Lighthouses of France: Ille-et-Vilaine
The old French province of Bretagne (Brittany) occupies
a peninsula at the northwestern corner of France separating La Manche
(the English Channel) from the Golfe de Gascogne (Bay of Biscay). Like Wales Bretagne is
an ancient Celtic country that maintained its independence until the
end of the fifteenth century. Today it is divided into four départements
of the French Republic. This page includes lighthouses of the
department of Ille-et-Vilaine at the northeastern corner of Bretagne.
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. The Breton word for a lighthouse is tour-tan; enez is an island, and men is a rock or reef.
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. Lights in Brittany are managed by the DIRM Nord-Atlantique - Manche Ouest (DIRM-NAMO) at Nantes.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. FR numbers are the French light list numbers, where known. Admiralty
numbers are from volume A of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog
Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 114.
- General Sources
- Le Phare à travers le
- A large, well known site maintained by Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller.
- Les Phares de France
- Another large and well known site, this one by Jean-Christophe Fichou.
de la Culture - Phares
- Historical data on more than 180 French lighthouses, with photos of most
- Phares et Balises:
- Photos and information posted by M. Mocquant.
- Excellent photos by Marc de Kleijn.
- Photos and notes by Malte Werning.
- Lighthouses in Ille-et-Vilaine
- Photos available from Wikimedia.
- Lighthouses in
- Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
List of Lights - France North Coast
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
- Phareland, le Site des Phares de
- This comprehensive site has good photos and information about the major
- Société Nationale
pour le Patrimoine des Phares et Balises (S.N.P.B.)
- The French national lighthouse preservation organization.
- Historic photos and postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
- Navigation chart information for Finistère.
Grand Jardin Light, Saint-Malo, August 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by J. Pline
Dinard and Saint-Malo (Saint-Malo Harbor) Lighthouses
- Les Courtis
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every
4 s. 21 m (69 ft) round multistage stone tower, painted green. Trabas
has a photo
by Thomas Philipp and Google has an indistinct satellite view. (Note: The large apparent discrepancy between tower
heights and focal planes for the offshore St.-Malo lights is caused
by the large tidal range: a considerable part of the towers is covered
at high tide.) Located on a waveswept rock about 1.1 km (0.7 mi) northwest
of the Phare du Grand Jardin. Accessible only by boat in rough seas.
Site and tower closed. ARLHS FRA-344; Admiralty A1674; NGA 7976.
- Grand Jardin (feu antérieur) (2)
- 1949 (station established 1868). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft);
two red flashes every 10 s. 38 m (125 ft) round stone tower with lantern
and gallery. Tower painted white; lantern and gallery are red, except
the lantern dome is unpainted metal. Keith Havercroft's photo is at
the top of this page, Guyomard and Carceller have good photos,
a 2007 closeup is available, Trabas has a great photo by Thomas Philipp, Brian Sack has a 2003 closeup,
Fichou has a historical account (last lighthouse on the page), Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse marks the beginning of the channel entering
the harbor of Saint-Malo. The original lighthouse was blown up by
German troops in August 1944. The replacement tower is very similar
to the original, except it has a larger lantern. The lighthouse serves
as the front light for two ranges; for the Grande Porte range the
rear tower is the Phare de Rochebonne and for the outer Petite Porte
range the rear light is the Phare de la Balue. Located on a waveswept
rock off the west end of the Île de Cézembre about 7
km (4 mi) northwest of the St.-Malo waterfront. Accessible only by
boat in rough seas. Site and tower closed. ARLHS FRA-030; FR-0535; Admiralty
A1676; NGA 7980.
- Le Buron
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); four green flashes
every 15 s. 24 m (79 ft) round stone tower with a small lantern and
gallery, painted green. The active light is mounted on top of the
lantern. Remi Jouan's photo is at right, Trabas has a photo by Heike and Friedrich Klatt and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse stands beside the channel to the old harbor
(Petite Porte) of St.-Malo and also serves as the rear daymark of
a daylight range for ships arriving along the coast from the northeast.
Located on a rock about 1/3 of the way from the Phare du Grand Jardin
to the St.-Malo waterfront. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower
closed. ARLHS FRA-538; Admiralty A1680; NGA 7972.
Le Buron Light, Saint-Malo, May 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Remi Jouan
- * Dinard (Chenal de Bunet feu postérieur)
- Date unknown (recent). Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off, synchronized with the front light. 35 m (115 ft) round vase-shaped white concrete water tower. Trabas has a photo and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The front light is on a short mast. Located on a hilltop on the Rue du Haut Chemin in Dinard, on the west side of Saint-Malo's harbor. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty A1673.1; NGA 8006.1.
- * St.-Malo
Môle des Noires (4+)
- 1949 (station established 1838). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash
every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) pyramidal concrete tower with gallery and a small lantern.
Tower painted white, lantern and gallery rail red. Trabas has a photo
by Thomas Philipp, Antoine Leguen has a closeup street view, and Google has a satellite view. Fichou is not clear on how many mole lighthouses there have been.
In 1934 the mole was rebuilt and extended, causing the light to be moved.
The Germans destroyed that light in 1944. Huelse has a historic postcard
view of one of the earlier lights. Located at the end of the breakwater
mole enclosing the north side of the harbor; accessible by walking the mole.
Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-373; Admiralty A1682; NGA 8008.
- * Les
Bas-Sablons (feu antérieur)
- 1865. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); continuous green light,
intensified on the range line. 19 m (62 ft) robust square cylindrical
stone tower without lantern or gallery; the light is shown through
a window on the top floor. Tower painted white with unpainted stone
trim, except that the top floor of the front face is painted black.
