I was very happy when I learned that the Fortifications of Vauban are listed as a World Heritage Site. Looking at the body of Vauban's work, which reaches across France to all her borders, I am amazed by the scope of his creativity and productivity. While the history of war is bathed in horror, free of its grip I look in awe upon the architectural and engineering achievements of those who served its cause, particularly Vauban.
On first approach to Blaye, the walls alone, built in an impregnable series, amaze by their sheer scope and size. Within the walls, the unbreachable fortress contained what amounted to a city - 3,000 soldiers along with families, merchants, services, etc. Some of those buildings are now occupied by artisans' workshops and galleries. Stroll the grounds with its wonderful vistas out over the Gironde Estuary and across to the world-famous Médoc peninsula (there is a nearby ferry that will take you across, which makes for a great itinerary). You can also take a subterranean tour of the tunnels - well worth it!
Free to visit - small cost for tours - check the website for details.
Also not to be missed - the local vineyards and the Côtes de Blaye wines; many are as good as the nearby Bordeaux wines, at better prices!
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