History of the lighthouse
On the territory of Saint-Denis d'Oléron, at the northern end of the island, the Chassiron lighthouse has become emblematic with its black stripes recognizable from afar. However, they did not always exist ! The history of the Chassiron lighthouse begins in 1685 with the construction, under Colbert, of a bitter-tower of more than 30 meters high: at the entrance of the Antioche breakwater, it was then intended to guide the sailors between the Charente estuary and the Rochefort arsenal.
Nearly two centuries later, the construction of a new lighthouse became necessary due to the increase of traffic at sea, but also due to the erosion of the cliff. The Chassiron lighthouse was built in 1836. With its 46 meters high, it is visible from afar and effectively protects ships against the rocky banks of the Antioch pertuis.
Originally white, the lighthouse was not given its black lines until the 1920s, in order to increase its visibility and to distinguish itself from the lighthouse of the Whales, located on the Ile de Ré, which has a grey coating. The optics were then electrified in 1930. The lighthouse continued to be guarded until 1998. Today it is fully automated.
Visit the Chassiron lighthouse
The Chassiron lighthouse is open to the public : a must during your visit to the island of Oleron! On the first floor, the rotunda of the lighthouse houses a museum. The former apartments of the successive lighthouse keepers have been transformed into an exciting show tour. The visit is audio-guided. In about half an hour, you will discover the life on the island over the centuries and the particularities of the profession of sailor. Around the rotunda, a pleasant French-style landscaped garden awaits you.
Next, you can climb the 224 steps of the building, which lead up to the optics. At the very top of the lighthouse, you can enjoy a exceptional view over a large part of the island, on the Antioch pertuis and the mainland coast. One can also admire the Ile de Ré, the Ile d'Aix and Fort Boyard. In July and August, it is also possible to enjoy a guided tour of the lighthouse at night, with the spectacle of the sunset and then the lighting of the lantern.
Guided tours are also organized around the lighthouse, in order to discover the marine and coastal environment of the Pointe de Chassiron. These nature outings focus on the rocky foreshore which extends at the foot of the cliffs, the fish locks, or the edible seaweed.
Information, rates and schedules
The Chassiron lighthouse is located 24 km from camping Île d'Oléron Fief Melin, in the north of the island, after Saint-Pierre then Saint-Georges-d'Oléron. It is open to visitors every day, morning and afternoon from March to October and from 10 am to 8 pm without interruption in July and August. Outdoor guided tours last from 2 to 3 hours. The night visit of the lighthouse is only offered during the summer months.
The price for climbing to the top of the lighthouse is 3 € adult rate and 1.50 € child rate from 3 to 15 years old.
The price for the visit of the museum alone is also 3 € full rate and 1.50 € reduced rate.
A combined climb + museum ticket is offered at the price of 5 € adult rate and 2.50 € child rate.
The guided outdoor or night tours are available for 4 € full rate and 2 € reduced rate.