Citadelle de Blaye (Blaye Citadel), Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

A bastion and moat form one of three lines of defense at the Vauban designed Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

A bastion and moat form one of three lines of defense at the Vauban designed Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

Situated along the banks of the Garonne River estuary north of the city of Bordeaux, Blaye Citadel is one of 12 military complexes designed by French engineer Sébastian Le Prestre de Vauban in the 17th century under King Louis XIV, the “Sun King”.  Along with the other fortificaitons, Blaye Citadel was added to the list of World Heritage sites in 2008.  In consort with two strategically-placed forts in Paté and Médoc, passage on the river (coming in from the Atlantic Ocean) was easily controlled by Louis XIV’s troops.

 

Porte Dauphine and its stone bridge access to the fortress is topped with a Vauban-designed clock tower, Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

Porte Dauphine and its stone bridge access to the fortress is topped with a Vauban-designed clock tower, Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

One of four bastions designed by Vauban to be protected from crossfire from the other bastions, Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

One of four bastions designed by Vauban to be protected from crossfire from the other bastions, Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

The site was historically fortified and had a castle dating back to the seventh century A.D.  The original castle and its fortifications were included in the plans drawn up by Vauban for Louis XIV.  The final citadel built to Vauban’s plans was a superb example of how an existing structure could be adapted to a new defense system.  The citadel’s interior is designed as a real walled city built around a parade ground, a monastery once home to monks, and several barracks.

 

An underground passage for soldiers beneath one of the bastions at Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

An underground passage for soldiers beneath one of the bastions at Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

Ruins of the Castle of Rudel dating back to the seventh century A.D., Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

Ruins of the Castle of Rudel dating back to the seventh century A.D., Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

Stone gatehouse bastion Father, surmounted by a fleur de lys, emblem of the French monarchy, Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

Stone gatehouse bastion Father, surmounted by a fleur de lys, emblem of the French monarchy, Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

The citadel riverfront wall overlooking the Garonne River within the walled city inside the Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

The citadel riverfront wall overlooking the Garonne River within the walled city inside the Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

Façade of one of many historic houses within the walled city protected by the Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

Façade of one of many historic houses within the walled city protected by the Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

Façade of another of many historic houses within the walled city protected by the Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

Façade of another of many historic houses within the walled city protected by the Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

The town of Blaye has an excellent open-air market which we enjoyed shopping at after our explorations of Blaye Citadel.  The local fish and produce were excellent and we stocked up for upcoming meals in our apartment.

 

Clearing, billowing storm clouds after a morning rain at Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

Clearing, billowing storm clouds after a morning rain at Blaye Citadel, Blaye, Bordeaux region, France

 

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