Lighthouses of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

This page is for lighthouses of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises, or TAAF), a widely scattered collection of islands in the South Indian Ocean. When it was established in 1955, TAAF consisted of several islands in the sub-Antarctic, including the Îles Kerguélen, Amsterdam, St.-Paul, and Crozet. None of these islands have any permanent population, but France maintains military or scientific stations on them.

In January 2005, the TAAF office also assumed the administration of several small tropical islands in the waters surrounding Madagascar. These islands, known collectively as the Îles Éparses ("scattered islands"), were previously administered as dependencies of Madagascar and then (after Madagascar became independent) as dependencies of Réunion. All of these islands are wildlife sanctuaries closed to visitors except by special permit.

TAAF is administered from an office in Réunion.

Aids to navigation on these remote islands are operated and maintained by DEAL Réunion, the transportation ministry of Réunion. The French word for a lighthouse, phare, is often reserved for the larger coastal lighthouses; a smaller light or harbor light is called a feu (literally "fire," but here meaning "light"). The front light of a range (alignement) is the feu antérieur and the rear light is the feu postérieur.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume D of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals for the Îles Éparses and from Volume K for the Kerguelens; U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
French Southern and Antarctic Lands
Wikipedia's article has a useful map locating the various territories.


Juan de Nova Light
DEAL Réunion photo

Îles Éparses Lighthouses
Île Europa
1994. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 5 s. 18 m (59 ft) steel post; the upper portion of the tower has a white daymark. World Lighthouses on the Air (WLOTA) has a photo, but the slender tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Largest of the Îles Éparses at about 30 sq km (12 sq mi), the roughly circular island is near the center of the Mozambique Channel between southern Madagascar and southern Mozambique. It has an automatic weather station and a small French military detachment. The island is claimed by Madagascar. Located on the north coast of Île Europa. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JUN-001; Admiralty D7026.5; NGA 32598.
Île Juan de Nova (2)
2001 (station established 1966). Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); three white flashes, in a 2+1 pattern, every 15 s. 27 m (89 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and enclosed watch room, mounted on a 2-story square concrete base. Tower is white; lantern, gallery, and watch room painted black. The newer tower is shown at the top of this page. A blogger has a photo (halfway down the page), Sea-Seek.com has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Lighthouse Explorer has a photo of the 1966 lighthouse, which had a very similar design but had become dangerously rusted. Juan de Nova is about 6 km (3.75 mi) long and aligned east to west. Like Europa, the island is claimed by Madagascar and has an automatic weather station and a small French military detachment. Located at the west end of the island, about 145 km (90 mi) west of north central Madagascar. Site and tower closed. ARLHS JUN-002; Admiralty D7033; NGA 32624.
Île Tromelin (2)
Date unknown (1970s?) (station established 1950s). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) 2-story weather station building; the light is mounted on a short mast on the roof. The weather station is staffed. A photo appears at right, and a 2002 photo is available, but the station is not seen in Google's fuzzy satellite view. Tromelin is a very small island very far at sea, 450 km (280 mi) east of northern Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The island is claimed by Mauritius and by Seychelles. Site and tower closed. ARLHS TRO-001; Admiralty D7073; NGA 32884.
Île Tromelin
Weather station, Île Tromelin
Institut Pierre Simon Laplace photo

Îles Kerguelen Lighthouses

Note: The Kerguelen Islands are located in the sub-Antarctic about 3300 km (2100 mi) south of Réunion. There is no permanent population and no airport, but France maintains a permanent scientific station typically staffed by 50-100 scientists and support personnel.
Baie du Morbihan Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 5 m (17 ft); quick-flashing white light. 4 m (13 ft) concrete equipment shelter with the light on a short post on top. Building painted white with a black upward-pointing arrow. A view of both range lights is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory on the north side of the bay, about 10 km (6 mi) west of Port-aux-Français. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K0820.4; NGA 33100.
Baie du Morbihan Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 5 m (17 ft); quick-flashing white light. 4 m (13 ft) concrete equipment shelter with the light on a short post on top. Building painted white with a black downward-pointing arrow. A view of both range lights is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory on the north side of the bay, about 10 km (6 mi) west of Port-aux-Français. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K0820.41; NGA 33104.
Pointe Molloy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 2.5 s. 4 m (13 ft) concrete equipment shelter with the light on a short post on top. Building painted white. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory on the northwest side of the bay, about 18 km (11 mi) west of the scientific station at Port-aux-Français. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K0820; NGA 33096.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

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Posted October 30, 2005. Checked and revised September 12, 2014. Lighthouses: 6. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.