Which lighthouse to visit in la Manche

Discover Gatteville Lighthouse

the second tallest lighthouse in Europe
Photo, © Benoît Ghio

With its 674km of coasts that are regularly battered by strong winds and currents, la Manche has numerous lighthouses and other coastal signals that were built over the centuries to guide mariners. In total, there are 10 lighthouses in la Manche, situated all along the coast. One of the most famous is Gatteville lighthouse. It’s also one of the only ones you can visit, although you can’t stay there overnight. Travel the coast of la Manche and discover these emblematic navigational aids in Goury, Carteret and Chausey, among others. Find out more about the lighthouses of la Manche.

Visit Gatteville lighthouse

Situated on the Cotentin Peninsula at the headland in Barfleur, Gatteville lighthouse was built in the 19th century to guide mariners as they sailed through the dangerous Barfleur tidal race. It has been automated since 1984.

Dizzying figures: 75, 305, 11 000


The pride of the Val de Saire, Gatteville lighthouse is the second tallest in France, standing at 75 metres high. The construction of this majestic building required around 11 000 blocks of granite.

A fun fact is that the lighthouse has as many steps as the days of the year, as many windows as the weeks, and as many levels as the months!

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud
75 metres high
365 steps
11 000 blocks of granite

A 10 minute climb

for a breathtaking view

Climbing the 365 steps of the lighthouse is not for the faint hearted! When you get to the top, you’ll be blown away by the incredible view! On one side, the Val de Saire, with Barfleur and Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue; and on the other, the sea stretching to the horizon. Prepare for a unique and invigorating experience! Afterwards, carry on your walk to Barfleur, one of the prettiest villages in France.

Gatteville lighthouse

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Practical information:

The climb takes 10 minutes and is not recommended for people with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions.

In case of strong winds or stormy weather, the lighthouse may be closed to the public.

You can visit the lighthouse every day from February to mid-November, as well as in the Christmas holidays.

3€ for adults and 1€ for children

Where to see lighthouses in la Manche?

Gatteville lighthouse is far from being the only one to guide ships in la Manche. Many others were built along the coast of the department. You can discover these lighthouses by car or as you walk along the GR®223 hiking trail.


Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue lighthouse


Opposite Tatihou, Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue lighthouse watches over the sea. Standing at 11 metres tall, it was built at the end of the jetty in the harbour in 1865, and its light beams out across 10 miles of ocean.

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Cap Lévi lighthouse in Fermanville


Built in the 19th century, then destroyed in 1944, this lighthouse was rebuilt in a more modern style after the war. Unlike its neighbour in Gatteville, it has a surprising shape, being square with walls that curve slightly inwards.

Not far from the lighthouse, you can stay at the Fort du Cap Lévi and enjoy a delicious breakfast in the conservatory with a panoramic sea view. A magical moment that’s especially impressive during stormy weather.

Where to stay by the sea?

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Cherbourg lighthouse


Also known as the Fort de l’Ouest lighthouse, it’s part of the navigational aid system in Cherbourg harbour.

The company Hague à Part offers guided boat tours of the harbour, the perfect way to discover the biggest artificial harbour in the world and its infrastructure.

 Book a boat trip

Photo, © Graphlight AdobeStock

Goury lighthouse


The lighthouse at La Hague, in Auderville, was built to signal the Alderney Race, one of the strongest ocean currents in Europe. Standing at 50 metres high, the lighthouse was built on a rock at sea, 800 metres off the coast.

You can’t visit the lighthouse, but Goury is a must-see spot on la Hague headland, with a little harbour, a lifeboat station and landscapes reminiscent of Ireland. It’s best seen during the autumn storms, but take care!

The SNSM (French sea rescue organisation) station in Goury is open to the public on weekends from April to September and every day in July and August.

Photo, © World Else

Carteret lighthouse


Built on the cliffs at Carteret headland to guide ships into the harbour, the lighthouse stands 80 metres above the sea. Climb the 58 steps and discover a unique panorama of the Channel Islands and the huge dunes in Hatainville.

The lighthouse museum is open to the public free of charge, and guided tours are available. You can also go with a guide at night to watch as the lighthouse is lit up.

Visit Carteret lighthouse

Photo, © Estelle Hertault

Le Sénéquet lighthouse in Gouville-sur-Mer


Out to sea, 5 km off the coast of la Manche, Le Sénéquet lighthouse is built on a rock that’s covered by the sea at high tide.

Photo, © Thibault Poriel - Coutances tourisme

La Pointe d’Agon lighthouse


This lighthouse was built on the site of an old fort that protected the entrance to the tidal inlets of Regnéville-sur-Mer and Coutainville. You can’t visit the building, but you can walk around it and take in the wild landscapes of the Pointe d’Agon. With its stone walls and red lantern, it’s the perfect spot for a photo shoot!

Photo, © Quentin Foucher

Chausey lighthouse


This lighthouse was built on the main island of the archipelago (16 km from Granville) to facilitate navigation between the 365 islets of Chausey. It was built using granite from the island and inspired by Carteret lighthouse. It’s one of the many gems you can discover (only the outside) during your trip to Chausey.

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Granville lighthouse


Also known as Cap Lihou lighthouse, it stands on the Roc headland in Granville, 52 metres above the sea. Unlike many similar lighthouses, it has changed little since it was built. You can’t visit the building, but you can take a walk around the Roc headland to admire the gorgeous views of Granville harbour, the old town and the Chausey Islands in the distance.

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

There are other, smaller lighthouses in la Manche, as well as integral lighthouses, beacon lights, sea marks and other navigational aids, all of which serve to guide ships at night.

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