Patiras Lighthouse
Aquitaine (France)

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Richard Lighthouse
Aquitaine (France)

In the 17th century it was a tree that took care of the navigation on the Gironde. It was called the tree of Richard. In the beginning of the 19th century the tree was destroyed by a terrible storm. So a lighthouse was built in 1843. In 1870 a second lighthouse was built in metal. It was named in honour of the tree. In 1953 the 2 lighthouses were turned off and were sold. In 1982 the state decided to buy the property back and restored the lighthouse.



Cordouan Lighthouse
Aquitaine (France)

The lighthouse is also called “le Versailles de la mer” or “le roi des phares”.
In the 14th century there was a lighthouse on the rock of Cordouan. At the end of the 16th century the King signed a contract with Louis de Foix to build a more permanent structure. Louis de Foix dedicated 18 years of his life into building the lighthouse. He died in 1602 before the lighthouse was completed. Another architect finished his work in 1611. That was 27 years after the contract was signed. In 1645 there was a big storm partially destroyed the lighthouse so they rebuilt it.

Between 1782 and 1789 Joseph Teulère proposed to raise the light another 30m by building on the 2 existing floors; making the light itself 60m above sea level. The whole structure was built in the Renaissance style; favoured by Louis XVI. With elements of Palace, Cathedral and Fortress

In 1823 they experimented and tested the first Fresnel lens.
In 1862 the lighthouse was registered as a historical monument.
In 1948 the light was electrified and powered by 2 generators.
In 1999 the lighthouse was hit by waves during a severe storm that damaged both the first and second floors of the lighthouse and the light was without power for a couple of days.
The lighthouse is surrounded by water except at low tide when a sand bank appears and acts as a causeway for visitors to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse has different floors:
- On the ground floor you find the living quarters for the lighthouse keepers, set behind the entrance door to the lighthouse.
- The first floor there is what is called “l’appertement du roi” but there is no record of a King ever having stayed there. It was supposed that it was the King’s representative who stayed there while carrying out an inspection.
- The second floor houses a chapel complete with vaulted ceiling and on occasion; host to wedding ceremonies. Built after Joseph Teulère’s original elevations.
- Below the light on the on the sixth floor is the watch room where the lighthouse keepers kept watch.
- On the sixth floor there is the lantern.

The lighthouse has been manned since 1611 by lighthouse keepers. It is one of the last lighthouses that is still manned .There are always 2 lighthouse keepers on station who maintain a shift of 2 weeks on the lighthouse and one week at home.

This is a most impressive lighthouse and well worth the visit even if you might get your feet wet!

In 2011 it will celebrate 400 years of providing both an aid to mariners and as a monument.



Grave Lighthouse
Aquitaine (France)

The lighthouse was built in 1825 and lit in 1827. They built another in 1829 in a different location and yet another in 1837 which was located on the Ford of Grave until it too was destroyed by the tide the very next year. This continued until 1860 then they started building the current lighthouse. The lighthouse is electrified in 1937 and automated in 1955. Currently you can find the museum of the lighthouse of Cordouan and “des phares et balises” in the lighthouse. You can visit the lighthouse.


1° 3'56.83"W

Saint Nicolas Lighthouse
Aquitaine (France)

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1° 5'0.77"W

Hourtin Lighthouse
Aquitaine (France)

In 1860 they built 2 lighthouses 200m from each other. Both were in use until 1963. They built the 2 distiguish between those of Hourtin, Cap Ferret and Cordouan. In 1894 the southern one discontinued. The lighthouse was reachable by crossing the lake by boat. Now a days you can reach the lighthouse by a road through the forest but only by bicycle. Prohibitions are in place for travel by car during certain months of the year.

45° 8'31.39"N

1° 9'39.44"W

Cap Ferret Lighthouse
Aquitaine (France)

This lighthouse is open to the public. The original lighthouse was built in 1835 and lit in 1855. It was destroyed in 1944 and rebuilt in 1949.