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Hourtin Lighthouse

Hourtin Lighthouse

The Hourtin lighhouses are 27 m high square towers of brickwork construction built on rock foundation.

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Collection: Lighthouses of Aquitaine

Hourtin Lighthouse


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Made of: Resin
Size: 11.0 x 6.5 x 6.5 cm

  • Locality : Hourtin, Gironde
  • Construction : 1860 - 1863
  • Height : 27 m
  • Elevation : 63 m
  • Range : 21.5 nautical miles


The Hourtin lighhouses are 27 m high square towers of brickwork construction built on rock foundation. They are positioned 200 m apart on a north-south axis. But why build 2 ? There are 2 beacause in the year 1860, at the time of their construction, they didn't know how to send intermittant flashes, they also had to differentiate the lighthouses of Hourtin, from Cap Ferret and from Cordouan. The north tower carries the light, the south tower is occupied by la DGA (Army) who have an antennae there. They stand in the vicinity of Hourtin in Gironde among the sand dunes between the sea coast and the Hourtin-Carcans lake.

The Hourtin lights were built in 1860 to light up a swathe of coast in shadow where no lights could be seen between Cordouan and le Cap Ferret. Following an earlier plan to build the towers from wood, since abandoned, the engineers decided to use clay, because a number of brickyards were in use locally and it was observed that bricks weathered well in the salt air and adverse conditions. But this solution proved disastrous for the bidder who was unable to deal with the local manufacturers. So he had to set up and fund his own brickyard to produce enough for both towers plus the keepers accommodation. The two lights shone for the first time in 1863.

The trouble was with the two towers solution, it doubled the costs and necessitated 5 keepers with their families lodging on site, in 3 houses built at the same time as the towers. The head keeper lived in the middle house, with two keepers respectively living in the houses built at the foot of each tower. A small boat provided the crossing from the lake over to Hourtin. A tramway was built to facilitate heavy deliveries. So in 1894, the south tower was extinguished. And today it is used for a monitoring antennae by the Army. ( la DGA )

Source: wikipedia