Marseille, known to the Romans as Massilia, is one of the oldest cities in the northern Mediterranean and has been a major port since the Crusades. The Fort Saint Jean dates back to the late 12th century. On the side facing the sea, the fort is flanked by two towers: the square Tour du Roi René, built in the 15th century, and the circular Tour du Fanal, built in 1644, which formerly served as a watchtower and beacon ("fanal"). A 1664 "portolan" (hand-drawn harbor chart) shows the tower with a fire burning at the top. It is not known how long this light was maintained. A small lighthouse established at the foot of the tower in 1837 seems to have remained active until at least the mid-1950s but no longer exists. Today, the fort is a major historical site and tourist attraction.
Description of Tower: 1644: Round tower on the west side of the fort. 1837: Small round tower at the foot of the fort, 21 feet tall, focal plane of 39 feet.
This light is not operational
Date Established: 1644
Date Deactivated: c. 1960?
Current Use: Historical site.
Mapquest URL: Click here to get a map to this lighthouse!