On the Gironde estuary
Come and see the biggest estuary in Western Europe. From the right bank with the limestone cliffs of Meschers, the Route de la Corniche and the citadel of Blaye to the Medoc shore with its famous vineyards and its chain of little known islets.
Left bank: the Medoc vineyards
Vineyards dominate the river. Spend some time on the scenic wine route, the D2, to discover stately chateaux and the Medoc wine they produce. For wine lovers the D2 is the equivalent of Route 66! It crosses the world-famous vineyards of the area such as Margaux, Pauillac, Saint Julien and Saint-Estèphe and passes in front of the properties of the best-known wine producers.
Cru artisan, cru bourgeois or cru classé? Which do you choose? Let our guides explain everything about wine classifications, the grape varieties, the soils and the terrain which produce the different Medoc wines.
Right bank: visit the citadel of Blaye
Since 2008 the citadel of Blaye has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because it is one of the major designs of Louis XIV’s fortress builder, Vauban.
It is part of the “Verrou de l’Estuaire”, literally the Bolt of the Estuary but the translation does not have the same ring to it in English and does not do it justice. The citadel is part of a defence system extending right across the estuary whose design is unique in France. It closes the river to would-be invaders. On a fascinating guided tour of the citadel you will learn about Vauban’s techniques of fortification.
Right bank: the village of Bourg-Sur-Gironde
In the heart of rolling green hills is the “little Switzerland of the Gironde.” Come and visit the ancient town of Bourg-Sur-Gironde, birthplace of Leo Lagrange, anti-fascist journalist and politician of the 1930’s.
Perched on a limestone cliff, Bourg offers sights as varied as the remains of its ancient ramparts, one of the most beautiful public wash-houses in the region, and, surprisingly, underground storage tanks for petrol dating from WWII.
Right bank: the corniche of the Gironde
Take this narrow, picturesque road that follows the course of the Dordogne river which becomes the beginning of the Gironde estuary when it joins the Garonne. You’ll find beautiful flower-filled gardens, houses built by mariners, troglodyte dwellings nestled in the limestone cliffs, fishermen’s cabins on stilts dotted along the banks and the strange wreck of the Frisco which was sunk in 1944.
Right bank: the village of Talmont
Perched on a rocky promontory overlooking the Gironde estuary, Talmont has maintained a great deal of its ramparts and its original street network. Built in 1284 by the Duke of Aquitaine, Edward I of England, Talmont is often called the “pearl of the Gironde estuary” and hollyhocks now line its narrow lanes. Not to be missed is the magnificent Romanesque church of St. Radogonde, dedicated to a C6th queen revered in the Poitou-Charentes region.
Right bank: Meschers and its troglodyte caves
The town of Meschers sits on what looks like a balcony overlooking the biggest estuary in Europe. It owes its fame to its 5 wonderful beaches and more particularly, to the picturesque troglodyte homes dug into the cliffs beneath it. Come and see the varied scenery here, beach, pine forest, limestone cliffs and marshland.