Along the byways of the Médoc
The Médoc is characterised by many things: the ocean with its beaches, dunes and fine sand; the forests of pine and oak; the chateaux and their famous vineyards; the Gironde estuary and its fishing cabins called “carrelets”; but it is also a country of water meadows, marshes, lagoons and saltmarsh.
We love to wander at random through these landscapes during the different seasons or quite simply because, on a particular day, we have been stimulated and captivated by the light. Here, between the estuary and the ocean, the quality of light is unique. In the morning, the banks of the estuary, the vineyards and the reedbeds are often flooded with light. Some evenings the horizon, ocean dunes and coastal forests are ablaze with light. Here, isolated from the modern world, distances are not vast, yet you keep moving on all the same because the landscape is so varied, and the atmosphere differs according to season, where you are , the time of day or the weather. It’s like a long journey and you keep going because nothing is fixed, nothing is the same, everything is unique at any given moment.
For those who know how to stand and stare, it is magical. There are some moments, even just a few seconds, when the light transcends the countryside, and you are taken by surprise and even startled. The landscape is certainly not grandiose, and remains modest in scale. However, in the water meadows near the estuary, you have the impression of enormous, wild places with straight roads that appear endless, immense flat fields, and saltmarsh where horses and herds of cattle graze.
The marshes are a truly magical landscape. In winter the trees and reeds are reflected in the water of the canals, in perfect symmetry, like complex arabesques, where thousands of extraordinary creatures hide. Shrouded in morning mist, the reedbeds and stretches of water become mysterious and poetic. Herons, egrets, lapwings, swans, wild ducks, redshanks , and greylag geese move about peacefully. As you look against the light you are fleetingly drawn into an ephemeral world which resembles a pen and ink sketch ……. just like a scene from China or Japan. That’s why people like to take photographs of the Médoc and share them not only with all the enthusiasts of this peninsular but also with those who do not yet know it but who wish to do so.
Check out the superb photos on the website SUR LES CHEMINS DU MEDOC and discover the byways of the Médoc for yourselves.
2018 Chemins du Médoc (Montalivet), translation: Richard and Margaret Beasley