Phare de Cordouan Patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO

The Cordouan Lighthouse

Also known as the Versailles of the Seas, Cordouan's lighthouse built in 1611, has just been inscribed on the prestigious Unesco list.

Cordouan lighthouse staircase

Have you ever heard of the Cordouan Lighthouse? Seen a documentary on this architectural feat? For the past 400 years the Cordouan Lighthouse has stood proudly at the entrance to the Gironde Estuary, off the Verdon headland and the town of Royan. It is now on the Unesco World Heritage List.

Set off on an adventure through history! Let yourself be carried away by the amazing experience of a maritime gem, which has been classified as an Historic Monument for the past 150 years!

Before we go any further, here are the keys to help you plan your visit and get to the heart of the most incredible secrets.

When can we visit the Cordouan Lighthouse?

Cordouan Lighthouse

You can visit the Cordouan Lighthouse from April to Halloween guided by the keeper of this extraordinary building.

How can we visit the Cordouan Lighthouse?

Entrance to Cordouan lighthouse

Before you leave, remember to book your crossing with one of the cruise boat companies (ticket from €43/adult). Allow half a day, either morning or afternoon, to visit “The Versailles of the Seas”. Once you land, all you need to do is purchase an entrance ticket from the lighthouse keeper, (entrance ticket for the visit €7 to €15). Then you're all set for an unforgettable experience!

How can we get to the Cordouan Lighthouse?

Foot of Cordouan lighthouse

To get to the Cordouan Lighthouse, you need simply to board a cruise boat for a 40-minute crossing. The boat will drop you off as close to the lighthouse as possible, then you'll have a 10-minute walk to actually reach the building itself.

Be careful! Search for information about access to the site. This changes depending on the tides. Departure times for all the cruises are regularly updated. We also recommend you wear appropriate clothing for the outing because sometimes the water can rise to mid-thigh level during the last 10-minutes’ walking.

What will we find at the Cordouan Lighthouse?

From the top of Cordouan lighthouse

The visit to the Cordouan Lighthouse takes you through various different levels: the Girondins hall; the royal chapel and its fabulous stained-glass windows; the royal apartment... not to mention the breathtaking view once you get to the top of the 301 steps.

At the top of the Cordouan Lighthouse, you'll be able to enjoy an impressive view over land and sea - one of the most spectacular in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

Every moment of the day gives you a different vision of the Cordouan Lighthouse and enhances it, thanks to the changing colours of the sky which mingle with the sea, from sunrise to sunset. Please enjoy this video of an evening musical set at the Cordouan Lighthouse, and we hope to see you there soon!

Phare de Cordouan 

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Fort Boyard

The Fort Boyard is a key element of the Naval Dockyard of Rochefort which extends all along the estuary of the Charente.
If the construction of this fortification on the "Longe of Boyard" was considered as early as the seventeenth century, the project only really started in the course of the 19th century. Built with the aim of protecting the harbor, the mouth of the Charente and especially the large dockayrd of Rochefort from the assaults of the English navy, the Fort was transformed into a prison a few years after its completion.

The Fort has been classified as an historic monument since 1950.

The Fort is 68 metres long on 31 metres large, for a total surface area of 2689 square metres. The surrounding walls peak at 20 metres. The fort is also built on a sandbak called "Longe of Boyard" which gave its name to the Fort itself.

Since 1990, Fort Boyard has been the location of a television game of the same name.

Located between the islands of Aix and Oléron, the Fort Boyard is part of the territory of Rochefort-Océan. Many departures of cruises are possible to bypass the Fort (from Port-des-Barques, Fouras-les-Bains or the Island of Aix).
The cruise

Longe de Boyard 17123 Île-d'Aix
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Batterie de Jamblet

The Jamblet battery helped to protect the Rochefort arsenal and the harbour. The fortification presents a museum space to discover the military role of the island of Aix in the defence of Rochefort and its arsenal.
The Jamblet battery helped to protect the Rochefort arsenal and the harbour where the warships anchored. A simple 2-gun battery in 1756, the battery was destroyed by the English in 1757. Under the Consulate and the Empire (1799-1815), the whole defence of the Aix harbour was rethought and the Jamblet battery was rebuilt. In use until 1926, it was abandoned after the Second World War.


The fortification presents a museum space to discover the military role of the island of Aix in the defence of Rochefort and its arsenal.

Jamblet 17123 Île-d'Aix
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- Infiniment Charentes -
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Île d'Aix

The island of Aix, classified as a remarkable natural site, is an invitation to travel and get away from it all. It is only accessible by boat, all year round, from the Pointe de la Fumée in Fouras-les-Bains.
The insular charm of a military land: peacefull island, you will discover it on foot, by bicycle or in a carriage. With its fortified village, its coastal batteries, its forts, including the famous Fort Boyard, the island is a place out of time, charming lovers of history and children dreaming of adventures. The only "true" island of Charente-Maritime, Aix Island draws a great pride in its imperial past. Under the First Empire, it was transformed into a fortress island and became the cornerstone of the defense of Rochefort. After a first visit in 1808, the Emperor Napoleon I went to the island again in July 1815 and settled for four days in the house of the Governor, his last residence on French land before his exile in St. Helena. It is also on the Aix Island that you will find one the last workers of the Mother-of-pearl in France. A remarkable natural site: The Aix Island, 3 km long and 700 m wide, concentrates all the diversity of the coastal landscapes of the Charente-Maritime. Classified on the list of "Remarkable Natural Sites", it is a fragile place that one must respect. Advice: The sand dunes protect the coast. Participate in saving them by respecting the walking paths. Preserve the flora and do not pick the flowers. Keep the island clean and you can collect garbage bags free of charge from the Tourist Office to put your waste in. The fortified village by Vauban is located on the southern part of the land, bordered by beaches, creeks and rocks. The island, accessible only by boat, is in the heart of the pertuis of Antioch, between the island of Oléron and and the peninsula of Fouras.

17123 Île-d'Aix
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Orientation course Île d'Aix

Take one of the 3 orienteering courses to do on the on the island of Aix. Thanks to the map, find the markers in a given sector and punch your sheet.

Office de tourisme Île d'Aix 6 rue Gourgaud 17123 Île-d'Aix
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Orientation course Port-des-Barques

Take one of the 3 orienteering courses on the Port-des-Barques peninsula with you! Thanks to the map, find the markers in a given sector and punch your sheet.

Office de tourisme de Port-des-Barques place des Blagueurs 17730 Port-des-Barques
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Rochefort Océan Tourist Office - Ile d'Aix Tourist Information Office

The Tourist Office offers the following services:

- reception and information

- free wifi internet access2

- ticketing for museums, guided tours and events, cruises, transport

- The Rochefort Océan Privilege card free of charge for the discounted purchase of 2 services simultaneously : Activities, visits, cruises, bike rental, bus, boat ...


This site is labeled Tourisme & Handicap (mental, auditory) and classified category 1, labeled Quality Tourism.

8 rue Gourgaud 17123 Île-d'Aix
Du 10/04/2022 au 06/07/2022
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