The Story of "Port Creux"

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Among the relics of the past

The Fort de l’Estissac houses a permanent exhibition on submarine biodiversity and the conservation work carried out by the National park.
Entrance is free.
Opens from May to September.


Port-Cros owes its name to the hollow (“creux” in French) shape of its harbour. The island has known a stormy past and was, until the 20th century, the theatre of numerous invasions and conflicts. For centuries, it was regularly ransacked by pirates mooring on its coasts. Under the reign of Francis the 1st, the island, along with the neighbouring Bagaud and Le Levant, were transformed into marquisates and granted asylum to numerous judicial convicts in the hope that their presence would deter invasion and protect the island from piracy. Unfortunately, the arrival of the convicts only worsened problems of crime and looting. The following centuries were spent trying to restore order on the island. Cardinal Richelieu built numerous forts there and Louis the 14th fought against robbery. Nonetheless, Port-Cros remained a zone of conflicts and was even invaded by the British in the 18th century until the French count of Maurepas chased them away. Finally, the island witnessed the liberation of Provence in 1944. It is now a peaceful and quiet retreat loved by tourists. Mass tourism, however, has represented a threat to the island and Monsieur and Madame Henry, its former owners, bequeathed the island to the State as a measure to protect its precious ecosystem.


Focus on…Port-Cros National Park

If the islands’ natural beauty and authentic flora and fauna remain intact to this day, it is thanks to the tireless work carried out by the Port-Cros National Park. The Park, with the help of its partners, has been protecting these spectacular landscapes since 1963.

The National Park consists of two cores: the island of Port-Cros and the protected natural spaces on the island of Porquerolles belonging to the State. The waters, within a distance of 600 metres from the shores are also part of the National Park.

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