Day trip to Blaye

After having had breakfast, checked the e-mails, done the crossword and read the newspapers I uttered the dread words “Right, I think that we need to do something today.  It is a beautiful day and I’ve no intention of wasting it sat at home.”  Graham blanched.  His shoulders sagged.  Resignation filled the air.  “If you’d rather stay home, that’s OK.  I can go alone,”  I offered.

“No, no, that’s fine.  Where do you want to go?”

“Well, Paul & Viv (Australian guests this summer) mentioned Blaye.  There’s a citadel there.  And a ferry that crosses the Gironde.”


So, off we set.  Graham doing the driving and me doing the navigating.  We got lost a couple of times, well, missed turnings really.  Nothing serious.  My fault, as I’d chosen the scenic route through Lussac, Coutras and Saint-André-de-Cuzbac, which involves many more of the white roads to which I have referred in previous posts.  It was a nice drive, but long – 3 hours.  It was fascinating to see how abruptly wine country stops and then starts again.

We took the signs to the Centre Ville and had no problems finding it.  We parked the car, made a quick run into the Tourism Office (don’t bother, there’s nothing there) and then went in search of a bite to eat.  We shared a terrine de foie gras de canard, which means that Graham had about 4 bites, while I ate the rest, and then I went off to explore the Citadel.  It is very impressive, and somewhat reminiscent of El Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at least on the exterior.

Blaye Citadel
This corner piece reminds us of El Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is of a similar period.

I have to say that the entire area is very impressive, and surprisingly accessible.  The Citadel is now home to an hotel, plus several restaurants and artisans.  Refreshingly, it is also clear that there are also a few people still living within its walls too, as evidenced by this beautifully kept cottage:


Blaye citadel cottage
This lovely home within the Citadel is still inhabited - and make sure you keep off the grass!

The area covered by the Citadel is enormous.  I can’t help but wonder at how much work went into building these massive structures, particularly without JCBs and enormous cranes, can you?

citadel de blaye
I believe that this is the original fortification, upon which Vauban expanded in the late 1600's

Knowing what we know now, we’d have packed a picnic, as it is possible to drive right up into the Citadel, which is generously scattered with picnic tables/benches and super views.

Blaye Ramparts
Just a small section of the ramparts of Blaye's Citadel

We didn’t catch the ferry over to the other side of the Gironde, but another day, perhaps.  We did take the more direct route home to Les Terraces, past some stunning chateaux (no photos, as I don’t like asking Graham to scream to a halt).  It was a nice day out.  One that I’d recommend, but start earlier in the morning than we did, and cross over to the other shore and visit one of the Chateaux in Medoc and do a wine tasting.

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