Hidden heritage in Loire-Atlantique: what is this funny tower in Pembefe?

The Tour de la Pierre à l’œil is now surrounded by trees. ©Estuary

Located at the end of the Chemin de l’Estuaire Pembeef (Atlantic Loire), in eye stone tower a double view opens, both of the lighthouse and of the city Donges. You can get close to it by walking along a small path.

This lighthouse is not very visible from the river because of the vegetation that hides it. However, in the past it was surrounded by water. It is easier for visitors passing by on foot or bicycle to observe. Its location in the pine forest creates one of the biggest mysteries.

The role of notification for seafarers

Built in 1780, it belonged to a plan of lighthouses to prevent ships bound for Nantes from running aground. “It was part of a global process for the Port of Paimbeuf,” says Eric Lemerle, project manager for cultural heritage preservation. Estuary.

To get rid of the sand in these places, two dams were built. Pierre à l’œil tower, near its presence allowed to signal, protect and warn arriving sailors and prevent their boat from getting stuck. However, its function has evolved.

From the 17th centuryd century, and gradually Pembeuf became the outer port of Nantes until the middle of the 19th century.d century. Its role was to allow the navigation of ships in the ocean and Nantes.

Sand, the “problem”

Nature, stronger than man, eventually destroyed the usefulness of the Eye Stone tower.

“The mouth of the Loire has undergone morphological changes. Today it is completely silted up. Sand is a real problem. Estuaries are always prone to clogging due to tides, their sediments and silt. This is a natural phenomenon.”

Eric Lemerl, Estuarium project manager
Postcard from Tour de la Pierre à l'œil.
Postcard from Tour de la Pierre à l’œil. ©Estuary

The rock, where its name came from

From one height 6 metersthis small tower was designed by an engineer named after Grolo. She has a name A stone in the eyethrough the rock Eagle stone. At that time they were given names so that they could be found on maps.

Video: Now on Actu

“Over time, the name of this rock became unreadable, the versions changed. That is why the tower got its name A stone in the eye “, the person in charge of the mission clarifies.

The underlying rock has now disappeared with siltation in the 1960s. It was used as a foundation for the stone structure of one of the dams.

Lyman: transmitter of his history

If the tower is not already known as a historical heritage, it is important for the city of Pembeuf to tell its story.

Six explanatory panels thus they appeared in the sector of the pine forest to the border with the municipality Corcept. One of them describes in detail the creation of this tower. This initiative was born from a partnership of the city and the Liman association.

Today, the Tour de la Pierre à l’œil is part of an interesting heritage that bears witness to the history of the estuary and its development.

“Like many other towers, it bears witness to the evolution of the ocean and the width of the river.”

It is for this reason that it is important for them to appreciate it. “The estuary is a huge mystery, the richness of which we seek to understand.”


Further information: Pembefa Town Hall, 02 40 27 50 50 or Estuarium (association based in Kordem), 02 40 57 71 80

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