Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sunset at Le Phare des Baleines - the Lighthouse on Ile de Re

Sunsets - most beautiful from the Island
This post contains a lot of photos - but hopefully you will enjoy the beauty of this evening as much as I did, when I was there breathing and experiencing this amazing sunset.  As the lighthouse - Le Phare des Baleines is located on the western side of the island of Ile de Re, we decided that it would be most profitable to go there in the evening and watch the setting sun.  This particular evening turned out to be one of the most beautiful skies I have seen in a long time.
A little about Le Phare des Baleines (Le phare - French word for lighthouse).  Like most lighthouses, this one is very impressive and proudly stands on the rocky shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean.  This lighthouse of Ile de Re is situated in the small commune of Saint-Clement des Baleines and is the second oldest lighthouse in France.  The word, Baleines means whales in French.  The nearby point has historically been a place where whales have been stranded or beached-thereby eventually coming to be named Pointe (Point) des Baleines, giving inspiration to the town's and lighthouse's name.  

The lighthouse is a very popular tourist attraction with it's 257 step - spiral staircase and stunning views.  On a clear night one can see the distance of 27 nautical miles or 50km from the 57 meter tall tower.  It was designed by architect Leonce Reynaud in 1854 and has been a working lighthouse ever since.

We were more interested in viewing the sunset on the other side than climbing the steps inside, so we took a few family photos in the front and then walked around to the rocky shoreline to see the ever changing light.
You can get an idea of how beautiful this structure is and with the fading sunlight and sky full of blues, reds, purples and oranges - the light reflecting off the stone made it even more stunning.
I loved this backdrop of the horizon, the clouds and the colors to take a few photos of the girls.  The lighting was just so special and unique, I felt the need to take advantage.  Note the wispy clouds as they fade into the distance.
As we stood there watching the colors change, I couldn't tell you which was more beautiful...the sunset itself or the layers of wispy clouds that were filling the sky.  As time passed, a sense of peace washed over me and the colors became richer and then softer.  A beautiful place to be for the evening and a time to feel re-centered and in-tune with nature.
From these panoramic photos, you can see how vast and different the sky appeared as the sun itself dipped below the horizon.  The waves washing in along the shore added to this dramatic but peaceful feel, as we stood along the shore, breeze blowing through our hair breathing in the cool salt air of the evening.
Then one turns around and watches the colors wash over the front side of Le Phare des Baleines - the yellows, the golds, the reds - making the building softer in appearance but still so strong in function as the beaming light warns boats about the nearby shore.
And the sun went down and the colors continued to change.  We walked along the stone covered beach and watched as the skies got darker and darker.  Such a peaceful time of evening and a special time to relax and breath in nature at it's finest moment.
And a final look at this beautiful lighthouse shimmering in the evening glow as the purple lights show off this majestic tower.  I loved the beacon light on top and just the fact that it's named after all the whales that swim nearby, makes it a great place to explore.  A perfect way to see a stunning sunset and to end another summer evening on Ile de Re.

One more final post will be coming up shortly about Ile de Re sharing about the fortress town of Saint Martin en Re.  This may be a small island, but hopefully you can see there are some interesting places to see and of course great trails to cycle.  Have a great day!

This post is also linked up with an excellent series - All about France. - Click on the Badge to read more great posts from other bloggers.

Lou Messugo


  1. I have one of my favourite photos ever of my boys leaning on the wall by this lighthouse but it wasn't at sunset! The colours are so pretty no wonder you took so many photos. Are there still names spelled out in stones below the wall? My sons added their names a few years ago. I've loved visiting île de Ré with you, thanks for linking it up to #AllAboutFrance

    1. It was a bit of a photo dump in this post - very hard to choose the favorite photos! I really fell in love with Ile de Re! I didn't see names spelled out in stones below the wall but then again I didn't walk up that close - took most of photos from above while the rest of the group was below - went down eventually..what a cool idea!! Thanks again Phoebe for creating #Allabout France! Bon weekend!

  2. It's a lovely place, we kept going back so often we bought a holiday home there. It's in St Martin de Re and last month I put up some sunset photos on the site. Have a look here...

  3. Wow, what a sunset!!!! The colors were so vibrant! And I especially loved your panorama shots - just spectacular. What a fun family photo session too :-)

  4. Lighthouses and sunsets are really just meant to be together. Beautiful photos!


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