My brother lives in the Médoc region of France. I’ve just been to visit for a long weekend with my friend, Tim, who was my best man too many years ago. The weather has been as miserable there as at home, but the sun came out on Sunday, so we took a little cultural jaunt to visit Fort Médoc.
The fort is part of the Unesco World Heritage entry, The Fortifications of Vauban, which covers several groups of fortifications. Fort Médoc is part of the Bolt of The Estuary that comprises, in addition to Médoc, the Citadel de Blaye and Fort Paté, built on an artificial island in the centre of the Gironde river.
The forts were intended to protect the city of Bordeaux and also collect customs duties from merchant ships passing through. The pano’ below shows the inner part of the fort, which has only a few buildings—the ground being too marshy to support heavy walls and ramparts. The main protection was afforded by earthworks and an outer moat. Construction started in the late 17th Century and, while initial building was finished in a few years, additional work was periodically conducted for well over a century. The cistern and pumping system, which provided the first on site fresh water, were finished 129 years after the original start.
A pano of the fort: in the foreground is the cistern and remains of the pumping station. The main gatehouse is just behind.In the distance are barracks and the customs house. Barely visible through the tree is the roof of the powder house. Some of the earthworks can be seen on the right.
Entry to the site is only €3 per head and parking is free. Fort Médoc is definitely worth a visit, even if you have only a passing interest in military history.
The pictures were all taken with my iPhone 5s, which can take great pictures, but I do find hard to get consistent results for close-ups—probably depth of focus is too narrow for my shaky hands—and the digital zoom is pretty much a waste of time. But (cliché alert) it’s the camera I always have on me.