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Whale lighthouse

During your camping holiday on the Ile de Ré, plan a visit to the iconic Baleines lighthouse. It is without doubt the most famous tourist site on the Ile de Ré, attracting over 160,000 visitors every year. You’ll find this popular spot on the far west side of the island, between Côte Sauvage beach and Conche des Baleines beach. You can cycle there in half an hour from the La Tour des Prises campsite.

The Phare des Baleines: a historical and cultural heritage site on the Ile de Ré

The lighthouse owes its name to the many rerouted whales that have beached here in the past. Don’t expect to see this cetacean, as it doesn’t frequent this part of the Ile de Ré. To visit this 57-metre-high lighthouse, you have to climb a 216-step staircase made of Kersanton blue granite and 41 metal steps. At the top of the tower, you’ll have a panoramic view of the whole of the Ile de Ré and the ocean.

Behind the lighthouse, a small tower can be seen, resembling both a light tower and a watchtower. This is the former Baleines lighthouse, built in 1669 to support the Rochefort arsenal’s defensive system. In 1864, it was replaced by the big lighthouse, but this little tower is one of the oldest lighthouses in France.

Since its inauguration in 1854, the Baleines lighthouse has continued to shine. It is currently equipped with a remote control system, whose control center is located at the Phares et Balises de La Pallice in La Rochelle.

When should you visit the Baleines lighthouse?

The Baleines lighthouse is open to visitors all year round, and its museum tells the story of lighthouses and whales, the old tower and the Baleines lighthouse. It will take you around an hour to discover the gardens of Parc des Baleines.