Skip to main content

Citadel of Blaye, Blaye

Largest of the UNESCO certified Fortifications of Vauban

featured in Sights & sites

The fortified citadel at Blaye, standing on the opposite bank of the river Gironde to Fort Médoc, forms, along with Fort Paté, the region's 17th-century defence against river attack.

Built by Vauban, together this group are named the Fortifications of Vauban and are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site of the citadel saw its first castle in the 7th century. Vauban's fortress though was built in 1689 and took three years.

The largest of the three fortresses, Blaye has both landward and seaward defences with dry ditches dug out of the rock. He incorporated some of the existing defences into his structure to the benefit of the fort. Some elements are still inhabited today. An impressive spot offering a panoramic view.

Worth knowing

There are guided tours of the citadel and its underground tunnels from June to September at 11:00, 14:00, 15:30 and 17:00. The rest of the year at 14:30. They cost 6€ for adults and 4€ for children 5 to 12 (free for children under 12). Ask at the tourist office.

Visitor comments

  • "This ancient citadelle is a must see if you are anywhere near Blaye in France. Just walking around was like walking through a novel. The tiny cottages protected inside the great walls just blew me away." - Trip Advisor 
  • "A detour on a motoring adventure to the Dordogne ended up with a visit to Blaye. Following signs to a car park we were to discover the citadel perched on a rocky promontory which was built in the 17th century to protect Bordeaux, overlooking the estuary of the Gironde. Entrance was free and this totally unexpected find proved to be most fascinating and obviously a popular place in attracting quite a number of visitors." - Trip Advisor
  • "We were recommended to visit Blaye by the B&B we stayed at in St Emilion. We were delighted to arrive in Blaye and see this enormous walled village with its amazing grounds. The deep ravines and then walk into the town( a mild steep slope) and walk the periphery. There are amazing views of the port as well as views to the Atlantic, a perfect place for an amazing fortress protecting Bordeaux. We also explored the town which was quite cute and enjoyed a drink at a small restaurant. Definitely worth visiting!!" - Trip Advisor

When to come

The citadel is open throughout the year.


Map of the surrounding area