Lighthouses of France: Le Var (Saint-Tropez and Toulon Area)

This page includes lighthouses of France's southeastern coast, the Côte d'Azur, often called the French Riviera in English. The Riviera includes two départements of the French Republic, Alpes-Maritimes and Le Var. This page includes the lighthouses of Le Var, which includes the famous resorts of the Saint-Tropez area as well as Toulon, France's major naval base on the Mediterranean.

The French word for a lighthouse, phare, is often reserved for the larger coastal lighthouses; a smaller light or harbor light is called a feu (literally "fire," but here meaning "light"). The front light of a range (alignement) is the feu antérieur and the rear light is the feu postérieur.

Aids to navigation in France are maintained by the Bureau des Phares et Balises, an agency of the Direction des Affaires Maritimes (Directorate of Maritime Affairs). The Directorate has four regional offices (called Directions Interrégionale de la Mer, or DIRM) at Le Havre, Nantes, Bordeaux, and Marseille. Mediterranean lighthouses fall under the Marseille office, DIRM Méditerranée.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. FR numbers, where available, are the French light list numbers. Admiralty numbers are from volume E of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Phares d'Europe
A large, well known site maintained by Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller.
Phares de France
Another large and well known site, this one by Jean-Christophe Fichou, rich in historical information.
Ministère de la Culture - Phares
Historical data on more than 180 French lighthouses, with photos of most of them.
Phareland, le Site des Phares de France
This comprehensive site has good photos and information about the major lighthouses.
Online List of Lights - Mediterranean France
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. For this area, some of the photos are by Arno Siering, Capt. Peter Mosselberger ("Capt. Peter"), or Heidi and Friedrich Klatt ("the Klatts").
Lighthouses in France
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - South Coast of France
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in France
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Société Nationale pour le Patrimoine des Phares et Balises (S.N.P.B.)
The French national lighthouse preservation organization.
Französische Leuchttürme
Historic photos and postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.


Jetée Nord Light, Saint-Tropez, August 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Chris Goldberg

Saint-Raphaël and Fréjus Lighthouses
La Chrétienne
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); six quick white flashes and one long white flash every 15 s. 13 m (43 ft) round stone tower. Upper half of the lighthouse painted yellow, lower half black. Trabas has the Klatts' photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef about 1 km (0.6 mi) offshore southwest of Agay. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E0795.5; NGA 7064.
* Agay (La Baumette)
1884. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 3 s on, 1 s off. 16 m (52 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the front of a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery red. Trabas has the Klatts' photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. There is a monument at the lighthouse in memory of the author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who flew over this spot on his last and fatal flight on 31 July 1944. Located on the Pointe des Baumettes, on the east side of the entrance to the beautiful Rade d'Agay, about 10 km (6 mi) east of Saint-Raphaël. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-137; FR-1490; Admiralty E0795; NGA 7060.
* Saint-Raphaël (3)
2016 (station established 1873). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); three green flashes every 12 s. The light is mounted atop the round pierhead building (the harbor office) seen in Google's April 2016 street view. Trabas has Capt. Peter's closeup photo, and Google also has a satellite view. The second lighthouse, a 13 m (43 ft) slender stone tower, replaced the original cast iron tourelle seen at the far left of Huelse's postcard view. The second lighthouse was demolished in 2012 to make way for the current building. Located at the end of the south jetty at Saint-Raphaël; accessible by walking the jetty. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-501; Admiralty E0792.
* [Lanterne d'Auguste]
The Lanterne d'Auguste is a well-preserved square stone Roman daybeacon with a pyramidal top built during the reign of Augustus (27 BCE-14 CE). Michel Royon's photo is at right, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This tower and the next one guided vessels into the Roman port of Forum Julii, now Fréjus. Located near the east end of the Rue de la Lanterne d'Auguste on the south side of Fréjus. Site open.
* [Butte Saint-Antoine]
The Butte Saint-Antoine is the foundation ruin of a Roman lighthouse built in the reign of Tiberius (14-37 CE). Google has a street view and a satellite view. This tower and the previous one guided vessels into the Roman port of Forum Julii, now Fréjus. Located near the west end of the Rue de la Lanterne d'Auguste on the south side of Fréjus. Site open.

