The Ferries and Crossings of the Estuary of Gironde
There are two connections by ferries, allowing a combination of travel and tourism on the estuary of the Gironde.
For the inhabitants and for the tourists who can still recall them, the ferries of the island of Oléron and the island of Ré are now just memories.
An impressive series of bridges was built to replace the ferries that had become congested with long queues during the summer periods. The bridge to l’île d’Oléron was opened in 1966, the bridge of the Seudre in 1972, the bridge to l’île de Ré in 1988, the bridge of Rochefort sur la Charente in 1991.
The crossing Royan - Le Verdon
For several years and until the 2001 tourist season , three ferries made the crossing regularly, departing approximately every thirty minutes. Nevertheless, the weekends were particularly busy and it was better to avoid peak periods during the high season, for example, the beginning and end of the French school holidays.
On April 20th, 2002, a new vessel made its first commercial crossing.
This new ferry (photo at the top of this page), of modern design, is built in the "amphidrome" style, which means that it is constructed symmetrically with an identical bow and stern.
Vehicles cross in it and are able to disembark from either end of the boat.
The ferry will not need to reverse, which saves time.
The crossing Royan-Le Verdon now lasts 15 to 20 minutes instead of 35 minutes as previously. The number of crossings per day can be appreciably increased.
This new boat called " La Gironde ", is 71 metres long and can take 600 passengers and 150 cars.
"L'Estuaire" is the second ferry of the same type as the "Gironde".
The ferry, pleasure of the crossing and time saving
If you don't wish to take the ferry to cross to Soulac-sur-Mer and the left bank of the Gironde with your car, by coming from the North on the A10 autoroute, you've two options ; either by Bordeaux and the bridge of Aquitaine, or by the ferry Blaye-Lamarque.
For comparison of the road distance from the exit Saintes, the A10 autoroute, and Soulac-sur-Mer, we give the following three options :
- by the ferry Royan – Le Verdon: 50 km
- by the bridge of Aquitaine and the bypass of Bordeaux: 210 km
- by Blaye and the ferry Blaye-Lamarque: 130 km (tourist option).
The crossing Blaye - Lamarque
The crossing between Blaye, on the right bank of the Gironde and Lamarque in the Médoc vineyard by the Blaye-Lamarque ferry takes about twenty minutes.