Lighthouses of Guyane (French Guiana)
French Guiana, the only remaining European territory in South America,
is located on the north coast of the continent adjoining Brazil to the
east and south and Suriname to the west. Now known officially as Guyane, the territory is governed as
an overseas département of the French Republic. Formerly the site of the infamous Devil's
Island penal colony, Guyane has become much better known in recent
years as the site of the European Space Agency's Spaceport
launch facilities. Both the prison and the Spaceport are now popular tourist
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").
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the
Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers
are from Publication 110.
- General Sources
List of Lights - French Guiana
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Photos for French Guiana are by Luc Petrelluzzi and Douglas Cameron.
- Lighthouses in French Guiana
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- World of Lighthouses - French Guiana
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Südamerikas auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Île Royale Light, Îles du Salut, 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Didwin973
- * Île
- 1934 (station established 1864). Active; focal plane 65 m (213
ft); two white flashes, separated by 2.5 s, every 10 s. 29 m (95
ft) skeletal tower with lantern and gallery mounted atop a round
masonry tower. Masonry tower painted white; skeletal tower and lantern
painted bright red. A photo is above,
Trabas has a photo
by Douglas Cameron, Özbay Kozmetik has a 2013 photo, A. Georges-Noël has a 2016 street view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse stands amid the buildings of the
former penal colony. (Devil's Island, the best known
part of the penal colony, is separated from Île Royale by
a narrow strait.) The light was originally shown from the roof
of the prison hospital. The island is accessible from Cayenne by
passenger ferry, and guided tours are available. Located at the
highest point of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRG-002;
Admiralty J6894; NGA 17416.
- * [Île
Royale Jetée (Range Front)]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); continuous green light. 7 m (23 ft) post centered on a small square equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted with green and white horizontal bands. Trabas has Douglas Cameron's photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. The rear light of the range is on a post. Located on the pier at the southeastern corner of Île Royale. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRG-003;
Admiralty J6895; NGA 17420.
- * [Kourou (Tour Dreyfus)]
- Date unknown. Inactive (daybeacon). Tripod with a red trapezoidal
daymark mounted atop a 12 m (39 ft) round stone tower with gallery, carrying a white daymark mounted on a red tripod.
Tower painted white. Gaetano Cerrone has a closeup photo,
Wikimedia has many photos, Lightphotos.net has a closeup photo, A. Georges-Noël has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. This tower was built as a signal tower for communications
between the mainland and the Îles du Salut, including Devil's
Island. The tower is named informally for Alfred Dreyfus, the French
Army officer famously imprisoned on Devil's Island from 1895 to 1899.
Located on the Pointe des Roches, the promontory on the west side
of the entrance to the Kourou River in Kourou. Site open, tower status
- L'Enfant Perdu (2)
- 1919 (modified in 1934) (station established 1863). Reactivated (inactive 1968-1989);
focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) round
concrete tower topped by a lantern and gallery mounted on a short
skeletal tower. An abandoned keeper's house stands next to the lighthouse.
A photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has Patrick Balta's photo, and Bing has a satellite view.
Klaus Huelse has a historic postcard view
of the first lighthouse on the reef. It was replaced in 1919. Huelse also has a postcard view showing the original appearance of the present tower. The lighthouse
was deactivated in favor of a buoy in 1968. After many protests from
mariners the tower was reactivated in 1989 with an automated, solar-powered
lamp. Located on a rocky islet about 11 km (7 mi) north of
Cayenne. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS FRG-001;
Admiralty J6901; NGA 17428.
- * Fort
- 1905(?) (station established 1850). Active; focal plane 40 m (131
ft); three flashes every 15 s, in a 2+1 pattern, white or red depending
on direction. 9 m (30 ft) concrete post light mounted on a square
1-story concrete equipment shelter. Post painted red, equipment shelter white. Lightphotos.net has a closeup photo, Trabas has Petrelluzzi's photo, Eddy Lalouette has a closeup street view, and Google has a satellite view. This light replaced a 12 m (39 ft) wood skeletal tower.
Located on a hill in front of Fort Cépérou, overlooking the
harbor of Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana. Site open, tower
closed. ARLHS FRG-004; Admiralty J6902; NGA 17436.
- Cheval Blanc
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); quick-flashing red light. 15 m (49 ft) triangular skeletal mast mounted on a square concrete pier. Tower painted white with a red top. Trabas has Petrelluzzi's photo, and Google has a satellite
view. Located on the west side of the Cayenne River channel, about 1.6 km (1 mi) southwest of Fort Cépérou. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower
closed. Admiralty J6904; NGA 17440.
L'Enfant Perdu Light, Cayenne, April 2012
Flickr photo copyright Terres de Guyane; permission requested
Information available on lost lighthouses:
- Maroni River (1871-?). Findlay's 1879 list has a 21 m (70 ft) tower on the east side of the river entrance. The Maroni River forms the border between Suriname and French Guiana. The fate of this lighthouse is not known.
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: Southeast: Northern Brazil |
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Posted July 7, 2003. Checked and revised March 26, 2019.
Lighthouses: 4. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.