Phare de la Vieille

( La Vieille )

La Vieille ("The Old Lady" or "The Wrass") is a lighthouse in the département of Finistère at the commune of Plogoff, on the northwest coast of France. It lies on the rock known as Gorlebella (Breton for "farthest rock"), guiding mariners in the strait Raz de Sein, across from the companion lighthouse Tourelle de la Plate—also known as Petite Vieille ("Little Old Woman"). It is among the small class of lighthouses around the coasts of France carrying the moniker "hell", due to a remote position in rough seas.

Initial planning talks began as early as 1861, though the construction project was not confirmed until twenty years later. Fierce tides limited the period in which building work could take place to less than half of each year. After five years, construction was complete and its beam first shone in 1887. The light is occulting, with a range of 18 nautical miles (33 km); a foghorn was installed in the early twentieth century.

La Vi...Read more

La Vieille ("The Old Lady" or "The Wrass") is a lighthouse in the département of Finistère at the commune of Plogoff, on the northwest coast of France. It lies on the rock known as Gorlebella (Breton for "farthest rock"), guiding mariners in the strait Raz de Sein, across from the companion lighthouse Tourelle de la Plate—also known as Petite Vieille ("Little Old Woman"). It is among the small class of lighthouses around the coasts of France carrying the moniker "hell", due to a remote position in rough seas.

Initial planning talks began as early as 1861, though the construction project was not confirmed until twenty years later. Fierce tides limited the period in which building work could take place to less than half of each year. After five years, construction was complete and its beam first shone in 1887. The light is occulting, with a range of 18 nautical miles (33 km); a foghorn was installed in the early twentieth century.

La Vieille achieved notoriety in the 1920s when two disabled war veterans were stranded there for weeks by storms, their health deteriorating. They were employed under a new law reserving the job of lighthouse keeper to those who had served in the war. The tremendous difficulties experienced in getting them back to shore led to the repeal of the new law. In 1995 it was the penultimate French lighthouse to become automated, a process delayed due to the keepers on-site staging a protest against the task being carried out.

Photographies by:
PtrQs - CC BY-SA 4.0
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