A general view of Blaye
|• Mayor (2020–2026)||Denis Baldès|
|6.42 km2 (2.48 sq mi)|
|• Density||750/km2 (1,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||0–41 m (0–135 ft) |
(avg. 7 m or 23 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
Blaye (French: [blaj] ( listen ); Occitan : Blaiapronounced [ˈblajɔ] ) is a commune and subprefecture in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. For centuries, Blaye was a particularly convenient crossing point for those who came from the north and went to Bordeaux or further south, to Spain and Portugal. Fortified since antiquity, this eminently strategic site located on the bank of a large river, was not modernized until the end of the 17th century, thanks to Vauban. It is indeed in 1685 that the Commissaire general des fortifications of Louis XIV will propose the construction of a real lock on the Gironde in order to "take control of the river" and to keep Bordeaux in respect in case of a revolt. It is then that the citadel of Blaye will be built, which constitutes the major element of the estuary control system. Dominating the urban landscape, this imposing building has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, as part of the network of major sites in Vauban.
Its inhabitants are called Blayais or the Blayaises.
Blaye is located on the right bank of the Gironde estuary (which is some 3 km (1.9 mi) wide at this point), close to the A10 autoroute, 56 km (35 mi) north of Bordeaux. There is a rail line with occasional freight trains, but no passenger services. A small ferry crosses the Gironde to Lamarque, in Medoc.
In ancient times Blaye (Blavia) was a port of the Santones. Tradition states that the Frankish hero Roland was buried in its basilica, which was on the site of the citadel. It is an important location in the epic Jourdain de Blaye .
Blaye was early an important stronghold which played an important part in the wars against the English (who burnt it in 1352) and the French Wars of Religion (when it was the site of a Spanish naval victory in 1593). The duchess of Berry was imprisoned in its fortress in 1832–1833.
The town was formerly named Blaye-et-Sainte-Luce and was renamed Blaye in June 1961.
The town has a citadel built by Vauban on a rock beside the river, which contains the ruins of a medieval castle, Château des Rudel(fr), and the ruins of Basilica of Saint-Romain, which holds the tomb of Charibert II, king of Aquitaine, and son of Clotaire II. Nearby, Fort Paté, on an island in the river, and Fort Médoc on its left bank, also of the 17th century, completed Vauban's defenses of the water approaches of Bordeaux .
The citadel of Blaye, its city walls, Fort Paté and Fort Médoc (the latter in nearby Cussac-Fort-Médoc) were listed in 2008 as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as part of the "Fortifications of Vauban" group.
Blaye has a small river-port, mainly used for grain exports. Fine red wine is produced in the district, in the AOC Côtes de Blaye. A large nuclear power station with four reactorsis located nearby.
Several schools are located in Blaye.
Public schools include the following:
The town has tribunals of first instance and of commerce.
Blaye is twinned with:
Bordeaux is a port city on the river Garonne in the Gironde department in Southwestern France.
Gironde is a department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of Southwestern France. Named after the Gironde estuary, a major waterway, its prefecture is Bordeaux. In 2016, it had a population of 1,566,679. The famous Bordeaux wine region is in Gironde.
The Gironde is a navigable estuary in southwest France and is formed from the meeting of the rivers Dordogne and Garonne just downstream of the centre of Bordeaux. Covering around 635 km2 (245 sq mi), it is the largest estuary in western Europe.
Saint-Émilion is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in Southwestern France. In 2016, it had a population of 1,938.
Pauillac is a municipality in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. The city is mid-way between Bordeaux and the Pointe de Grave, along the Gironde, the largest estuary in western Europe.
Saint-Estèphe is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.
Saint-Julien-Beychevelle is a commune on the left bank of the Garonne estuary in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.
Moulis-en-Médoc is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.
Lesparre-Médoc is a commune in the Gironde department, New Aquitaine, southwestern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.
Pessac is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. It is a member of the metropolis of Bordeaux, being the second-largest suburb of Bordeaux and located just southwest of it. Pessac is also home to the Montesquieu University, the Bordeaux Montaigne University, and the Institut d'études politiques de Bordeaux.
Magny-en-Vexin is a commune in the Val-d'Oise département in Île-de-France in northern France. It is located in the regional nature park of Vexin.
Blanquefort is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. Blanquefort is an outlying commune of the Bordeaux metropolitan area.
Saint Vivien de Medoc is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.
Cussac-Fort-Médoc is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.
Lamarque is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. It lies in the Médoc, on the left bank of the Gironde estuary. A small car ferry crosses the estuary to Blaye.
The Fortifications of Vauban is made up of 12 groups of fortified buildings and sites along the borders of France. They were designed by military architect Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633–1707) during the reign of King Louis XIV, and were added in 2008 to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Basilica of Saint-Romain, Blaye, was an important Merovingian basilica, the resting-place of Charibert II, a son of Clotaire II who was briefly king of Aquitaine from 629 to his death in 632, and of his son. According to the 12th-century Chanson de Roland contained the body and relics of the Carolingian folk-hero Roland, who was a seigneur of Blaye in the eighth century, and of his companions Olivier and Turpin, deposited with grand solemnity in white marble sarcophagi. In Bordeaux across the Gironde the oliphaunt, Roland's split ivory horn, was preserved: li pelerin li veient ki la vunt, "the pilgrim may see it who goes"; a Seint Romain; la gisent li baron, "at Saint-Romain; there lie the barons", a sign interpreted by Gerald Brault to show that the pilgrimage sites at Bordeaux and Blaye had been established before the Chanson de Roland was composed. Indeed, in 1109 Hugh of Fleury concluded his account of the battle of Roncevaux with the words "whence Roland was carried to the citadel of Blaye and buried." The legend was long credited: in 1526 François I commanded the tomb of Roland to be opened.
Fort Médoc is a fort built by Vauban, nearby Cussac-Fort-Médoc, in Gironde, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. The earthworks were started in 1689 and construction of the fort itself in 1691.
Fort Paté is a round, tower-like Vauban fort on Paté Island in the Gironde estuary, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. It, with Fort Médoc and the citadel of Blaye, protected Bordeaux from attack by sea. With them, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the Fortifications of Vauban.
Mérignac is a commune in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. The 20th-century historian Robert Étienne (1921–2009) was born in Mérignac.
Media related to Blaye at Wikimedia Commons