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The inscriptions in the chapel

The bust of Louis de Foix has been placed over the entrance to the lighthouse's chapel, across from the altar. Above it, an inscription praises the architect's qualities: « Quand j’admire ravi cette œuvre en mon courage, Moi de Foix, mon esprit est en étonnement. Porte dans les pensées de ton entendement Le gentil ingénieux de ce superbe ouvrage. Là il discourt et luit et d’un muet langage, Te va louant subtil en ce point mêmement. Que tu brides les flots du grondeux élément, Et du mutin Neptun la tempête et l’orage. O trois et quatre fois bien heureux ton esprit De ce qu’au front dressé ce phare il entreprit Pour se perpétuer dans l’heureuse mémoire. Tu t’es acquis par là un honneur infini, Qui ne finira point que ce phare de gloire, Le monde finissant, ne se rende fini. » [When, astonished, I admire this work, , My dear de Foix, I rest fully amazed, , To think upon your understanding The noble wisdom of this splendid edifice, , Which speaks as if in a silent tongue, , By which you, too, will be subtly praised That you have stemmed the roaring tides, , And Neptune’s rebellious tempests and storms, , Your spirit’s gladness by this multiplied, , That from you this lighthouse did once arise And thus endure in our happy recollection. , In this you have achieved eternal honour, , This lighthouse, which will never cease Until too this world greets its final hour.] Inscriptions such as these, which praise the qualities of an architect within the confines of a structure created by him or her, are to be found nowhere else – except for the lighthouse at Alexandria, where Ptolemy allowed the architect to inscribe his name within the structure. Louis de Foix thus proclaimed himself to be the creator of a new lighthouse of Alexandria.


 - The inscriptions in the royal chapel

The inscriptions in the royal chapel

From top to bottom: inscription dedicated to Louis de Foix, his bust and the inscription dedicated to Louis XV
© Jean Guichard

 - The Cordouan lighthouse

The Cordouan lighthouse

The inscription commemorating the various restorations of the lighthouse that took place under Louis XV replaced another inscription that evoked, in early seventeenth-century French Mannerist verse, the seven wonders of the world, putting at the top of the list the lighthouse that was "built over the sea".
© Thomas Sagory

 - Description of the chapel by Chastillon, 1642

Description of the chapel by Chastillon, 1642

Inscription, now lost, describing Cordouan as the eighth wonder of the world. The author writes that Louis de Foix would be buried there. Extractfrom La Topographie française, Chastillon.
© Bibliothèque nationale de France, Réserve des livres rares, RES- L15- 7, vue 406

 - Letter criticizing the new inscriptions to be engraved in the lighthouse in honour of Louis XIV and Louis XV

Letter criticizing the new inscriptions to be engraved in the lighthouse in honour of Louis XIV and Louis XV


© SCN Archives Nationales - Carole BAUER