Saturday, May 26, 2012

FRANCE

La Vieille (“The Old Lady”) Lighthouse is located in the département of Finistère on the northwest coast of France (48°02′26″N 4°45′23″W). Built between 1882 and 1887 on the rock known as la Gorlebella, it illuminates and improves the safety of the strait Raz de Sein. Fierce tides limited the period in which building work could take place to less than half of each year. The 27m (89 ft) square granite tower was first lit on September 15, 1887 and is situated in a remote position in rough seas. During the World War II the light was extinguished, on 21 January 1944, and reinstated on June 1st, 1945. Although electricity was introduced in 1992, the generators installed were used only by the keepers; the light itself remained oil-powered until its automation on 14 November 1995. La Vieille became the penultimate French lighthouse to be automated, a process delayed due to the lighthouse keepers on the site refusing in protest to carry out the task.
On the left corner of the postcard, we see La Plate Lighthouse, also known as Petite Vieille (“Little Old Woman”), located on a submerged rock about 300 m southwest of La Vieille Light (48°02′21″N 4°45′35″W). The 26 m (85 ft) octagonal concrete tower painted yellow with a black horizontal band was lit in 1910 and is still active.