Destination: Cordouan lighthouse

Let yourself be told the story of this wonder off Royan.

Classified as a historic monument, the lighthouse of Cordouan is the most beautiful and oldest lighthouse in France. At a height of 67.50 meters, it has six floors in the Renaissance style and offers an unobstructed view of the Gironde estuary, the Côte d'Arvert and the Pointe de la Coubre.

It is accessed by boat at low tide and we have a few hours to visit the monument, to fish on foot or to swim.

Cordouan lighthouse

Annette, 64 years old, marvels at the Cordouan Lighthouse.

We set off at 10.00 in the morning, from Royan marina. There we boarded a boat that would take us to Cordouan. My husband and I have been able to visit a large number of lighthouses in many parts of France, but we hadn't yet added this one to our list.

We were very eager to go! We got our tickets and boarded from the pontoon. There were quite a lot of people...

But finally there we were on the boat. We managed to get a good place to take some really good photos. Some 10 minutes later we could hear the engine throbbing beneath our feet. So we left the port. And out to sea....

The sea was a brilliant blue today, the promise of some really superb photos. We sailed out to approach our destination. We could see some of the details of the building as we drew closer – it's magnificent! I read somewhere that it reaches 37 metres high at the top. The architect Louis de Foix designed it, and building was completed in 1611. It took 25 years of hard work to complete the King of Lighthouses. The result is simply spectacular! At the time it was considered to be the 8th wonder of the world. It was even classified as a Historical Monument back in 1862.

After 45 minutes out at sea we moored between two sand banks. We'd done the right thing by wearing rubber boots, a number of people landed up with wet feet! It took a about ten minutes walking to reach the building.

The keepers welcomed us at the entrance to the lighthouse. It was good exercise reaching the lantern at the top: no less than 301 steps…. At least I could claim I'd worked off the ice cream I ate yesterday evening!

Once at the top we discovered the most wonderful land- and seascape. I quivered at the sight of the boats, the shore and pure, natural environment.

The return to the port marked the end of our visit, with eyes and mind full of souvenirs.

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