The lighthouse of the Planier island
Located in the open sea, only 15 kilometres from the coast of Marseille, the Planier Island Lighthouse is the fourth to be built on this site since the Middle Ages. Every day, its 71-metre high lighthouse illuminates the bay with its beam, sweeping the horizon for some 50 kilometres around. Built in 1947 from the ruins of its predecessor, it is now the only functional and maintained building on the island. When the lighthouse was automated in 1992, and the island was abandoned, it became a landmark for scuba divers. In the same year, the lighthouse was classified as a historic monument.
Although this island is off-limits to the public, the depths of the Mediterranean Sea bordering the island attract many scuba diving enthusiasts every year. Many wrecks are scattered around the island and, among those that have been identified, you can explore:
-The Chaouen, a Moroccan cargo ship, part of which remained out of the water for a long time, before the currents caused it to sink.
-The Dalton, a lead ingot transporter. Accessible from the rear hold, you can observe the rudder and propeller.
-The Messerschmitt. This fighter aircraft, partly embedded in the sand, reveals its engine, propeller, cannon, landing gear and two particularly well preserved wings.
What you need to know
Built on a 3 hectare site, the Planier Island Lighthouse is the first visual landmark that mariners encounter when they return to shore. Today, due to the extreme state of disrepair of the former scientific laboratories and dwellings, access to the island is prohibited. It is only possible to get close to it in the context of an aquatic practice. However, scuba diving is subject to conditions: the sea must be calm and the weather clear to ensure a safe activity.