Cordouan Lighthouse, Gironde, France (with Map & Photos)

The Cordouan Lighthouse, also known as Phare de Cordouan, is a historic lighthouse located in southwestern France at the mouth of the Gironde estuary. It is often referred to as the "Versailles of the Sea" due to its impressive architectural and artistic features.

Cordouan Lighthouse
Cordouan Lighthouse

Here are some key facts about Cordouan Lighthouse:

1. History

Cordouan Lighthouse has a rich history dating back to the 16th century. Construction began in 1584, and the lighthouse was completed in 1611. It was designed by engineer Louis de Foix.

2. Location

The lighthouse is situated on Cordouan Island, approximately 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) off the French Atlantic coast, near the town of Le Verdon-sur-Mer.

3. Design

Cordouan Lighthouse is known for its stunning Renaissance and Gothic architectural design. It stands at a height of 68 meters (223 feet) and is made of white limestone. The lighthouse is adorned with sculptures, including depictions of sea creatures, mythological figures, and royal emblems.

4. Function

The primary purpose of Cordouan Lighthouse is to guide ships and vessels navigating the treacherous waters of the Gironde estuary, which is known for its strong currents and shifting sandbanks. It has played a crucial role in maritime safety for centuries.

5. Status

Cordouan Lighthouse is not only a functional lighthouse but also a historical monument. It has been recognized for its cultural and architectural significance, and it is a popular tourist attraction.

6. Light Characteristics

The lighthouse originally used an open flame to emit light. Over the years, it was modernized, and it now uses an electric light source, which is visible from a distance of up to 20 nautical miles.

7. Tours

Visitors can take guided tours of Cordouan Lighthouse to explore its rich history and architectural details. The tours provide insights into the lighthouse's role in maritime history and the preservation efforts to maintain its beauty.

Cordouan Lighthouse is a symbol of France's maritime heritage and a remarkable example of lighthouse architecture. It continues to be a source of pride and interest for tourists, historians, and those interested in maritime history and architecture.

Cordouan Lighthouse Map