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Name: Planier Light   Map it!

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Nearest Town or City:
Marseilles, , France

Location: Bouches du Rhône département; on a small rocky island about 8 miles from Marseilles.

Click to enlarge: Photo    Large photo
Photo: Courtesy of Michel Forand
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Managing Organization:
Bureau des Phares et Balises

Marseilles, known to the Romans as Massilia, is one of the oldest cities in the northern Mediterranean and has been a major port since the Crusades. As far back as the 14th century, a beacon is known to have stood on the Île de Planier, a rocky islet about 8 miles from the city that is surrounded by reefs. The tower was rebuilt several times over the centuries. The first modern lighthouse was inaugurated in 1774, its lighting apparatus consisting of 14 oil lamps, with two teams of two keepers alternating on the island each month to maintain the light. A new lighthouse was built in the mid-1820s, becoming operational only in 1829 because of changes in lighting technology that were taking place at the time. This tower was replaced by a much taller structure in 1881. After the third Planier Lighthouse was destroyed by German troops in 1944 (along with the 1774 tower, which had survived), a temporary light served in its place. Three successive designs for a permanent tower were rejected, which explains why the present lighthouse became operational only in 1959.

Tower Height: 216

Height of Focal Plane: 223

Characteristic and Range: White flash every 5 seconds; range 23 nautical miles.

Description of Tower: White round stone tower.

It is not known at this time if this light is operational

Other Buildings?
Keepers' dwelling, "technical" building (workshops, machines, etc.).

Earlier Towers?
1774: Circular stone tower, 39 feet tall. 1829: Cylindrical stone tower on a square base, 118 feet tall, rising from a square dwelling. 1881: Cylindrical stone tower, 194 feet tall. 1945: Metal pylon, 205 feet tall.

Date Established: 1774

Date Present Tower Built: 1959

Date Automated: 1986

Current Use: Active aid to navigation.

Open To Public? No.

Mapquest URL: Click here to get a map to this lighthouse!


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