Saint-Tropez Lighthouses
Sèche à l'Huile
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 s); six quick flashes followed by one long flash every 15 s. 16 m (52 ft) round stone tower, upper half painted yellow and lower half black. A closeup photo is available, Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This light marks the north side of the entrance to the Golfe de Saint-Tropez. Located at sea about 1 km (0.6 mi) off the Pointe des Sardinaux east of Sainte-Maxime. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty E0790; NGA 7020.
* Saint-Tropez (Jetée Nord) (4) ("Phare Rouge")
2001 (station established 1858). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, occulting twice every 6 s. 16 m (52 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Tower is unpainted stone with trim painted white; lantern and gallery painted red. Chris Goldberg's photo is at the top of this page, Trabas has the Klatts' photo, Albert de la Hoz has a third photo, Claudio Di Pinto has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. The second St.-Tropez lighthouse, known affectionately as the Phare Rouge, was built at the end of the north jetty in 1869 and served until it was destroyed by German troops in 1944. It was replaced by a drab and "temporary" concrete tower. The temporary light remained for 36 years, until an extension of the jetty made a new light necessary. The city government then paid to construct an exact replica of the Phare Rouge, which was lit on the first day of the Millennium, 1 January 2001. Located at the end of the breakwater. Accessible by walking the jetty. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-082; Admiralty E0778; NGA 7000.

Lantern d'Auguste, Fréjus, March 2010
Wkimedia Creative Commons photo by Michel Royon
La Moutte (Cap de St.-Tropez)
1934(?). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); three quick flashes every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 11 m (36 ft) round stone tower, painted black with a yellow horizontal band. Trabas has the Klatts' closeup photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The beacon may well be much older than 1934; that's the date when it was first lit. This light marks the south side of the entrance to the Golfe de St.-Tropez. Located about 1.5 km (1 mi) off the point of the Cap de St.-Tropez. Accessible only by boat; there is a distant view from the end of the Chemin de la Moutte about 6 km (3.5 mi) east of St.-Tropez. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS FRA-366; Admiralty E0774; NGA 6992.

Cap Camarat and Cap Bénat Lighthouses
**** Cap Camarat
1837. Active; focal plane 130 m (427 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a square 1-story stone block keeper's house. Tower painted white, lantern black; the keeper's house is painted buff with white trim. A photo is at right, Trabas has the Klatts' photo, Phareland.com has many photos, Wikimedia has an aerial photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse has the same design as Cap d'Arme (Porquerolles), except that the tower is 5 m (16 ft) taller. It is the second highest light in France (after the Phare de Vallauris near Cannes), and it marks a major change in the direction of the coastline south of St.-Tropez. It was strafed by Allied aircraft in 1944 but not seriously damaged. Located at the end of the Route de Camarat about 7 km (4.5 mi) by road southeast of Ramatuelle. Site open, tower open for climbing daily throughout the summer season. ARLHS FRA-077; FR-1481; Admiralty E0772; NGA 6988.
* Bormes-les-Mimosas
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. 7 m (23 ft) three-legged concrete pylon painted white with a red top. Trabas has the Klatts' photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the east jetty, called the Quai d'Honneur, at Bormes-les Mimosas, a yacht harbor north of Cap Bénat. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E0765; NGA 6964.
Cap Bénat
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); red flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Tower painted white, lantern and gallery red. Trabas has the Klatts' photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Cap Bénat is a prominent cape on the mainland, facing the Rade d'Hyères. The cape is in a restricted residential area, so it is not possible to reach the lighthouse by road. Dedicated lighthouse fans can reach the light by a hike of about two hours each way on the spectacular coastal trail from La Favière. The lighthouse is actually located on Cap Blanc, the more southwesterly of the two forks of Cap Bénat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-076; Admiralty E0764; NGA 6956.
Cap Camarat Light
Cap Camarat Light, Ramatuelle, April 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Wusel007

Hyères and Îles d'Hyères Lighthouses
Note: The Îles d'Hyères are islands lying off the southernmost point of the Côte d'Azur, east of Toulon. Between the islands and the mainland is a deepwater sound called the Rade d'Hyères. The town of Hyères is on a peninsula of the mainland opposite the islands.
Les Salins (Port Pothuau) Jetée de l'Est
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white or green light, depending on direction, occulting three times every 12 s. 8 m (26 ft) post mounted on the roof of a 1-story pierhead building. The upper half of the post is painted green and the rest of the structure is white. Trabas has Siering's photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the east breakwater of Les Salins, an old fishing harbor on the mainland coast of the Rade d'Hyères. Admiralty E0756; NGA 6944.
* Hyères Jetée de l'Est
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); green flash every 4 s. 7 m (23 ft) octagonal pyramidal concrete tower, painted white with a narrow green band at the top. Trabas has Siering's photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the east (main) breakwater of Port St.-Pierre. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E0754; NGA 6920.
* Hyères Jetée de l'Ouest
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); red light, 3 s on, 1 s off. 7 m (23 ft) octagonal pyramidal concrete tower, painted white with a narrow red band at the top. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the west breakwater of Port St.-Pierre, on the east side of Hyères. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E0754.2; NGA 6924.
Le Titan (1)
1837. Inactive since 1893. 8 m (26 ft) square tower centered on a 1-story keeper's house. An aerial photo is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view (note the formidable stairway leading up from the landing below the lighthouse), and Google has a satellite view. The present light tower was added in 1893 because the original tower was not large enough to carry a 1st order lantern. Built at the eastern tip of the Île du Levant, it is located in a restricted military zone not accessible to the public in the past; the photo suggests this may be changing. Site status unknown, tower closed.
Le Titan (2)
1893 (station established 1837). Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story stone keeper's house. Centered on the roof of the house is a square tower that originally carried the lantern. Lighthouse painted white with unpainted stone trim; lantern painted black. A photo is at right, Trabas has the Klatts' photo, the Culture Ministry has a photo, an aerial photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The present light tower was added in 1893 because the original tower was not large enough to carry a 1st order lantern. This historic lighthouse marks the eastern end of the Îles d'Hyères, making it a very important light for westbound shipping. Built at the eastern tip of the Île du Levant, it is located in a restricted military zone not accessible to the public in the past; the photo suggests this may be changing. Site status unknown, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-504; FR-1479; Admiralty E0770; NGA 6976.

