Thursday, August 18, 2016

Day 5 Cruising Day Blaye and Bourg en Gironde

This morning we made our way from Pauillac to Blaye. Situated on the right, or north, bank of the Gironde estuary, this small town is best known for its military importance. We enjoyed an excursion to the Fortress Citadel- a UNESCO Worlds Heritage Site-built by famous military engineer Marquis de Vauban. It was an important stronghold during the wars against the English and the French Wars of Religion. The area is comprised of the city walls and all three fortresses covering 93 hectares (230 acres) and almost forms a small city of its own.

We learned about this exceptional military architecture and discovered how people lived there in the middle ages when the Count Geoffrey de Rudel was writing love poems to Melissande, Princess of Tripoli.

We heard about the soldiers guarding the fort and how it became a prison for a Duchesse of Angouleme and later a hospital for the wounded soldiers in WWI 

From the top of this famous fortress, we could see beautiful views of the impressive Gironde estuary. 

The town (inside the citadel) itself has a lively center with shops and restaurants. A ferry connects Blaye to Lamarque on the other side of the Gironde. Still today, this ferry is used by St. James Way pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela.

Hotel, Restaurant La Citadelle

Le Bastion, Crêperie Restaurant

Delicious bruschetta and olive tapenade with Rosé

We headed back to the ship for lunch and then walked around the town. It was a Monday and everything was pretty much closed!

Next blog will be the wine festival we attended later that afternoon.