August 7, Tuesday Day 3 – Bordeaux to Cadillac
‘Leisurely cruising – Soak in the vistas as you cruise on board the luxurious Scenic Diamond past the picturesque landscapes of the Garonne River into Cadillac, some of the most beautiful scenic cruising in the Bordeaux region. Tonight, this remarkable space comes to life when fabulous local entertainers perform live in the Panorama Lounge for your exclusive enjoyment.’
We decided to sleep in after our early morning yesterday, missing the morning exercises with the well being coach at 7:00 am. Soon we were off to the dining room for another wonderful buffet breakfast. Afterwards we had the mandatory safety drill followed by a Cruise overview given by the Cruise Director, a few changes to the itinerary since we were off to Cadillac which was originally scheduled later in the week. Apparently we had to get through the stone bridge, Pont de Pierre, before 11:30 am. After that time the tidal water would be too low for 24 hours which meant we had to be back through the bridge about the same time the next day. It would be 11 days before the water would be high enough again.
We went up top as we sailed up the Garonne river, taking pictures of the fishing huts, houses and the remains of WWII German boats along the way. A nice relaxing morning, a light lunch in the River Cafe, then back up top for more pictures and scenic views. Very different from the Rhine River cruise, a much more relaxing pace. We arrived in Cadillac around 2:30, and got onto our coaches for Roquetaillade Castle, our first tour of the trip.
Our Port talk was at 6:45 followed by the Captain’s Gala Dinner. Lots of fun and wine!
Pont De Pierre, planned and designed during the First French Empire by orders of Napoleon I, its construction took place during the Bourbon Restoration, from 1819 to 1822. It was first bridge over the Garonne River connecting the right and left bank.
Place Saint Michel, The Basilique Saint Michel is a magnificent example of gothic architecture built from 14th to 16th century and is one of the tallest in the whole of France at 114.6 meters. The bell tower was built completely independent of the main church in the 15th century.
Carrelets, The traditional fishing huts on the banks of the Garonne and Dordogne, are charming huts on stilts and take their name from the square-shaped pulley-operated nets used for fishing, which are very much in evidence.
Porte de Bourgogne, Located at the former entrance of the road from Paris to the town of Bordeaux, the arch was named in honour of Louis, Duke of Burgundy – the brother of three kings of France, Louis XVI, and XVIII, and Charles X – on the 24th January 1757. It was briefly called the Arch of Napoleon – a name change that was timed to the visit of the Emperor in Bordeaux in 1808.
Roquetaillade is built on a naturally defensive limestone plateau, with its roots going back to prehistory. The name Roquetaillade means ” carved out of rock ” and indeed the grottoes beneath the site were home to prehistoric man. The first earth and timber fortifications were constructed by Charlemagne in the 8thC to protect the route to Spain, then over the next 600 years they were replaced by stone fortifications and the old castle come into existence (11th century). By the early 14th century Roquetaillade had become an important fortified town. In 1154 Eleanor of Aquitaine married the future Henry II of England and her domains in southwest France became English for 300 years ending with with 100 years war and the battle of Castillon in 1453.
In 1306 Cardinal de la Motte received permission from King Edward 1st of England to build a new castle. For this, we must thank his uncle, Pope Clement V. the first French pope in Avignon. Clement V’s political power was vast and extended as a far as Oxford. What we see today is a unique example of feudal architecture, that is to say two fortresses within the same castle walls. Roquetaillade has been home of the same family since its origins.