Phare de Gatteville
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Travelling is always an exciting thing to do, whether that is to exotic far-flung beaches with crystal clear seas, or closer to home on mainland Europe.
The Cotentin peninsula juts out of Normandy on the north coast of France pointing towards the island of Great Britain and is a stretch of coast with beautiful sandy coves and dangerous jagged rocky outcrops.
With the English Channel being one of the busiest waterways in the world, the protection of the ships that use it is always important.
The Phare de Gatteville lies just to the north of the town of Barfleur and was originally constructed in 1774 but as it became obvious a bigger and stronger light was needed a new tower was constructed close by with the original staying in place and acting as a semaphore station.
The new tower sits next to the first tower and reaches some 75m into the sky.
The light and lenses were originally powered by vegetable and mineral oil, but in 1893 that was replaced with an electric lantern.
During the Second World War, the lighthouse survived largely undamaged and was liberated in 1944 and then connected to the main electrical network in 1948
Visitors can now climb the 365 stone steps to reach the viewing gallery where they will then get a great view of the original tower and the treacherous rocks below.
The lighthouse is cylindrical with gallery and lantern at the top. The tower is surrounded by a 2-storey keepers complex with forms a U-shape around the base of the tower.
The 1600 watt Xenon lamps provide the power to the lighthouse, with one lit on clear days and two lit up during bad weather,
The architecture and history of the Gatteville Lighthouse are impressive, but you will need to be reasonably fit to climb all those steps!