Entre-deux-Mers is a vast territory south west of Bordeaux, enclosed between the right riverbank of Garonne River to the South, and the left riverbank of the Garonne river to the north, stretching until bec d’Ambès.
It is a land of winemaking tradition, producing twelve AOC appellations. On the architectural heritage side, Entre-deux-Mers stands out through the conservation of a important number of bastides a medieval city, Roman churches, castles, fortified houses and mills, saved by enthusiasts. It is an ideal place for tourist and cultural walks, closer to nature. The Roger Lapébie cycling path follows a former railway tracks along 52 km between Sauveterre de Guyenne and Latresne.
Built in 1280 and fortified during the 14th century, Cadillac has kept many vestiges from past centuries that can be admired while walking in the city or by going around the fortifications. The Castle of the Dukes of Epernon can be visited all year.
It was erected in the place of a medieval building which was levelled to build a sumptuous residence competing with the royal residences. During the French Revolution and until the end of the 19th century, it was used as a womens prison, then as a supervised Education Centre for young women until the middle of the 20th century. The House of the Wines of Cadillac contains a museum of the vine and the wine.
Today a small medieval village located in the heart of the vines, Rions was the capital of the antic Aquitaine. This stronghold was the witness of battles during the One Hundred Years War between the kingdoms of France and England. There are some vestiges of is defensive past still remaining such as the Lhyan Tower or the old Seguin Dungeon.
On its rocky promontory, the village overlooks the Garonne Valley. The limestone cliff which stretches for hundred of metres houses caves with many fossilised oyster shells dating back 22 millions years. These caves are ideal for the conservation of the liqueur white wine produced by the vineyard.
Enclosed by fortifications, Saint-Macaire is an astonishing medieval architectural complex, with many listed monuments, such as Place à Arcades du Mercadiou and its houses dating from the 13th to 16th centuries. During the 18th century, underground galleries were dug to extract the stone that was conveyed to Bordeaux for the construction of the buildings.
The Saint-Sauveur Church, on the edge of the fortifications, was part of an ancient Benedictine priory. The Benauge Gate, or the Clock Gate, dating from the 14th century indicates the entrance of the city.
Close to Saint-Macaire and overlooking the Garonne Valley, the family property of Francois Mauriac (1885-1970) “Malagar” can be visited. The residence of writer and academician, located in the heart of the vineyard is a listed Historic Monument. It is an busy cultural place, offering from May to October, a varied cultural season.
The medieval city of La Réole, Town of Art and History (The Town of art and history label is awarded by the Ministry for Culture to areas that undertake a policy of making the most of their heritage), with its paved alleys and its half-timbered houses, is rich of a harmonious architectural complex.
Its Benedictine Monastery dating from the 18th century, hosts today the administrative departments of the city; its Saint-Pierre Church built in the 12th century, was dismantled and rebuilt in the 17th century; its Quat'Sos Castle built in the 12th century on a primitive fortress, with its four square angle towers, explaining its name, overlooking the Garonne River; its former town hall is one of the oldest civil building of France. The town had a trade expansion thanks to the river transport and wine business. La Réole also has an interesting, if odd, museum of “to scale” matchstick models.
Monségur is a perked Bastide with beautiful panorama on the Drot Valley. From its medieval past, surrounded by fortifications, the bastide kept is square, its typical church, a 15th century gothic tower with its wall walk, its narrow streets, its half-timbered houses. Its 19th century glass and cast iron and covered hall, hosts the markets.
Pellegrue is a concentration of historic heritage. Located on a rocky promontory, the bastide created during the 13th century, with its square place and its characteristic angle corner alleys, has two renovated churches, Saint-André situated in centre of the village, Genas, Route de Duras, and three others partly destroyed, Saint-Laurent, La Reyre et Vignoles. From its rich historic past, remain three castles located on the hills: Boyrac Ségur Castle, from the 15th century, Lugagnac Castle, from the 15th-18th centuries and Puch de Gensac Castle, from the 13th century, modified during the 14th century and the 18th centuries.
This ancient bastide created in 1281 by King Edward 1st, changed hands 10 times suzerain before becoming French in 1451. Today remains its central arcaded city, its checkerboard pattern streets, four fortification city gates and beautifully restored half timbered houses.
In the surroundings, are a few architectural jewels for the visitors: the Saint-Nicolas de Blasimon Abbey, former Benedictine Abbey nestled in the Gamage Valley, listed Historic Monument; the Labarthe fortified Water Mill, built like a fortified house; the Haut Benauge Mill Museum, windmill built in 1600 and refurbished in 1970; the Saint-Ferme Abbey, overlooking the village with the same name, situated on the route of Saint Jean de Compostelle; and the Castelmon-d’Albret village, the smallest village in France, perked on a promontory and surrounded by a wall.
The village houses a fortified castle built between the 13th century and the 15th century, an imposing cylindrical dungeon of 31 metres high stands out and a cave, the Célestine Cave, ornamented by beautiful concretions.
It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful religious architecture legacies in Gironde. The building is listed as a Unesco World Heritage under the route of Saint Jacques de Compostelle. Built during the 12th century, the open-air site located in the heart of Entre-deux-Mers offers exceptional sculptures and vestiges: sculptured capitals, tower-bell, Romanesque choir vault and chapels.
This bastide of English origin, headquarters of the Entre-deux-Mers Grande Prévôté Royale (Royal Justice) until the French Revolution, has remained a trading town with renowned markets and fairs. The commune, a labelled cycling resort has remarkable cycling paths.
Fortified village on a rocky promontory, Castelmoron d'Albret is worth visiting for its lovely ancient alleys, typical winding streets which are nice to get lost in. During summer, the streets are full of flowers adding to the charm of the place. The village has a restored 19th century church. The commune is called Castelmoron d'Albret to be differentiated from the neighbouring Lot and Garonne commune, Castelmoron du Lot.