Phare de Cordouan - Médoc Atlantique
© David Remazeilles

Cordouan lighthouse: fishing and 360° views

The Cordouan lighthouse is the only French lighthouse at sea that is still manned, the oldest still in operation and the only one in the world open to visitors. This lighthouse is a must-see destination. An absolutely unique site, it offers an exceptional view of the Gironde and the Medoc coastline. Would you like to visit it? How to get there, which boat to choose, where to embark, what to do on site, here are our expert answers for a successful outing!

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How to get to Cordouan?

Visiting the Cordouan Lighthouse is like visiting the only lighthouse in the open sea open to the public. Access to the site is subject to tide times and coefficients which change each day, so it is important to find out the departure times before your visit. It is by boat that you will reach it, count approximately 45 min of navigation to join it. Once you have booked your trip, you will meet at Port Médoc in Le Verdon-sur-Mer. Don't forget to arrive 30 minutes before boarding!

vedette la bohème
David Remazeilles

La bohème

Set sail with La Boheme to discover the Cordouan lighthouse!

La Galantaise de croisière phare de Cordouan

La galantaise

Set sail with the galantaise to discover the Cordouan lighthouse!

Coming from far away? Beware of the transport time.

Count on:

1h30 drive from Lacanau

1h15 drive from Carcans-Maubuisson

50 minutes drive from Hourtin

Phare de Cordouan en famille
Phillipe Hedeline Photo

Visit the lighthouse

Guided tour
At low tide, the lighthouse keepers welcome visitors, who are invited to discover this magical world. During this unforgettable experience, they will tell you the history of the building and its little secrets. As you climb the 301 steps, you will be rewarded with a spectacular arrival at the top. We advise you to bring binoculars to enjoy the splendid 360 degree view even more.
The guardians are available and happy to share with visitors and will be happy to tell you as much as possible about their unusual lifestyle. So don't hesitate to continue your visit with them!

Enjoying the tide
The rocky islet on which the lighthouse stands is completely covered at each high tide, providing a rich environment for plant and animal species. A spinner, bucket, magnifying glass and sketchbook are perfect tools for budding explorers.

Practical advice

Being in the open sea, the lighthouse is not so easily approached. Indeed, due to the sandbanks, currents and tides, you will have to walk for about 15 minutes on the sandbank before climbing the first steps.

To make sure you have a fabulous experience, here's what you need to bring:

Shoes that can go in the water, or that can be removed easily. And yes, we often start the visit with a footbath.

A windbreaker. It's blowing on the ocean!

A pair of binoculars. To enjoy the view even more.

A picnic for the morning outings. It's quite exceptional to have lunch in the middle of the ocean!

Continue your visit

Around the Cordouan lighthouse

To continue the visit on your return to land, head for the Musée du phare de Cordouan et des phares et balises in Le Verdon-sur-Mer where you can learn more about navigation, the lighthouses of Gironde and the history of the estuary.

Discover the museum
Phare de Grave

Key information about Cordouan

The little details that make the difference before or even after visiting this mythical place. Things to tell at the next family meal!

How high is the Cordouan lighthouse?
Almost 68 metres (67.5 to be precise). Enough to gain height when you reach the top.

Can you get to the Cordouan lighthouse on foot?
Located more than 4 km from the coast, it is inconceivable to get there on foot. This is why access to the sandbank on which the lighthouse is built is only possible by boat. It is then possible to enjoy a pleasant walk along the sandy island to the lighthouse.

Who built the Cordouan lighthouse?
For centuries, wooden fires were lit at the mouth of the estuary. But it was not until 1594 that Henry IV decided to have a lighthouse erected there to celebrate the Catholic monarchy and show the importance of his reign. The appearance we know today dates from 1790 with construction under the direction of the engineer Teulière.

Is the Cordouan lighthouse inhabited?
Yes, and it is even the last lighthouse still inhabited in France. Guards take turns to maintain this unique place.

Vivez l'expérience Cordouan !


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