The Citadel of Blaye, UNESCO World Heritage site
In the 17th century, Louis XIV ordered Vauban to strengthen the existing fortifications at the Citadel of Blaye to protect the city of Bordeaux, located upstream of the estuary on the Garonne River. As the cannons at the time did not have sufficient range to cover the 3 km width of the river - and thus prevent the enemy from reaching the city - Vauban built two more forts. With Fort Paté, Fort Médoc and the improved fortifications of the Citadel of Blaye, Vauban was able to set up cross-fires and prevent enemies from sailing up to Bordeaux.
Guided boat tours lasting about 1 hour are organised to visit this system
for controlling the estuary, the only one of its kind in France.
Designed between 1685 and 1689 as a veritable walled city with a total area of 38 hectares,
the Citadel of Blaye was built around a parade ground, a monastery dedicated to the Minims order, and several army barracks. Inside the fortress, there are several remarkable buildings and ruins, including the 12th-Century Rudel castle, the Liverneuf gate (12th Century), and the Éguillette tower (15th century).
Blaye citadel is opened 7 days a week, all year round. Entrance is free of charge.
If you would like to visit the fortress by yourself, there are historic signs in English along the walk.
Toursit information office
Rue des Minimes La citadelle
Phone : +33 (0)5 57 45 12 09
Tours outline the architectural development of the site and explain Vauban’s defence system, as well as life in a 17th-century garrison. You will explore the underground passages that the soldiers could use
if the fortress was besieged and learn how the site developed, through older buildings that Vauban preserved and reused.
Price list : adult 6€ and children 4€
Time : approximately 1 hour. The tour is available in English at 3.00pm from Monday to Sunday from June to September or under reservation (for another period of the year feel free to call the Tourist Information Center), in French every day from June to September at 11am, 2pm, 3.30 pm and 5pm ; at 2.30pm the rest of the year from Monday to Friday, and at 2.30pm and 4pm every weekend and bank holidays.
Times of tours in other languages are available at the Tourist Information Center. Reservations recommended.
Tourist information office
Rue des Minimes La citadelle 33390 Blaye
Phone : +33 (0)5 57 42 12 09
The mini-train offers guided tours exploring the history and heritage of the Blaye area. In summer: every day at 2pm, 3.30pm, and 5pm (except on Thursdays for 5pm).
Time : approximately 1 hour.
Price list : adults 7€ , 5€ students, and children 4€ (2 to 12) free for children under 2.
Train tours require a minimum of 8 passengers. They may be cancelled in bad weather.
Departure at 11am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays only tour in the fortress.
Time : 40 minutes
Price : 4€
Tourist information center
Rue du couvent des Minimes La citadelle
Phone : +33 (0)5 57 42 12 09
The tourist information center and the boat of Compagnie des deux rives will lead you onto a unique experience of Vauban's works. Louis XIV had a three piece of fort built there to protect Bordeaux from "British invaders".
From July to August, Sundays, either with you own family or with friends
- 11:00am, 2:00pm or 3:30pm : a guided tour of the citadel to understand Vauban's conception about protecting the area.
- 5:30pm : a boat trip with La compagnie des deux rives to get a different view about the bolt and the other two forts (Fort Pâté and Fort Médoc)
Price list : adult from 15€ to 19€ and children from 10€. Booking advised.
Craft and artists
The citadel old barracks shelter craftmen and artists. Push their door in and you'll be heartily welcomed and be able to see their work on display.
Lamps, paint on silk, watercolours : Catherine Blosseville next to the king's son's door (Just ring the door bell).
Phone : +33 (0)188.8.131.52.31.
Paint and watercolours : Michèle Dorion will welcome you all year round, 144e RI. St.
Phone : +33 (0)184.108.40.206.53 or +33 (0)220.127.116.11.50.
Céramisist : Claire Roger, 144e RI St (Just ring the door bell).
Phone : +33 (0)18.104.22.168.59.
Leather workshop : Eric Cozet will welcome you during tourist season, bastion St Romain St.
Phone : +33 (0)22.214.171.124.08. Shoes, bags, belts, jewels, to suite everybody's taste and budget.