Navigation and cultural heritage fans
will love the discovery of the Gironde Estuary
As the largest estuary in Europe, the Gironde Estuary is a changing universe where islands appear and disappear at the whim of the river.
The estuary, which was already in use as a circulation route in the ancient times, is marked with indicators of this long business and strategic history.
From the Corduan lighthouse to the City of Bordeaux passing through Fort Médoc, you will discover a rich heritage made of lighthouses, fishing huts, small harbours and prestigious châteaux.
Embark on the Gironde !
The Gironde Estuary is a fantastic playground for all navigation lovers. Boaters or cruise passengers will enjoy the magic of small picturesque havens along the estuary from Macau to Le Verdon sur Mer.
You won’t remain insensitive to magnificent monuments such as Fort Médoc, Richard’s Lighthouse or the world-famous Corduan Lighthouse, as well as the amazing string of islands which dot this huge stretch of water.
If you are lucky enough, you will come across one of those majestic giant liners on its way to Le Port de la Lune (Moon Harbour) in Bordeaux, unless you meet skippers of the « Solitaire du
Figaro » which has been starting in Pauillac for a couple of years.
Small harbours saga
Snuggled on the banks of the Gironde, the « small harbours route » winds its way for several kilometres to guide you from one small harbour to another. Here we are far away from
« marinas » hosting two thousand ships. It is a simple opening cut into the inland where they once used to load wine barrels on the « gabares » (flat bottom boats) heading to Bordeaux.
Only the peaceful atmosphere remains from this era in these places which are now timeless. They offer an unusual view and sometimes a « guinguette » (riverside café) where you can have mussels, French fries, or taste a glass of white wine served with « biquettes » (young goats) which is the name given to these small fresh water prawns fished in the Estuary. You may also enjoy gambas or oysters bred up there in the marshes of the « Pointe du Médoc ».
These simple specialities liven up the local cuisine which has already been made famous by Pauillac lamb, rib steak cooked over vine shoots, lamprey and snails prepared the bordelaise way, sweetened by Noisettines du Médoc (caramel coated hazelnuts) and subtle Mademoiselles of Margaux (chocolate specialities).
Richard’s lighthouse and dozens of « carrelets », these fishing huts on stilts, punctuate a unique landscape, whilst towers, like sentinels in the vineyards, indicate the châteaux where the wines are waiting to be tasted.
« It is looking at the River »
The Médoc Vineyard is undoubtedly the most famous in the world. It gently spreads over gravel hills some 80 km long and 10 km wide, it keeps watching the River, which is the sine qua non condition for the wine to be good according to the elders !
Along the mythical road « D2 », the communal appellations follow each other : Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Saint-Estèphe, and the number of wine estates is huge. Sixty Grands Crus classés en 1855, among which the famous Château Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild and Latour, a few hundreds of crus bourgeois, dozens of crus artisans and cooperative wineries !
Sumptuous monuments, magnificent parks, humble cellars where you will be welcomed as a friend. The most difficult thing will be to make a choice !