Visit Blaye (Aquitaine, France)
Situated on the eastern side of the Gironde estuary north of Bordeaux, Blaye is best known for its Citadel and for the red wine produced in the surrounding region. With 4,700 inhabitants, Blaye is a small town, but has a long history of military and strategic significance.
According to legend Blaye is the final resting place of the Count Roland of Blaye, nephew of Charlemagne and hero of Le Chanson de Roland. Unfortunately, the Basilique Saint-Romain where he was said to be buried suffered damage in the Wars of Religion and was later completely destroyed during the building of the Citadel.
Most visits to Blaye start with a visit to the citadel. The Citadel is a military complex designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban and was constructed between 1685 and 1689. Built with the goal of protecting Blaye, the Citadel, together with the Fort Paté and the Fort Médoc on the western side of the Gironde estuary, was able to control the flow of river traffic.
It is free to enter the Citadel and explore its ramparts. From the top of the Citadel, there is a good view of the estuary and the two forts. Within its walls, visitors can pay to take guided tours of the Abbaye St. Romain or to enter or take a tour of the Musée d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de Blaye and the old prison in the same building. Tours are also available of the Citadel and its underground passageways through the Office de Tourisme.
In 2008, the Citadel of Blaye and the city walls were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with other fortifications designed by 17th century military engineer Vauban.
Also in Blaye you can see the ruins of the Château des Rudel, a 12th medieval century castle. It was mostly destroyed in the Wars of Religion by Calvinists, although there have been recent efforts to preserve what is left.
The region of Blaye is celebrated for its Côtes de Blaye, the red wines made in the nearby vineyards along the Gironde. To taste and discover these wines, visitors can go to the Maison du Vin on the Cours Vauban or to the Cellier des Vignerons in the Citadel. Each spring, the Printemps des Vins wine tasting and sale is held inside the Citadel of Blaye.
There is a market every Wednesday and Saturday where visitors can buy local produce, including asparagus of Blayais. The soil in the Blaye region is particularly good for growing asparagus and the gourmet vegetable can be bought from March to May. Blaye’s pralines, fish from the Gironde, and fruit are also notable.
There are no trains to Blaye, but it is accessible by bus and by car. Once in Blaye it is easy to see all of the attractions by foot.
It is possible to stay in Blaye itself - there are hotels in the center and bed and breakfasts in the area. Among the popular accommodation options available, the Villa Premayac offers rooms in an 18th century building in the center of the town and the Chateau Bavolier has rooms in an 18th century castle.
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Blaye, Gironde, Aquitaine, 33390 || GPS: latitude 45.1286, longitude -0.661111
Map of Blaye & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Blaye, France
- Blaye citadelle (Vauban fortifications) - heritage site
- Cussac Fort Paté (Vauban fortifications) - heritage site
- Fort Médoc (Vauban fortifications) - heritage site (4km)
- Parc du château Lanessan - remarkable garden (6km)
- Cave Pair-non-Pair - national monument (16km)
- Jardin du Fond de l’or - remarkable garden (32km)
- Bordeaux basilique Saint-Seurin (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (32km)
- Bordeaux Port - heritage site (33km)
- Bordeaux cathédrale Saint-André (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (33km)
- Pey-Berland Tower - national monument (33km)
Market days in Blaye: Regular market(s) are held in Blaye each Wednesday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Blaye (Francais)