Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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The King of Lighthouses: Cordouan

by Francois Hagnere

For this French lighthouse, close to the Médoc coast, keywords are durability and decor. Columns, frontons, arched doorways and carved stone are an ode to the ocean.

The Cordouan lighthouse is located 7 kilometers at sea, on a rocky tableland, at the mouth of the Gironde river and faces the Atlantic ocean and the French coasts of Médoc and Charente-Maritime. It was listed a Historical Monument in 1862 at the same time as the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris.

The Cordouan lighthouse, Atlantic Coast of France.

Image source :

The name would come from Cordoba, when in the Middle-Ages, the Spaniards installed commercial activities in the region and wished to protect their ships.

In the XIVth century, Edward, the Black Prince, Governor of the then British province of Guyenne, ordered the construction of a tower. A hermit was in charge of maintaining the fire on top. The edifice was soon abandoned and fell into disrepair. Two hundred years later, the hazards to navigation threatened the Bordeaux wine trade and the Maréchal de Matignon, in presence of the famous Montaigne decides to build a lighthouse.

Louis de Foix will be the engineer-architect of this « royal work » devoting his wealth and efforts over a period of 18 years followed by his ruined son. François Beuscher will fulfill the contract 27 years after its signature.

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Unknown said...

Nice blog..

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