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Vineyard and citadel in Blaye

Walking - Loop - Compostela - Cultural - Historical

  • Distance : 12,5km
  • Duration : 3h30
  • Means of locomotion : on foot
  • Difficulty : Easy
  • Couleur et marques : Green, Poteaux et porte-flèches

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  • Phone : +33 5 57 42 12 09

     
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Town of departure : BLAYE
Town of arrival : BLAYE

Description : 8 miles stroll between the vineyards and the estuary of Gironde, widest European estuary!

 

Key information

 

Étapes

  • 1

    Your starting point is in the car park, facing the Blaye fire station.Go back to the small square and cross it to the pavement across the way. Turn right and walk a few metres before turning left and the second waymark. You will then enter a charming path running along the backs of houses, amidst small gardens and henhouses. Continue to the tarmac road.

  • 2

    Turn left at the arrow, then take the first road to the right, heading towards the “Livraison hôpital” sign. A little past that, turn onto the gravel path. Keep straight.

  • 3

    Once you reach the tarmac road, taken the dirt path between the low stone walls. Follow the Tours Route of the Camino de Santiago, indicated by special waymarks. From this point onwards, you will have many outlets to the Gironde Estuary on your left. You will travel for a while above this scenery of water and marshland and will be able to admire the Château La Grange from above.

  • 4

    After about 2 kilometres, you will come to a place called La Brousse, named after the castle appearing before you. Continue along the tarmac road and turn right by the castle, onto the Chemin des 3 Moulins. Then turn right again, keeping the Chemin des Vignes on your left.

  • 5

    You will climb up to the plateau amidst a landscape of grapevines, typical of the Blaye region. From the top, the views of the estuary and the Médoc region are spectacular. Turn left at the waymark and keep straight, with the “Voie sans issue” sign on your right.

  • 6

    Turn right at the arrow and then take an immediate left towards Saint-Genès-de-Blaye. You will pass by the cemetery where you can take a quick break on its benches.

  • 7

    Before you reach the village, turn right onto the D137 (watch out for traffic). After the exit sign, head uphill towards the wayside cross and take the tarmac road to the left. At the first bend, keep straight on the gravel path alongside the agricultural outbuilding of the Château Prieuré.

  • 8

    Continue walking through the grapevines until you reach the arrow installed under an oak tree. From there, turn left towards the tarmac road which you will take to the left again, and then turn right at the junction, in the direction of Saint-Genès-de-Blaye. After passing through the hamlet, turn right onto a gravel road at the foot of a power pole.

  • 9

    Walk 350 metres and take the path to the left between the rows of grapevines. The views of the surrounding hillsides and vineyards here are superb.

  • 10

    Once you reach the tarmac road, turn right and then take the first left. You will then follow a regular incline up a hill, passing through La Valade and Pellegris, overlooking the estuary.

  • 11

    At the exit to Pellegris, turn left as you go up, at the corner with a lovely fig tree concealing the waymark.

  • 12

    Continue to the next crossroads, where you will turn right before taking the first left at the corner of a house. You will have passed through several hamlets backed up against the hillside, where new and old residents rub shoulders. All of them will be sure to greet you on your way. Take the time to stop and talk with them, and they will happily explain their attachment to this land.

  • 13

    Cross the D135 and turn left, then take an immediate right. You will walk alongside a vineyard plot and turn right immediately after it (at the waymark). At the top of the slope, you will reach the path you took at the beginning of the walk (Step 6). Follow the original route back to Blaye. Imagine you are a pilgrim discovering the mediaeval town on the horizon, its Camino hospital and its fortified château, whose ruins you can admire inside the citadel. Once you are back at your starting point, remember that you are just a few dozen metres from the entrance to the citadel where artisans, artists and merchants are waiting to greet you for a pleasant end to your journey along the high ground of Blaye country.

 

Points of interest

  • Shared by the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, the Gironde Estuary is the largest in Western Europe (600 km2) and the best-preserved in terms of scenery and the environment. Flanked by Médoc and Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux vineyards, the estuary contains many islands for you to visit, some inhabited and some wild. Carrelet fishing is very common along the estuary. Many fishing huts are perched on stilts along its banks, from which a square net (the carrelet) can be lowered into the water. The word carrelet also refers to those fishing huts. This is a type of fishing at random (the net is brought up regularly and no bait is used), enjoyed by amateurs.

  • Fortified by the famous architect Vauban to protect Bordeaux, the Citadel of Blaye is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List under “Verrou Vauban”, along with Fort Pâté (on the island of the same name) and Fort Médoc on the left bank of the estuary. Like a real walled city, arranged around parade grounds, it now houses many arts and crafts workshops and offers sumptuous views of the biggest estuary in Europe.

  • Hugging the hills and dales overlooking the estuary, the Blaye wine region owes its origins to the Greeks and then to the Romans who planted the first grapevine there (well before any Médoc grapes!). This fertile land in conducive to the expression of red Merlot grapes, the main variety used in Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux AOC wines.