Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Île du Levant
Once upon a time there was a prince called Olbianus. He was the Lord of Olbia (Hyères), and he had four daughters of peerless beauty. One day, they were bathing off the coast when a pirate ship appeared. In desperation, their father prayed to the gods to stop them from being abducted. The princesses then felt their bodies become rigid and turn to stone. The three furthest sisters formed the Iles d'Or, while the youngest one, closer to the shore become the peninsula of Giens. It is said these islands have retained the stunning beauty they once had when they were princesses.
Long ago, the islands became detached from the Maures mountain range. They were once called the "Stoechades" (the aligned) and they shelter the Hyères harbour to the south. The Archipelago, which includes Porquerolles, Port Cros, and the Ile du Levant, extends over 22 kilometres with a number of small islets. The name "Iles d'Or" was attributed during the Renaissance, no doubt because in a certain light, the mica schists in their stone give off golden reflections.
The islands have been inhabited since prehistoric times, and over half of the area of the archipelago is now protected by the Port-Cros national park which is responsible for preserving its natural heritage on land and in the sea, in this exceptional part of the Mediterranean.