A colleague and aviation enthusiast recently suggested I take flight with him in a light aircraft, with the primary objective of taking aerial photographs of the new facility being built by our company, Thales, in Mérignac. This was obviously an offer I couldn't refuse!
I met up with him early one sunny Saturday morning at the premises of the CAPAM flying club by the runway at Bordeaux-Mérignac airport, and together we boarded a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, finding a slot to take off in between the departures and arrivals of various airliners. Once we'd taken a few pictures of the Thales site, we headed on over to the Atlantic coast, flying from Le Porge to Le Verdon, and then down the Gironde Estuary past Pauillac, Blaye and Margaux. My camera remained at the ready and here are some of the photos that I took!
|Some of the sea-front buildings in Lacanau-Océan.|
|WW2 Atlantikwall bunkers edging ever closer to the ocean waters (or is it the other way round?).|
|Soulac-sur-Mer, its distinctive red roofs and, in the foreground, the doomed (and now empty) Le Signal residential block.|
|Phare du Cordouan, sometimes referred to as the "Versailles of the Seas".|
|Another view of the incredible Cordouan light-house.|
|Le Verdon, the point where the Gironde Estuary meets the Atlantic ocean. Cordouan lighthouse can just be made out in the background (top right).|
|Le Phare de Richard, one of the Médoc's prettiest lighthouses, in Jau-Dignac-et-Loirac.|
|Bird's eye view of a carrelet fishing hut!|
|Parts of an Airbus aircraft that have been ferried into Pauillac ahead of being transferred onto a barge that will sail down the Estuary and the Garonne as far as Langon, before being sent on their way by road to the final assembly lines in Toulouse.|
|The winegrowing village of Bages, near Pauillac. In the foreground is Château Lynch-Bages.|
|The rooftops of Blaye.|
|The Sébastien-Vauban car and passenger ferry, which connects Blaye and Lamarque.|
|One of the grand entrances to Blaye's 17th-century citadel.|
|The Blaye citadel in full.|
|The fortress on Île Pâté which formed another part of the "Verrou de l'Estuaire" conceived by Marquis de Vauban in the latter years of the 17th century.|
|Fort Médoc, on the left bank of the Estuary in Cussac-Fort-Médoc.|
|Downtown Lamarque, including Saint-Seurin church and its "dôme panoramique".|
|The world-famous Château Margaux, its neighbour Saint-Michel church, and the village of Margaux itself in the background.|
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- And big, big thanks to my colleague Norbert for the memorable flight!