The park was born from the marriage of a legacy and a law. This legacy came from a couple, Marcel and Marceline HENRY, who, having managed the island for 40 years, donated a third of it to the State provided that it created a national park.
A law was passed on July 22 1960, allowing the creation of national parks.
Thus was born the first marine national park in Europe on December 14, 1963. It covers 700 hectares (1729 acres) of land area and 1,300 ha (3212 ac.) of marine area. It includes Port-Cros island, Bagaud island and La Gabinière and Le Rascas islands.
Between 1999 and 2006, the coastline conservation authority has acquired two valleys on the east side of the island, providing access to the beaches of La Palud and Port-Man.