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 three 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 Alex Trabas.
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
#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 square harbor of Port d'Hercule, which is typically crowded with boats of all sizes. New jetties have been built projecting diagonally into the Mediterranean. Formerly located at the end of the north jetty. 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 south jetty. ARLHS MON-001; ex-Admiralty E0840; NGA 7240.
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 March 19, 2013. Lighthouses: 3. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.