Photographer's Note

July 21, 2007
Saint-Clément-des-Baleines 170318 17590
Charente-Maritime Poitou-Charentes
46.233 -1.550 5 m

The Tower of the Whales,"La Tour des Baleines"

The tower was built of 1669 to 1682 with the north-western point of the island of Ré, by architect AUGIER, on order of Colbert, according to a program established by Vauban to be useful, with the headlight of Chassiron on the island of Oléron, of cover advanced with the arsenal of Rochefort, created in 1666.
The tower had two principal functions. The first was the monitoring. The tower ensured the protection of the naval port of Rochefort and constituted also a very good maritime observation post. The second function was lighting and the assistance with navigation. The fuel allowing its lighting then, was the fish oil. The tower announced the shelves of the point of the Whales and marked out the entry of the sluice of Antioche in the south and the Breton sluice in north. It was built with hard stones of Saint-Savinien. The tower is always upright nowadays. The old tower of the Whales was on classified Historic building June 22, 1904. Of a height 29 m, and 8 m in diameter, the building comprises 3 stages with 3 parts which one can reach by a spiral staircase.
The old tower is replaced by the houselight of the Whales, at the Western point of the island of Ré, built of 1849 and brought into service in 1854.

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