between architectural heritage and quality wines

by Jean-Paul Moine

One hour from Bordeaux, between the Garonne and the Médoc vineyards, the fortified town of Blaye benefits from a privileged location on the Gironde estuary.

It conceals architectural marvels including its 38 hectare citadel erected in the 17th century in three fortification structures.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the Citadel of Blaye was built under the supervision of Vauban, a famous 17th century engineer and architect. It is on the bases of a Roman castrum that became a Merovingian castle that Vauban used to build the structure of this citadel. The fortification campaign began in 1652 and ended in 1689, Louis XIV wanting to establish “a lock” of military protection on the Garonne.

By taking the path of the ramparts, a breathtaking view is offered over the entire Gironde estuary: There are a dozen islands on the estuary, three of which can be visited, the others being preserved and constituting natural reserves for the fauna and the flora. From Blaye, many cruises are offered to visit these main islands of the river: Patiras Island, Margaux Island and Nouvelle Island.

Blaye is surrounded by 6,000 hectares of vineyards which offer balanced and supple red wines and balanced and lively white wines. The Blaye vineyard is, contrary to what one might think, older than that of Médoc and has three main appellations: AOC Blaye producing red wines, Côtes de Blaye and its white wines and Les Premières Côtes de Blaye with red and white.