Blaye Citadel Shooting Range

Historical Shooting Range

While holidaying in Bordeaux I traveled to Blaye an old town approximately a 1hr drive north of Bordeaux.  Blaye overlooks the Gironde River the gateway to Bordeaux.  Blaye is now famous for its Citadel that was once a Monastic site but expanded by ‘Vauban’ a military strategist who designed many fortresses for the French.

As a tourist I enjoy discovering the history and finer details of the sites I visit.  The Citadel is free to walk around but to experience that extra wow factor there was an English speaking tour scheduled at 3PM at a small cost of 5 euro, so I booked myself in for that.

The guided tour would take me in through the Citadel walls and tunnels that were not accessible unless you were part of a guided tour run by the tourist office located within the Citadel.

As fortune had it, I was the only person booked into the tour.  During my walk of discovery through the tunnels and around dimly lit corners I got to experience what the soldiers of the time would have experienced while moving from section to section and hear how each part of the Citidel was defended and manned.  We eventually exited into the afternoon sunshine and an open area enclosed by 15 foot high walls.  Looking around, the setup looked very familiar to a shooter.  Yes there was an actual shooting range within the Citadel walls.  This was no modern day shooting range.  Merely a 100 Metre plus flat range with some overhead baffles.  The guide told me that the range is still in use today by the local shooting club who go there about once a month to shoot.

Ye Auld Laws

I believe the laws of civilians using this range extends from history where every citizen had to be familiar with shooting as they could be called upon to fight and defend their country.

With the surrounding high walls of stone I can only imagine that the noise reverberating of the stone after a volley of shots could be heard throughout the town.

It’s great to know that the old shooting range is still in use to this day long after the Citadel was stood down as a fortress.  It must be a pleasure for the members of the shooting club to be able to shoot their firearms on such an historical site.  I know I would be honoured to do so.

Below are some photos of the range as it looks at present.

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