Le Titan Light, Îles d'Hyères, September 2011
Panoramio photo copyright rdesbois; used by permission
**** Cap d'Arme (Porquerolles, Rocher de la Croix)
1837. Active; focal plane 80 m (262 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical stone block tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a square 1-story stone block keeper's house. The lighthouse is unpainted white stone, lantern painted black. Trabas has a photo, a view from the sea and a closeup of the lantern are available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This historic lighthouse marks the southernmost point of the Côte d'Azur and ranks as one of the great lighthouses of the Mediterranean. In 1944 keeper Joseph Pellegrino's one-man defense saved the lighthouse from destruction by a small detachment of German troops sent for that purpose; for this heroism Pellegrino was awarded the Croix de l'Légion d'Honneur, the Cross of the Legion of Honor, France's highest award. The lighthouse is a popular attraction because of its spectacular view of the Mediterranean and the Îles d'Hyères; it is accessible by a hike of about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) one way from the village of Porquerolles, which can be reached by ferry from Giens. There is a small museum in the lighthouse. Located at the southernmost point of the Île de Porquerolles. Site open, tower open daily. ARLHS FRA-128; FR-1462; Admiralty E0751; NGA 6908.
Jeaune Garde
1934. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); quick-flashing light, white or red depending on direction. 16 m (52 ft) round masonry tower with a small gallery but no lantern. The upper half of the tower is black and the lower half yellow. Trabas has the Klatts' photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a rocky reef about 800 m (1/2 mi) northwest of the western tip of the Île de Porquerolles. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty E0750; NGA 6904.
Cap d'Arme Light
Cap d'Arme (Porquerolles) Light, Hyères, March 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Jlucnet
Grand-Ribaud (2)
1953 (station established 1851). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 16 m (52 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the elbow of an L-shaped 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. Jean-Luc Fitoussi has a photo, Trabas has the Klatts' photo, and Google has a good satellite view. The Îlot du Grand-Ribaud is a small, privately owned island in the western entrance to the Rade d'Hyères, between the Giens peninsula and the Île du Porquerolles. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse, which was destroyed during World War II. Located on the south point of the island, about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southeast of Giens. Accessible only by boat; there should be a distant view from the ferry between Giens and the Île de Porquerolles. Site status unknown. ARLHS FRA-304; FR-1459; Admiralty E0748; NGA 6896.

Toulon Area Lighthouses
Note: Located east of Marseilles, Toulon has been the traditional home port of the French Mediterranean Fleet since it was founded by Charles VIII in 1494. The inner harbor of Toulon, called the Petite Rade (little roads), is protected by a 1400 m (0.86 mi) long breakwater completed in 1882. Most shipping proceeds around the south end of the breakwater, but at the north end there is a gap, the Petite Passe, where smaller vessels can pass close to shore.
* #Le Mourillon (1)
1937(?). Replaced. This was a 4.5 m (15 ft) square post rising from a 1-story triangular equipment shelter. Post painted light blue, equipment shelter white. A 2009 closeup is available, Trabas has a photo, and Christophe Jeannette has a photo. The light (focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green light occulting twice every 6 s) has been replaced by a light on a simple post, seen in Google's street view and a satellite view. There is evidence that a light was displayed here earlier than 1937. Located at the end of the breakwater mole at the Port du Mourillon, a small boat harbor at the foot of the Rue Pierre Suffren in eastern Toulon, about 1 km (0.6 mi) northeast of the Petite Passe. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E0742; NGA 6840.
* Toulon Petite Passe (2)
Date unknown (station established 1900?). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); red or green light depending on direction, 2 s on, 2 s off. Light mounted atop a 22 m (72 ft) gray harbor control building. Trabas has a good photo, Nini Coquillat has a 2017 photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This light is at the end of a short jetty projecting into the Petite Passe. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original light, a 9 m (30 ft) cast iron tourelle. Located on the jetty beyond the end of the Avenue de la Tour Royale in southeastern Toulon. Site open (or at least one should be able to get close to the building), tower status unknown. ARLHS FRA-393; Admiralty E0720; NGA 6836.
Toulon Grande Jetée (2)
2009 (station established 1893). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 2.5 s. 9 m (30 ft) round hourglass-shaped tower, painted white with a green band at the top. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, a typical prefabricated tourelle; a photo is available. This light marks the main ship channel, which rounds the south end of the breakwater. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS FRA-562; Admiralty E0717; NGA 6832.
Saint-Mandrier Jetée (1)
1884. Inactive since late 2017 or early 2018. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern and gallery red. The original 1-1/2 story masonry keeper's house stands next to the lighthouse. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo (also seen at right), Delphine Gimbert has a 2008 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view and a very distant street view. This is typical prefabricated tourelle. It is not clear if it will be preserved. Located at the end of the breakwater jetty of St.-Mandrier-sur-Mer, on the north side of the Cap Cépet peninsula and the south side of the Rade de Toulon. Site and tower closed. ARLHS FRA-487.
Saint-Mandrier Jetée (2)
2017 or early 2018 (station established 1884). Active; focal plane about 13 m (43 ft); two red flashes every 10 s. 9 m (30 ft) round hourglass-shaped fiberglass tower, colored white with a red band at the top. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo (also seen at right). Located next to the historic lighthouse. Site and tower closed. Admiralty E0716; NGA 6820.

