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The Gironde, the largest estuary in Western Europe

Charente-Maritime shares the largest estuary in Europe - the Gironde.

The Gironde estuary, 75 km long and 12 km wide at its mouth, is the largest estuary in Western Europe. It covers a total area of 635 km².

The Gironde estuary is full of small villages each prettier than the other.

The Garonne and the Dordogne meet at the mouth of the Ambès to form the Gironde estuary. This last irrigates the vineyards of the Médoc on one side and the vineyards of Blaye, on the other – the famous vineyards of the Bordeaux region.

On the Charente-Maritime side, there is one of the most famous villages in the estuary area called Talmont-sur-Gironde (a candidate village in the game show "France’s Favourite Town" where the church of St. Radegund has been built on the edge of a cliff. Mortagne-sur-Gironde is another village which is popular with visitors, where the higher side of the town offers a beautiful view of the estuary.

In the upper part of this well-preserved natural environment which faces the Médoc, you can discover the protective gaze of the Cordouan lighthouse, also called the "lighthouse of kings" or "the Versailles of the sea".

Discover the rich cultural heritage of the Gironde estuary

The Gironde estuary is renowned for its cultural heritage. Its banks offer a variety of landscapes and fishing also brings its own traditions, which are kept alive.

On its right bank, you will discover great cliffs hosting cave dwellings near Meschers-sur-Gironde. Further on, the large hills by the river contrast with the flatter landscape of the left bank.

For the record, the Gironde estuary is used by the huge ships that carry the wings, the fins and the fuselage of the Airbus A380.

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