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Bouliac (Municipality, Gironde, France)

Last modified: 2024-04-06 by olivier touzeau
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Flag of Bouliac - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 28 April 2022

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Presentation of Bouliac

Bouliac (3,773 inhabitants in 2021; 748 ha) is a commune in the Gironde department, located in Entre-deux-Mers, on the right bank of the Garonne, south-east of Bordeaux

The site was occupied during prehistoric times as evidenced by the presence of remains in the Hermitage cave located just below the church stairs. It is a human occupation dating back to the Paleolithic era between 16,000 and 10,000 years BC. Human presence at the very end of prehistory between 2,200 and 1,800 BC, then during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, has also been attested. But the history of Bouliac does not really seem to begin until the Gallo-Roman period. A necropolis located around the edge of the church under the monument to the dead attests to the presence of a population from the third century.
Between the 5th and 6th centuries, Bouliac was christianized. Bouliac was recognized by Gregory of Tours as a place of miracles: it was reported that inside the primitive church whose foundations are under the current one, were the tombs of two priests. When the clerics began to chant in alternating songs, the voices of the deceased priests came to mingle with the songs, thus attesting that there was indeed life after death.
In the 12th century, a new church was built. This is the current one dedicated to Saint Simeon the Stylite. It was at this time that a family of knights called "de Bouliac" living in the village appeared. The first known representative of this family which was to leave traces in the Entre-Deux-Mers until the 16th century was Amanieu de Bouliac.

From the 14th to the 16th century, illustrious feudatories owned estates and seigneuries in the village. Among them, Doat Amanieu de Bouglon received in 1330 the right by the king of England Edward III to build on the parish a fortified house in reward for the services rendered during the wars of Scotland, Flanders and Guyenne in which he participated. During the Hundred Years War, the village was relatively spared. If the population suffered from the great black plague of 1348 as everywhere else, its proximity to Bordeaux protected it from military operations. Nevertheless, the troubles were so great and the dangers so ubiquitous that Pey Berland, the future archbishop of Bordeaux, appointed parish priest of Bouliac in 1413, decided to fortify the village church so that it could serve as a refuge in the event of an emergency. In the 15th century, Marshal Poton de Xaintrailles, who was a companion of Joan of Arc, was given a number of estates in the village and the surrounding area as a reward for his victory against the English. The great religious orders of Bordeaux such as the Abbey of Sainte-Croix, the Chapter of Saint-André or the beneficiaries of the Church of Saint-Michel among others, were also powerful lords with a multitude of land and peasants. The bourgeois of Bordeaux began, from the 14th century and more from the 16th century and beyond by the wine trade, to become important landowners. The wine already present since the Romans then experienced a rapid extension of its exploitation without becoming the majority, ceding primacy to cereals. It was the merchants who from generation to generation were at the origin of the construction of the most beautiful houses of Bouliac during the following centuries. Disused during the French Revolution, reopened only in 1823, ther church needed major restoration; in 1859 began the necessary work, completed in 1877.

Until 1965, the population and activities of Bouliac were essentially rural. From 1965 to 1975, residential urbanization caused a strong demographic increase, and the population doubled.

Olivier Touzeau, 28 April 2022

Coat of arms of Bouliac

The coat of arms of Bouliac is blazoned:
Quaterly, first Gules a castle with a hipped roof supporting two chimneys, with two towers covered and ensigned, all Argent, door and windows Sable, supported by a river wavy Or issuant from the base, charged by a fish Argent too, a chief Azur charged with three isolated mounts of three hillocks Argent,;second Azure a column Argent charged with a crosslet Or on the pedestal, debruised by a lion passant likewise, a glory ray with four points Or too issuant in bend sinister from the sinister angle of the chief; 3. Azure a river boat sails and rigging Argent sailing on a rough river Or issuant from the base between two banks Argent too issuant from the flanks, the aforesaid river boat charged of barrels likewise, with a crescent Argent in the dexter canton; fourth Gules a chevron Argent between three bunches of grape Or, the two of the chief in the direction of the chevron.

Olivier Touzeau, 28 April 2022

The arms were designed in 1987.
The castle symbolize the old wine estates.
The fess wavy or represents river Garonne, nicknamed by Henri Berry "the wide Garonne with golden waters".
The chief features the three hills mentioned in 1873; the bunches of grapes represent wine production, which amounted in 1873 to 2,088 barrels produced in châteaux, 1 to 10 barrels produced by some 15 smallholders, and 5 to 15 barrels produced by another six ones.
The small fish was suggested by a sculpture found on a pillar left to the entrance of the church.
The ship is a traditional "gabare", used to ship wine barrels from the Hills' port. [source: Municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 29 April 2022

Flag of Bouliac

The flag of Bouliac is a banner of arms: photo (2012), photo (2018), photo (2021).

Olivier Touzeau, 28 April 2022