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The Gironde Estuary is the result of the magnificent combination of the Dordogne and the Garonne, and is the biggest estuary in Europe! It opens out onto the Atlantic Ocean and is the ideal place for walks through the multiple landscapes, brimming with treasures just waiting to be discovered. Lighthouses, coloured fishing huts on stilts (carrelets), gourmet markets and heritage sites, with Médoc oysters and gambas, or even guinguettes, little fishing ports and marshes, these are all the must-sees of the estuary!
Visit the Richard Lighthousefor a 360° view over the estuary and the fishing huts
Richard Lighthouse is located in Jau-Dignac-et-loirac and was first brought into operation in 1870, and operated until 1953. It was restored in 1982 and became a beautiful place for walks and picnics, the lighthouse is not in operation anymore but you can visit it! At the top of the tower, you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view over the estuary, "carrelet" fishing huts and marshes.
What can we do at the Richard Lighthouse?
Richard Lighthouse is the perfect place to stop for a picnic on the shores of the estuary, a walk alongside the fishing huts or to enjoy the festive evenings which bring together the locals and holidaymakers. A world away from the crowded seaside resorts, here you can enjoy the wide-open spaces of the Gironde, the peace and quiet of the surrounding marshes and all the Médoc has to offer!
What is a carrelet?
A carrelet is a fishing hut on stilts, very well-known by the locals of the area and the true stars of the estuary. These huts on stilts are connected to the shore by a jetty and are very pleasant places for a relaxing time with friends or family. A square fishing net is hanging off the end of this hut. At high tide, it is lowered into the sea and then raised to capture prawns and small fish. It's very exciting to haul up the net and see what's inside, and at the same time you can admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Spend a night in a carreletAnd experience a festival of colours
Saint-Vivien-de-Médoc marketThe perfect place to fill your basket with local specialities
Saint-Vivien weekly market is an absolute must during your stay here. Every Wednesday morning, you can enjoy the friendly atmosphere, the beauty of the stalls, warm welcome and good sense-of-humour from the producers and most importantly, you can taste the local products, such as the Médoc oysters! And so you don't have to wait a whole week for the next one, we invite you to come back every Sunday evening in the summer for the night-time market!
Médoc oyster farming ports and guinguettesFood-lover's paradise
The little ports and guinguettes along the estuary are not only extremely charming, but they are also hiding little delicacies which all food-lovers will appreciate. This former salt marsh is the ideal habitat for fattened oysters, Pacific gambas and esquires. You can come and discover how they are bred and taste these local delicacies directly with the producer! Taste all there is on offer from the Port de Goulée, to Valeyrac, and from the old oyster port to Verdon-sur-Mer.
The estuary marshesHave a relaxing getaway surrounded by both land and water
The surrounding area of the Gironde Estuary is the kingdom of herons and egrets. The landscapes here are extremely varied, such as the marshes which make you feel like you're in the Camargue region. You can visit the area with a guide, on foot or by bicycle, just let your imagination guide you through this beautiful wide-open space. You will discover surprising plant species and meet some discreet animals during your exploration.
In Verdon-sur-Mer the horizon is the only limit
The town of Verdon-sur-Mer is completely open onto the ocean and is especially renowned for sailing and for its history. It is a combination of a rich tourist offer, seaside pleasures and gourmet heritage and the ports here give the added opportunity of sailing and contemplation. In Port-Médoc, you can hop onto a boat and sail away to Cordouan and the estuary! At the old oyster port, you can stroll alongside the coloured huts and enjoy all the pleasures this charming place has to offer.
What about visiting Cordouan Lighthouse?
After discovering all the estuary has on offer, why not set off to discover another jewel of the region: the Cordouan Lighthouse. We will help you prepare for your trip here and can provide timetables, directions and practical information!