of Paris , where he died in 1703. He was buried under the fictitious name of Marchioly.

Besides the famous novel by Alexandre Dumas from 1847 The Viscount of Bragelonne about the antagonistic royal twins, there are other conjectures about the identity of the masked man. At the entrance of Fort Royal is a sign listing 30 possible candidates for wearing a mask. The cell (Iron Mask Cell) adjoins the old prison where a few religious prisoners (Huguenots), graduated soldiers and various celebrities have gathered. This penitentiary could represent a five-star prison at the time, and the cell in question even has a fireplace, currently walled up.


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