Whether you’re heading to France for the first time or the fifteen-hundredth time, there’s plenty for you to explore, especially if you’re partial to the odd glass of vino or two. In 2016, 10 million people visited France to enjoy its wines, so with that in mind we’ve put together a list of some of the best areas to explore on your next trip to France:
Alsace borders the Vosges Mountains and Germany, making it quite different when it comes to its character and architecture. However, one thing does remain the same – it’s one of France’s top producing wine regions so there’s plenty of wineries to visit. This area’s renowned for fresh, fruity and aromatic white Gewurtztraminer and Riesling wines. But it also produces France’s second most popular sparkling wine, Crémant d’Alsace.
It probably goes without saying that this is one of the most popular wine-producing areas thanks to its rich history. The wine regions are spread far and wide in this region, which means any major village you head to will be able to recommend a local vineyard for you to visit – and hopefully, taste and buy. And if you’re only just starting to get a taste for wine, visiting Bordeaux’s Le Cité du Vin is a great place to start. Known as the Guggenheim of Wine, this takes you on a journey through vineyards around the world, showing you a plethora of fun, interactive exhibits along the way. It tells the story of the history of wine while also including talks on how wine is made and interviews with wine growers and chefs. To finish? Some wine tasting, of course!
Centred around Beaune, Burgundy’s winemaking dates back over a thousand years, so it’s safe to say the region knows a thing or two about producing top-quality wines. Running for 100 miles, Burgundy’s responsible for producing 15 million cases of wine every year. These are mostly white but there are a few well-known red varieties, too.
The queen of all drinks, champagne may be an expensive commodity around the world but that’s definitely not the case if you visit smaller local vineyards. These quaint vineyards produce small quantities of the stuff and at very affordable prices. The two main areas are around Troyes (located in Aube) and Reims (which is found in Epernay). Should you head to Reims, one of the top places to experience champagne is Pommery, but there’s plenty of choice in Epernay as well – plus you can explore the street that’s home to a number of mansions built in the 1800s.
Ultimately, wherever you head to in France you’re sure to find some exemplary wine and guided tours that give you an insight into this age-old tradition that’s formed a huge part of France’s culture and history.