When you visit the Cordouan Lighthouse, you are visiting the only offshore lighthouse open to the public. Access to the site is dependent upon tide times and coefficients which vary each day.
It’s 9 o’clock on a Thursday morning and we’re climbing on board the ‘La Bohème’ at Verdon for the 45-minute boat ride to this majestic monument!
A little bit of history...
Cordouan is the oldest French lighthouse still in operation. It has been a listed historic monument since 1862, the same time as Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and its spectacular architecture, the result of a long and turbulent history, has made Cordouan a “Versailles of the sea”, a lighthouse like no other in the world which will not fail to astound you.
It is the last lighthouse to be inhabited by its keepers, who know everything there is to know about this site and who will be delighted to welcome you through the doors of what some people call the Versailles of the sea! What is striking about Cordouan is the beauty of the stone and the wealth of embellishments, especially in the chapel where weddings and christenings are sometimes still held.
Proud of their profession and passionate about their retreat, they will help you explore this magical place
Boots on, children with shrimping nets over their shoulders and buckets in their hands… let the adventure begin!
We walk for about 15 minutes before we reach the first steps up to the lighthouse. More than majestic, it is amazing to see such a beautiful building right out in the middle of the ocean! The lighthouse keeper greets us and tells us about the history of the lighthouse and how it works. The children are jumping up and down with excitement, eager to climb up the 311 steps!
Once at the top, the view is breathtaking and it’s hard to imagine what a lighthouse keeper’s life is like when it’s just him in the building, completely surrounded by water. We enjoy the scene and the calm, peaceful surroundings, feeling that we’re experiencing a truly unique moment… so is this an ‘oceanesque’ moment?!
Shoes which can be worn in the water
A pair of binoculars
The departure times and therefore the tide times!