The Cordouan lighthouse
Enjoy your holiday and visit the Cordouan lighthouse built in the Gironde estuary, a few kilometres from our resorts in Charente-Maritime. Embark on a boat trip from Royan port just 10 km from your holiday place!
The Cordouan lighthouse and its history
A very important lighthouse stands on the rocky plateau of Cordouan, located 7 km from the coasts in the middle of the Gironde Estuary, to warn shipping. Strategically located between Royan and Pointe de Grave in Verdon-sur-Mer, the Cordouan lighthouse was built about the 16th and the 17th century
Cordouan was built more than four centuries ago and it is the oldest lighthouse in France still active. Sometimes called “Versailles of the sea” or” King of lighthouses”. It is unique from other lighthouses thanks to its grandiose architecture and an extraordinary history. The Cordouan lighthouse is even older if we count its origin from the fire tower built in the 14th century on Cordouan island.
Each night, a hermit lit a large fire on the top of the “Tower of the Black Prince” which was the ancient lighthouse of the Cordouan. Henry III decided to build a lighthouse in the place of the fire tower and confided this project to the architect Louis de Foix. Henry IV restarted the Cordouan construction project and made it a symbol of royal power. The construction was slowed by the wars of religion and the titanic cost of the works. Construction finished nearly 30 years after it was started. The project of raising the lighthouse more than 20 meters in order to improve visibility was confined in the 18th century. Cordouan took its present form.
Visit the Cordouan lighthouse
The majestic Cordouan lighthouse, the dream laboratory of the engineers in the 19th century, that allowed Fresnel to experiment with his famous lens is a jewel of the Charentais coast.
A visit of the Cordouan needs a boat trip which itself is exceptional, from Royan port or Verdon. Discover the rooms of the Lighthouse of 67 meters high floor by floor and the top of the lighthouse after climbing the 301 steps. On the seventh floor, the Salle de la lanterne is the most impressive because its balcony offers a breath taking view of Gironde estuary. Your visit will be also an opportunity to discover the everyday life of the lighthouse keepers. The Cordouan is the last lighthouse on the French coast that is still inhabited all year. Since the time of its very first fire tower in the 14th century, the Cordouan plateau has never been abandoned by the lighthouse keepers. Of course, the electric installation in the lighthouse changed their daily life but the lighthouse keepers still watch over the lighthouse every day. Now the lighthouse keepers have a new duty to welcome and inform visitors during the tourist season.
Information, entry fee, opening time
Access to the lighthouse
Cordouan lighthouse is situated in the Gironde estuary. It is in the middle of the sea, on a rocky plateau surrounded by sandbanks. It is only accessible by boat. You have options: arrive via affiliated transportation companies or on your own boat, from Royan port or Port-Médoc in Verdon-sur-Mer. .
« Les Vedettes » of La sirène company are in Royan Port which is the nearest of Eldapi.
The price is 27€ per adult, 19€ per child from 4 to 12 years and 8€ per infant under 4 years. The embarkation is at the Monastir quay. The opening times of the lighthouse change daily according to the tide times and levels. You can visit the lighthouse from April to October. The last visitors must leave the lighthouse at most 2 hours after low tide and 1 hour before sunset.
Prices depend on your option
- Visitors who arrive on their own boat pay the entry fee: from 7€ to 15€ according to the seasons.
- Visitors who arrive on the shuttle boat pay “All inclusive fees (entry to the lighthouse + return boat trip ticket )” to the boat trip companies: from 51€ to 63€ with Les croisières La Sirène from Royan, from 47€ to 59€ with Les Vedettes La Bohème in Verdon.
- Departing from Royan or Verdon-sur-Mer, your excursion will last about 4 hours including 1h 30 visit of lighthouse.
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