Marseille 7th - Planier Lighthouse
- department: Bouches-du-Rhône
- municipality: Marseille
- naming: Planier Lighthouse
- address : planier island
- authors: André ARBUS, A. CRILLON (architects)
- date: 1959
- protection: Classification of historical monuments by order of 13 September 2012
- label patrimoine XXe: Circular of 1 March 2001
From the outset, the objective of maritime signs has been to create reliable sea routes, marked by increasingly visible establishments, in order to guide increasingly important navigation.
If the history of lighthouses is confused with that of navigation, it is only at the end of the 17th century that France and England distinguished themselves in the construction of lighthouses. Among the great dates in the French history of lighthouses is the creation by Napoleon I of the Service des Phares et Balises, directed by Augustin Fresnel, and still in charge of the 148 French lighthouses. In 1825 a vast program of lighting of the coasts of France was launched; in 1881 a law was passed for the electrification of the lighthouses.
Originally one of the most important lighthouses in the Mediterranean, Planier has traversed this whole history, from coal to the photoelectric cell, to oil lighting, in ever higher towers, since the island is occupied by a lighthouse from the Middle-EastAge. The lighthouse we know is the fifth and replaces the one of 1881 destroyed by the Germans in August 1944.
Part of the 170 lighthouses demolished or badly damaged during the war will be rebuilt identically. But the reconstruction of the network is also an opportunity to implement a new generation of buildings, for which the engineers willingly solicit the assistance of the architects and favor concrete reconstructions.
The firm of Arbus and Crillon, on the other hand, began construction in ashlar in 1947 on the concrete structure of the lighthouse and its annexes. Lit on 25 August 1959, the Planier lighthouse cost 576 million francs in 1959. It was financed from the Marshall Plan; the project, considered too costly, remained unfinished.
The whole consists of the lighthouse proper, high tower-column of more than 70 m, and ancillary buildings that are characterized by their orderly elevation and by the very careful implementation of their fitted stone masonry.
Technically speaking, the current Planier lighthouse is not the most remarkable. On the other hand, the choice of material, an eclectic and "neo-visionary" architecture, the setting of the lighthouse and even more of its annexes, as a place arranged in the middle of the sea, produce a monumental ensemble quite spectacular. This commitment of the architects, against the current modernity of the time, shows a desire to be in the spirit of the great Marseilles projects, realized or not, from the squares of Puget to the surroundings of the cathedral, passing by the Friuli.
First contact with Marseille for anyone arriving from the sea, this emblematic building benefits from the attachment of the Marseilles, the "seafarers" and the world of art. It is the only active lighthouse protected as a historical monument on the French Mediterranean coast.
- Editor: Sylvie Denante, drac paca crmh, 2002