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Visit Cordouan: king of all lighthouses, lighthouse of all Kings!

New in La Gazette! We are experimenting on editing English versions of some of our articles in order to: - allow English speakers living in the area to read about local events, - help French locals who want to practice reading in English (a glossary will be included). If enough of you enjoy it, we might do more so please do share!!

In order to reach the rocky Cordouan shore when the tide is low, you need to take a La Boheme ferry from either Royan or Le Verdon.

One of the lighthouse guards will welcome you after a short sandy walk from the boat. Four guards share a 24/7 schedule all year long. They work in pairs over one or two weeks at a time.

Do go around the lighthouse; you will be able to access the engineer's quarters from the base. These contain the guards' abode and the operation room.

You will be blown away by the lighthouse's exquisite architecture and its technical innovations.

The lighthouse is 221.5 ft (67.5 meters) high and has six floors. You need to climb all 301 steps to reach the monitoring room on the 6th floor.

In the beacon above you, you can see the lantern and its famous 200-year-old Fresnel lens.

The lens can illuminate up to 19 miles away. It was first used in 1823 by Augustin FRESNEL. This is the most-used type of lens in lighthouses worldwide.

Every floor has its own wonder: the Lord's quarters, the chapel, the Girondins room, the counterweight landing, the lights room, the monitoring room and the beacon. There is even a gallery for a 360° amazing view!

A last stroll on the rocky foreshore will reveal the local fauna and flora. 324 species (250 animal species - molluscs, crustaceans, sea sponges, etc.) and 74 vegetal species (algae, etc.).

Plan your visit

You can either visit, get a themed tour or take part in a scavenger hunt!

The TER 42 train will take you to Le Verdon from Bordeaux and metropolitan cities, including Blanquefort, Parempuyre, Ludon and Macau.

Adapted in English by C.BL

Proofreading by Laura Millar

Original text (French) Joelle Martinez

Photos (c)JM/LGM 2023


Shore - rivage

Tide - marée

Schedule - planning (des horaires)

Do + infinitif - accentuation de l'action ("vraiment faire")

Abode - résidence

To be blown away - être époustouflé

Beacon - balise

Wonder - merveille

Stroll - balade, marche

Foreshore - estran

Scavenger hunt - chasse au trésor


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