Julien Lemel

Tourist Train - Trans­ports He­brard (Blaye)

Bordeaux Wine Trip - - Bordeaux Wine Routes Portrait -

How did you be­come the train driver for the Blaye tourist train? I am, first and fore­most, a coach driver for the busi­ness that my great-grand­fa­ther set up 90 years ago! When my fa­ther bought the Blaye tourist train, he put me in charge of it. It’s a very sin­gu­lar ve­hi­cle; it’s much more fun to drive then the buses that our em­ploy­ees use to take chil­dren to school dur­ing the rest of the year. Four years af­ter tak­ing con­trol of this busi­ness, we’ve in­vested in more mod­ern equip­ment to make our pas­sen­gers more com­fort­able, for ex­am­ple, we now of­fer a com­men­tary in English.

What route does the train take?

The train leaves from the foot of the Blaye citadel- a UNESCO World Her­itage Site- and heads to Plas­sac. In this vil­lage, vis­i­tors can par­tic­u­larly ad­mire the Gallo- Ro­man vil­las. Af­ter pass­ing through the vines, where our pas­sen­gers are told about the Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux ap­pel­la­tion- we ar­rive back in Blaye and cross the citadel. The route fin­ishes along a path which leads to the ves­tiges of the Saint- Ro­main basil­ica, the rest­ing place of the Merovin­gian kings of Aquitaine.

You also of­fer trips that in­clude tours of wine­mak­ing es­tates…

Yes, on Thurs­days, late in the af­ter­noon, we take pas­sen­gers on a trip that in­cludes Château Frédignac, where they visit the cel­lars and taste some of the wine. Château Mar­quis de Vauban has of­fers that in­clude a trip on the tourist train too. We cater for groups as well; they can book a trip at the chateaux.

At the wheel of Blaye’s lit­tle tourist train, Julien Lemel leads tours of the citadel of Vauban as well as its vine­yards, show­ing pas­sen­gers the many riches of Blaye’s her­itage.

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