Everything you need to know about the Contis lighthouse, the only lighthouse in the Landes!
in the vicinity
Spotlight on the Contis lighthouse! Set in the middle of the largest forest in France, this black-and-white-striped tower is the only lighthouse in the Landes region. Here’s everything you need to know before climbing to the top of the Contis lighthouse.
What makes this lighthouse so special?
First of all, it’s the one and only lighthouse on the Côte d’Argent, built between the Cap-Ferret lighthouse(Gironde) to the north and the Biarritz lighthouse(Pyrénées-Atlantiques) to the south. It is then distinguished by its black and white stripes in the shape of a double Archimedes screw. Originally entirely white, it was painted with two black stripes in 1924, by the painter Bellocq in 1937, to serve as a landmark for daytime navigation.
Classified as a historic monument in 2009, it belongs to the family of lighthouses known as “barber’s poles”, named after barber shops in the United States. There are only two other identical lighthouses in the world: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina and St. Augustine Lighthouse in Florida.
Where is the Contis lighthouse?
The Contis lighthouse is located in the commune of Saint-Julien-en-Born, equidistant from Mimizan and Biarritz. It marks the boundary between the Pays de Born to the north and the Marensin to the south. From the Eurosol campsite in Vielle Saint Girons, it takes around 25 minutes by car to reach this Landes heritage landmark.
Is the Contis lighthouse still in operation?
Built in 1862 by decree of Napoleon III and commissioned the following year, the Contis lighthouse is still in operation today. However, it has been uninhabited since 1999, when the two keepers left and the lighthouse was automated. It is remotely controlled from the port of Bayonne.
The Contis lighthouse emits a light signal with a range of 23 nautical miles, or around 43 km. It features a Fresnel lens and 180 W of power. It emits a white flash every 25 seconds.
Height and number of steps?
The Contis lighthouse stands 41.50 m high. To reach the top, you have to climb a spiral staircase with 192 steps. A bit of sport, of course, but the effort is rewarded with one of the finest views of the Landes coast.
What about the view?
From the top of the lighthouse, you can enjoy a 360° panorama, with the blue of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the green of the Landes forest on the other. And in the middle, the Contis estuary and the Sable Blanc plain.
How much does it cost?
To visit the Contis lighthouse, it costs €3 per person, children aged 3 to 12 €1, free for under-3s. It is open to the public from April to the end of September. Storytelling tours are organized in summer.