New (left) and old Jetty Lights, Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger; used by permission
Cap Cépet (Pointe Rascas) (2)
1950 (station established 1851). Inactive since 1992. 14.5 m (48 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising through the rear of a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. The original Fresnel lens is on display at the Musée National de la Marine in Toulon. Photos of this lighthouse are difficult to find; the Ministère de la Culture's archive photo appears at right. Trabas has a distant view, Guyomard and Carceller also have a distant view of the station, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse, an 11 m (36 ft) masonry tower rising from a masonry keeper's house, was destroyed in 1943, during World War II. Cap Cépet is the promontory sheltering the magnificent harbor of Toulon, the home port of France's Mediterranean Fleet. The cape is a restricted military area, closed to the public for many years. In 1992 the Navy relocated the light, but it also restored the lighthouse as a historical monument. Located on the point of the cape, about 2 km (1.2 mi) east of St.-Mandrier-sur-Mer. Site and tower closed (restricted military zone). ARLHS FRA-078.
Cap Cépet (Pointe Rascas) (3)
1992 (station established 1851). Active; focal plane 76 m (249 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) square concrete tower with gallery, rising from the center of a 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted white; the roof of the equipment shelter is red. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located 155 m (500 ft) northeast of the historic lighthouse. Site and tower closed (restricted military zone). FR-1434; Admiralty E0714; NGA 6796.
Phare du Cap Cépet
Cap Cépet Light, Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer
Ministère de la Culture photo
Cap Sicié
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. Light mounted atop a small white equipment cabinet. Benoit Perrier has a photo, Trabas has a distant view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Cap Sicié is a rugged promontory jutting into the Mediterranean southwest of Toulon. There was never a major lighthouse here, but there was a sémaphore (signal station) and various military installations, all now in ruins. Located above the point of the cape. Nearly inaccessible. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E0713; NGA 6788.
Grand-Rouveau
1863 (Léonce Reynaud). Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white light occulting twice every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the front of a 1-story stone keeper's house. The lighthouse is unpainted stone; the lantern dome appears to be black. Trabas has a photo by Christophe Boxus, a good closeup is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The Île du Grand Rouveau is the westernmost of the Îles des Embiez, a group of five islands with associated reefs and shoals. The island has been acquired by a land conservancy, the Conservatoire du Littoral. Located on the highest point of the island, about 5 km (3 mi) southwest of Sanary-sur-Mer. Accessible only by boat; there should be a distant view from the much larger Île d'Embiez, which is accessible by ferry from Six-Fours les Plages. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Conservatoire du Littoral. ARLHS FRA-019; FR-1431; Admiralty E0710; NGA 6760.
* Sanary-sur-Mer (2)
Date unknown (station established 1894). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); red flash every 4 s. 9 m (30 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story stone equipment room. The lighthouse is unpainted white stone; lantern and gallery rail painted red. Andrei Singer has a photo, Trabas has a photo, Karim Lozès has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. The original light was on a 6 m (20 ft) wood mast. Located at the end of the breakwater on the west side of the harbor at Sanary-sur-Mer; there's a good view from ferries leaving for the Île d'Embiez. Accessible by walking the breakwater. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-467; Admiralty E0704; NGA 6764.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Alpes-Maritimes | West: Marseille Area

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Posted April 7, 2006. Checked and revised April 2, 2018. Lighthouses: 27. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.