Phare de Gatteville Lighthouse

Gatteville-le-Phare, France

Phare de Gatteville, also known as Pointe de Barfleur Light, is an active lighthouse. At a height of 75 m it is the third tallest 'traditional lighthouse' in the world.

Strong currents and many shipwrecks at the tip of Barfleur, the most famous of which being the White Ship, necessitated building a lighthouse at the location. In 1774 a cylindrical 25 metres granite lighthouse with a stone rectangular main building were built. The lighthouse was topped with a coal fire. It was first lit on November 1, 1775, and was originally called Phare de Barfleur (Barfleur Lighthouse).

In September 1780 the lantern was replaced with 16 oil lamps with a fire glazed glass lantern and Tourtille-Sangrain reflectors.

In 1825 an upgrade of the lens was planned, requiring raising the tower an additional 32 metres, but the building proved not to be wide enough. Thus, the architect Charles-Félix Morice de la Rue drew plans for the tallest lighthouse in the world for that time. It was built 60 metres from the old lighthouse. Building took place from 1829 to 1835 and the light was first lit on April 1, 1835. The smaller tower's lantern was removed, and it was turned into a semaphore. It remains on site.

Vegetable oil was used until 1873, when it was replaced by mineral oil. On May 20, 1891 the name of the lighthouse was changed to Phare de Gatteville (Gatteville Lighthouse). On January 17, 1893 the lantern was replaced with an electric lantern.

In 1944 the lighthouse was liberated without major damage and quickly returned to operation. In 1948 it was connected to the electrical network. The lighthouse remained open to the public until 1996, when it was closed for renovation. It reopened July 5, 1997, as a lighthouse museum.

The tower is cylindrical with a gallery and a lantern. Visitors can climb 365 stairs to reach the gallery. The current light is a 1600 watt xenon lamp. One lamp is lit on clear days and two on bad weather.

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    Founded: 1774
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    User Reviews

    Rodney Goodwin (3 years ago)
    The tiny village and lighthouse is like a filmset. We climbed the 350 granite steps for panoramic views all around. One could almost hear the keeper breathing heavily as he climbed to maintain the lamp in the C19. A great experience and highly recommended!!
    Matt Walker (3 years ago)
    Great views and impressive looking buildings, it helped that the weather was really good (not what a lighthouse is for I know, but even still).
    Martien van Gool (3 years ago)
    Brilliant remnant of French building ingenuity with a great view from the top.
    Christian Widera (3 years ago)
    Very charmig lighthouse, Day and Night. You can climb over 300 steps and look över THE georgeus landscape around. Beauty. Worth the small 3 Euros. Recomended for beauty-lovers!
    Conrad Egbert (3 years ago)
    A beautiful piece of history and if you manage to climb up all 365 steps to the top, you will be rewarded with unbeatable views of the Cotentin Peninsula - land and sea. It is one of the tallest functional lighthouses in the world and an experience you will remember forever. The amazing this about this lighthouse is that you can climb all the way to the top where you can see the mechanics and the big lights of the lighthouse. There is a small entry fee.
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