In spite of the fame of Cordouan, the coasts of France remained fairly dark up until the French Revolution. On the other side of the Channel, the English had organised their lighthouses in a way that the French struggled to imitate. There, light from lighthouses was not seen as a free commodity, but rather as a service for which sailors paid light dues. This public-private partnership was tested – unsuccessfully – at Cordouan in the late eighteenth century.