The tranquility and preserved beauty of the end of the world

Saint-Clément-des-Baleines is a village made up of six hamlets at the western end of the Île de Ré. Dominated by the Phare des Baleines, the village extends between the Côte Sauvage and the large fine sandy beach of La Conche, on the edge of the forest.

Having managed to preserve its agricultural and rural character, we find in Saint-Clément the largest sandy beach on the island, the Plage de la Conche and the most frequented site: the Baleines lighthouse with its 160 annual visitors.

This commune of 700 inhabitants was established as a commune in 1874. For a long time, the economy of Saint-Clément-des-Baleines was oriented towards salt and vines.

The Salt Marshes, near the Nature Reserve, form a link between forest and village.

The beaches

On the West Coast of Saint-Clément-des-Baleines and up to the lighthouse, there is the Côte Sauvage beach. It is very rocky, even at high tide, swimming is difficult. At the level of the lighthouse, there are a few sandbanks and at the tip of the fish locks. This beach is especially superb for fishing on foot at low tide.

Conche des Baleines beach begins at the Baleines lighthouse (but the area is rocky next to the latter, rather used for shore fishing) and ends at the Pointe de Lizay in the town of Portes- en-Ré (the beach is called Petit Bec). This beach is supervised in July and August. Along the beach, there are beautiful dunes with a few blockhouses.

History & Heritage

The Whale Lighthouse

The northern tip of the Île de Ré bears the trace of the history of the numerous groundings of which it was the cause and the witness. From the whales stranded on its shores, it bears the name: Pointe des Baleines. Of two ships stranded on its rocks in the middle of the XVIIrd century was born the resolution to build a lighthouse there to signal the danger it represents for sailors who approach it a little too close. This lighthouse has been given the name of its history: the Whale Lighthouse.

The large Baleines lighthouse was built in 1825 to allow all sailors approaching the Rêtes coasts to see a light wherever they are.

In 1849, the construction of the current large lighthouse and that of a third-class lighthouse at sea, the Haut Banc du Nord lighthouse, also called the Baleineaux lighthouse, in the extension of the Baleines lighthouse, began simultaneously.

Lit in 1854, the Baleines lighthouse ran on oil until 1882. It was then equipped with a steam power plant around 1904. Finally, it was connected to the electricity network after the Second World War world. It is one of the tallest lighthouses in France, 57 meters high, with 257 steps to climb to discover a 360 degree panorama of the beaches of La Conche and the Côte Sauvage, the national forest and the whole island!

With a luminous range of 50 kilometers, it is identifiable by the rhythm of its four white flashes every fifteen seconds.

At the Phare des Baleines museum, the exhibition allows you to discover the fabulous history of the creation of lighthouses through multimedia sequences.

Open to visitors every day of the year.