The Medoc, or in French, Médoc, is the area also known, in wine circles, as the left bank. It is north of Bordeaux and has the atlantic on the west side and the Gironde to the east side. The coastal area is very popular as a place for beach holidays, especially with the French. It is also popular with surfers as the waves on this coast can be dramatic. This page is really concerned with the medoc as a wine area. However serious wine making in the medoc, unlike Saint Emilion and Graves, is comparatively recent. The lands of the medoc had problems of drainage and moving of enormous sand dunes. A first attempt at draining the marsh lands was made with the help of Dutch and Flemish engineers at the beginning of the 17th century. Later attempts were made in the 18th century and in 1857 a law was passed causing pine forests to be planted in order to help drain and fix the land. From an historical perspective the Medoc is part of Aquitaine and therefore was involved in the wars between France and England but to a lesser degree than the areas south of Bordeaux. For that reason there are few castles built for defenses in the middle ages but conversely there are many chateaux built later when wealth was created from the wine trade.The first golden age of wine production was in the 18th century and in 1855 the first, and last, classification of medoc wines was made. There are so many contrasts with the 'right bank' which includes Saint Emilion. Not just in history and therefore architecture, be it houses or chateaux, the percentage of different grape varieties used but also in the clasification of wines. In Saint Emilion there is the 'pleasure' of re-classifing the producers every ten years.Many of the world famous chateaux can be seen on the D2, called the Route des Vins. Following this route north from the rocade, (ring road), around Bordeaux, you will see so many fantastic chateaux, that you will perhaps begin to suffer from a surfeit of chateaux! There you will see the prices charged for wine transformed into beautiful chateaux impeccabaly maintained. We know the costs of trying to keep our farm house 'up together', so the costs must be vast. The actual villages are not so interesting although we always suggest a stop at Margaux, Pauillac and Bages. Bages has been restored by the owners of Lynch Bages and they have made a decent job of it.Normally Pauillac is a good stop with a selection of cafes and restaurants along the old harbour front, now for pleasure boats. However for 2014 it is a must avoid, since they are having a major re-development in this area which looks to continue for ever and ever.As to the names of the chateaux shown left, just a short drive from Beau Séjour will reveal all!