Ar Men

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Ar Men
Phare Ar-Men 2.JPG
Lighthouse Ar Men in 2011
Ar Men is located in Finistère
Ar Men
Location Off Île de Sein, Brittany, France
Coordinates 48°3′0″N 4°59′54″W / 48.05000°N 4.99833°W / 48.05000; -4.99833Coordinates: 48°3′0″N 4°59′54″W / 48.05000°N 4.99833°W / 48.05000; -4.99833[1]
Year first constructed 1867
Year first lit 1881
Automated 1990
Construction granite tower
Tower shape cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern enclose keeper's quarter
Markings / pattern white upper tower, unpainted lower tower and balcony, black lantern
Height 32 m (105 ft)
Focal height 37 m (121 ft)
Range 23.5 nautical miles (43.5 km; 27.0 mi)
Characteristic Fl (3) W 20s
Admiralty number D0852
NGA number 0248
ARLHS number FRA-001
France number FR-0694[2]
Managing agent Marine Nationale

Ar Men ("the rock" in Breton) is a lighthouse at one end of the Chaussée de l'Île de Sein, at the west end of Brittany. It shares its name with the rock on which it was erected between 1867 and 1881.

Ar Men is one of the best known lighthouses because of its isolated situation and the considerable difficulties its construction has presented, and the danger in evacuating its personnel. Considered as one of the most challenging workplaces by the community of lighthouse keepers, it has been named "The Hell of Hells".


In 1825, the need for a light built on one of the reefs of the Chaussee de Sein was already recognized, but it was thought impracticable to build. A commission was appointed in 1860 to look at the possibility of building a light, and after six years reported that a lighthouse should be constructed on the Ar Men. Despite the estimated 50 square feet (4.6 m2) of rock only being uncovered at dead low water, work began in 1867. In the first year of work workmen were able to land on the rock on only seven occasions and could spend a total of just eight hours drilling holes there for the foundation.[3]

Hours worked on the Ar Man lighthouse
Year Landings Hours worked
1867 7 8
1868 18
1869 43
1870 18
1871 22
1872 34
1873 15
1874 18 160

By 1879 the height of the tower was nearly 60 feet (18 m).[3]

The light was automated and electrified on 10 April 1990, with a 250 watt halogen lamp. Its signal is three white flashes every twenty seconds, with an accompanying signal of three sounds every sixty seconds.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geographic coordinates obtained from World Lighthouse On The Air (consult the list).
  2. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Brittany: Southern Finistère". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "The French "Wolf Rock Lighthouse" Off The Land's End Of Brittany". The Cornishman (59). 28 August 1879. p. 7. 

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