The rear light is the Phare de la Balue (next entry). (Ships approaching the old
harbor of St.-Malo first follow an outer range, lining up the Phare
du Grand Jardin with the Phare de la Balue. As they pass the Phare
du Grand Jardin, the channel jogs to the right, and ships must then
line up the Phare des Bas-Sablons and the Phare de la Balue.) Trabas
has a good photo, de Kleijn has a good photo,
Guyomard and Carceller also have photos,
Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. This is the only one of St.-Malo's four major lighthouses
that survived World War II. Located on the Digue des Bas-Sablons on
the old waterfront of St.-Malo. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-343;
FR-0542; Admiralty A1686; NGA 8000.
- * La
Balue (feu postérieur) (2)
- 1948 (station established 1868). Active; focal plane 69 m (226
ft); continuous green light, intensified on the range line. 37 m
(121 ft) robust square stone tower with gallery, attached to a 1-story
stone keeper's house. The light is shown through a large circular
window on the top floor. The tower is presently unpainted; historically
the lighthouse was white with two black horizontal bands. A photo
is at right, Trabas has a photo
by Arno Siering, and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. This is the rear light for two ranges, one whose front
light is the Phare des Bas-Sablons and another whose front light
is the Phare du Grand Jardin. Like other St.-Malo lighthouses,
this one was destroyed by German troops in August 1944 and rebuilt
after the war. Huelse has a historic postcard
view of the original lighthouse. Located on the
Rue Douteleau, just off the Rue de la Balue, 1.65 km (1 mi) southwest
of the front lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-178;
FR-0543; Admiralty A1686.1; NGA 8004.
La Balue Light, Saint-Malo, September 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Clipper
- La Plate
- Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); flash every 4 s, white, red or green depending
on direction. 22 m (72 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, mounted on a
large round concrete pier. Lighthouse painted black above the gallery and
yellow below. Trabas has a distant photo
by Thomas Philipp and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) off the east side of the
entrance to St.-Malo. Accessible only by boat in rough seas. Site and tower
closed. Admiralty A1675; NGA 7988.
- * Rochebonne
(Feu de la Haize) (feu postérieur) (2)
- 1951 (station established 1868). Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft);
continuous red light, intensified on the range line. 20 m (66 ft)
robust square cylindrical Breton-style stone tower with gallery, attached
to a 2-story stone keeper's house. The light is shown through a large
octagonal window near the top of the tower. Below the gallery the
front face of the tower is painted white, and above the gallery it
is painted red. Andreas Köhler has an excellent closeup photo, Guyomard and Carceller have several good photos,
Trabas has a photo, Google has a distant street view, and the lighthouse is at the center of a Google satellite view. This is the rear light of a range that begins with the Phare
du Grand Jardin. German troops destroyed this beautiful building in
August 1944, but it was rebuilt carefully, on the original design,
after the war. Located on the northeast side of St.-Malo, in Paramé. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-453; FR-0536; Admiralty A1676.1;
- Le Herpin (Pierre
- 1882. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white light, occulting twice
every 6 s. 24 m (79 ft) round tapered stone tower with lantern and
gallery, painted white; lantern and gallery are black. Fog siren (one
long and one short blast every 60 s). Trabas has a photo
by Thomas Philipp, de Kleijn has an excellent photo,
Guyomard and Carceller have a good photo
by Joël Richard, Anthony Métayer has a view
from shore, and Huelse has a historic postcard
view, but the lighthouse is not seen in Bing's satellite view. The gallery was expanded in 1964 to accommodate the new
fog signal; an earlier foghorn had been discontinued in 1954. Located
on a waveswept rock northeast of the Pointe de Chemoulin, marking
the entrance to the Baie du Mont Saint-Michel. Accessible only by
boat in rough seas. Site and tower closed. ARLHS FRA-049; FR-0523; Admiralty
A1670; NGA 8012.
- * La
Houle sous Cancale (Feu de la Fenêtre) (1)
- 1863. Inactive since 1937. 11.5 m (38 ft) round stone tower with
lantern and gallery. The lighthouse was originally painted white,
but all the paint has faded from the tower; the lantern is black.
Federico Lukkini's photo is at right, de Kleijn has a good photo,
Guyomard and Carceller have photos
of the lighthouse and its replacement by Stéphane Longuet, Fouad Elmazouni has a nice
of the stone tower on the waterfront, a 2008 photo
is available, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite
view. This lighthouse was built at the foot of the Jetée
de la Fenêtre and was deactivated when the jetty was extended.
It was replaced by a light at the end of the extended jetty (next entry). Located on the waterfront
in Cancale, on the west side of the Baie du Mont Saint-Michel. Site
open, tower closed. ARLHS FRA-210.
La Houle Light, Cancale, September 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Federico Lukkini
- * La
Houle sous Cancale (Feu de la Fenêtre) (2)
- 1937. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft);
green light, occulting three times every 12 s. 11 m (36 ft) square skeletal tower painted white and standing on a square 1-story equipment shelter. Holden Martin has a 2018 photo, Benjamin Couchouron also has a 2018 photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the extended jetty. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty A1672; NGA 8016.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: North: Jersey | East: Basse-Normandie | West: Côtes d'Armor
Return to the Lighthouse Directory index
| Ratings key
Posted July 29, 2005. Checked and revised October 2, 2019.
Lighthouses: 12. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.