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Pauillac (Municipality, Gironde, France)

Last modified: 2024-04-06 by olivier touzeau
Keywords: gironde | pauillac |
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Flag of Pauillac - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 26 April 2022

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Presentation of Pauillac

Pauillac (5,098 inhabitants in 2021; 2,274 ha) is a municipality in the Gironde department, mid-way between Bordeaux and the Pointe de Grave, along the Gironde estuary. The town is situated on the famous "Route des châteaux" which runs through the centre of the prestigious wine appellations. It stretches from Blanquefort in the South (close to Bordeaux) to the northern tip of the Médoc.

Pauillac is one of the six designations in the Médoc producing region, mostly famous for red wines: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac, Moulis, Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe.
In 1855, during the preparation of the Paris World Fair, Emperor Napoleon III asked the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bordeaux to establish a list of "grands crus" (great vineyards). Three out of the five "premiers crus" (first vineyards), Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour and Château Mouton-Rothschild, are located in Pauillac, as well as the "second cru" (second vineyard) Château Pichon-Baron, the "quatrième crus" (fourth vineyards) Château Duhart-Milon and the "cinquièmes crus" (fifth vineyards) Château Pontet-Canet, Château Batailley, Château Haut-Batailley, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Château Lynch-Bages, Château Lynch-Moussas, Château d'Armailhac, Château Haut-Bages-Libéral, Château Pédesclaux, Château Clerc Milon and Château Croizet-Bages.
In 1932, the wine traders of Bordeaux established under the aegis of the Chamber of Commerce of Bordeaux and the Chamber of Agriculture of Gironde the list of "crus bourgeois" produced under the Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac, Moulis, Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe designations. Starting in 2010, the official list is updated every year following a brand new procedure. The list covers between 240 and 260 wine estates, often family businesses, representing 40% of the whole Médoc production.
The "crus artisans" have been produced in Médoc for more than 150 years by smallholders, mostly craftsmen ("artisans"), such as blacksmiths, wheelwrights or coopers. Re-established in 1989, the designation gained recognition by the European Union in 1994. Starting in 2017, the list (36 entries in 2017) is updated every five years. [source: Vins de Bordeaux official website].

Human occupation in Pauillac dates back to prehistoric times, but it was in the 18th century, with the expansion of the trade in vineyards and fishing, that the town took on the face we know today.
In 1777, Lafayette, French aristocrat and military officer, arrived in Bordeaux and set sail from Pauillac to America. There, his role was decisive in the American War of Independence. To commemorate his legacy, a bronze stele representing his ship La Victoire is erected on the edge of the marina on the Plaza La Fayette. On the stele can be read in French: "From here on March 25, 1777, embarked Marie Joseph Paul Yves Gilbert Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, with the hope of joining the Americas."

Thanks to its location on the banks of the Gironde, in the 19th and 20th centuries, heavy industries settled in Pauillac (blast furnaces, Jupiter oil company, etc.). Pauillac was the starting point for the great transatlantic liners bound for South America. In 1872, one of the first sailing clubs in France, still active today, was created in Pauillac, followed by the International UCPA sailing school. Voiles de Pauillac, founded in 1872, merged on 18 January 1936 with Cercle Nautique de Pauillac, founded in 1886, to form Voile et Cercle Nautique de Pauillac.

In December 1917, the United States Navy established a naval air station to operate seaplanes during World War I. The base closed shortly after the Armistice at Compiègne.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache , 26 April 2022

Flag of Pauillac

The flag, observed in 2021, is white with the arms, including a golden crown, golden cornucopiae as supporters and a blue ribbon with the name of the commune: photo, photo.

The arms of Pauillac are blazoned: Gules a sailship with three masts flagged Argent sailing on a sea Azure.

Olivier Touzeau, 26 April 2022