Lighthouses of Monaco

Monaco is an independent principality wedged into the French Côte d'Azur about halfway between Nice and the Italian border. The total area is 188 hectares (465 acres) and the permanent population is less than 35,000. Independent for many centuries, the tiny country was briefly annexed by France during the Revolutionary period (1793-1815), but then regained its independence under the protection of the King of Sardinia. When the surrounding county of Nice was transferred from Sardinia to France in 1860, a special treaty was signed affirming Monaco's continued independence.

Monaco has 4.1 km (2.5 mi) of Mediterranean frontage and two harbors, the Port d'Hercule (Port de Monaco) at Monte Carlo and the Port de Fontvieille a short distance to the south. Aids to navigation are presumably operated by the port authority, Ports de Monaco. In 2005, Monaco began a harbor expansion project at the Port d'Hercule requiring removal of the old breakwaters and their lighthouses. The government declined to consider any suggestions that the lighthouses be relocated or preserved, regarding them as obsolete. For lighthouse fans, this was a heartbreaking loss.

The French word for a lighthouse, phare, is usually reserved for the larger coastal lighthouses; a smaller light or harbor light is called a feu (literally "fire," but here meaning "light").

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume E of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Phares d'Europe
Photos of European lighthouses collected by Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller.
Online List of Lights - Monaco
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - Monaco
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Französische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.


The lost lighthouses of Monte Carlo, looking south
photo by Marie-Christine Toscano
courtesy of Le Phare à Travers le Monde,
posted by Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller

Lighthouses
* Port Hercule Contre-Jetée (Jetée Lucciana)
2006(?). Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); three green flashes every 15 s. 2 m (7 ft) post mounted atop a large 2-story concrete pierhead structure. The upper level of the pier is a public walkway and plaza. This light is at the left edge of the photo at right, another photo of the two new jetties is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the new north jetty of the Port d'Hercule. Admiralty E0844.
#Monaco (Monte Carlo) Jetée du Nord
1913. Inactive since 2005; demolished in 2006. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower with lantern but no gallery; the light was displayed in later years from a 2 m (7 ft) mast atop the lantern. This is the light in the foreground of Marie-Christine Toscano's photo above. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the Port d'Hercule showing both jetty lighthouses. The building at the base of this lighthouse was the pilot station for the port. The south and north jetties enclosed the original square harbor of Port d'Hercule. Formerly located at the end of the old north jetty, now the Quai l'Hirondelle. ARLHS MON-002; ex-Admiralty E0842; NGA 7236.
#Monaco (Monte Carlo) Jetée du Sud
1910. Inactive since 2005; demolished in 2006. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower with lantern but no gallery; the light was displayed in later years from a 2 m (7 ft) mast atop the lantern. This is the more distant light in Marie-Christine Toscano's photo above. John Caddell posted a 2001 view, and Trabas has a photo by Douglas Cameron. Huelse has a historic postcard view showing the tower with its original lantern. Formerly located at the end of the old south jetty, now the Quai Rainier I. ARLHS MON-001; ex-Admiralty E0840; NGA 7240.
Port d'Hercule Jetée de l'Avant Port
2006(?). Active; focal plane about 23 m (75 ft); three red flashes every 15 s. 2 m (7 ft) square concrete post mounted atop a 2-story harbor control building. This light is beside the ship in the photo at right, another photo of the two new jetties is available, and Google has a satellite view. Site status unknown. Admiralty E0843.
Port d'Hercule
Queen Elizabeth at Port d'Hercule, Monte Carlo, October 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Achtussieux
Fontvieille Jetée du Sud
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. Post light, white with a red top, mounted on a stone jetty house. Trabas has a photo by Günther Hess, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south (main) breakwater of the Port de Fontvieille. Site status unknown. Admiralty E0839; NGA 7244.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining page: Côte d'Azur (French Riviera)

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Posted April 3, 2006. Checked and revised April 16, 2014. Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.