The abbey was founded in the 5th century, when a monk called Honorat moved in a cave in the middle of Esterel mountain. Disciples came to see the hermit and soon a monastery was raised.
In the 5th and 6th centuries, this one became famous. But one day, saint Aygulphe tried to impose the Benedictine rule. What did he do?! Monks were furious, rebelled and asked count of Uzès to solve the problem... Then the monastery was plundered, besieged by Saracens in the 8th century, it was rebuilt by the abbot Elenthère. In the Middle-Ages, the abbey was prosperous and always get more and more lands: in the 13th century, they owned lands upon all the Mediterranean coast!
At the end of the 11th century, they started to raise a fortress, until the 15th century. Indeed, monks had work cut out! Because the Moors invaded Lérins in 1197, then followed by Genovese pirates in 1400 and Spanish in 1635... In the 17th century, monks were just melting away, abandoning the place. In 1791, Saint-Honorat island was sold. We must wait until 1875 to see Cistercian monks from Sénanque abbey moved in and restored the abbey...