Enjoying the wine regions of France
Wine is one of France's biggest exports, and what better way to enjoy a spot of French wine than on a tour of the wine regions of France. Explore French wine regions and discover beautiful vineyards.
Take a look at our guide to the wine regions of France. We've also included a range of other activities you could enjoy during your holiday in France.
Wine produced in Burgundy is famous the world over. Burgundy's vineyards cover an area of 25,000 hectares, and there are many opportunities to enjoy wine tours and open cellars. Wine tours can be accompanied by cheese tasting, delicious meals and even golf! Burgundy boasts 19 good quality golf courses.
There are two annual festivals of note in Burgundy. The Beaune Wine Auction takes place on the third weekend in November - an old tradition dating back to 1859. The town of Beaune holds an open house wine tasting session. The wine auction itself takes place in the Hospice or Hotel Dieu, and some of the proceeds go to the local hospital.
In January, the Festival of St Vincent is a colourful affair, when a village in Burgundy is decorated with hundreds of paper flowers. Winter appears to be turned into summer by the colourful paper blooms. Each year, a different village in Burgundy gets the summery makeover.
There's nothing better than cracking open a bottle of champagne for a celebrating a special occasion. Hundreds of millions of bottles of champagne are sold every year. Celebrate the wine regions of France with a trip to Champagne, the birthplace of the famous bubbly.
Champagne is around 100km from Paris in the north east of France. In the region, champagne is served at meal times, and it's often incorporated into the local cuisine.
Champagne is bursting with open air markets to explore, all selling first class local produce including cheese, bread, olives and meat.
There are many wine cellars to explore in Champagne, but the Champagne Pommery in Reims offers something a little different. In addition to rows and rows of old bottles of champagne, the Pommery has some unusual art for visitors to enjoy.
With a natural, untamed river at its heart, the Loire Valley is a nature lovers' paradise. A rich array of bird and plant life lines the banks of the Loire and the valley has been put on the UNESCO World Heritage List to help preserve its beauty. There are many ways to enjoy the Loire Valley, whether you want to hire a bike, boat or view the region from the sky in a hot air balloon. It's easy to see why the Loire Valley is often called the Garden of France.
The Loire Valley is rich in architectural wonders- there are an impressive 19 castles to explore in the region. The Chàteau de Sully-sur-Loire and the Chàteau de Chaumont look as though they've leapt from the pages of a fairytale.
Just like other French wine regions, the Loire Valley produces wines that are extra special. And the vineyards have a quirky character about them that makes them worth visiting. Dotted amongst some vineyards, there are little brick buildings that once acted as shelters for the farmers. And one vineyard has adopted a unique farming technique by propping up grey stone walls in neat lines to allow the vines to grow alongside them.
Perhaps one of the most famous wine regions in the world, Bordeaux is the perfect destination for wine connoisseurs. Wine has been produced in Bordeaux since the 8th century. In spite of being slightly smaller than other wine regions in France, Bordeaux has over 100,000 hectares of vineyards.
Located in the west of France, the city of Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great place to go sightseeing. Rich architecture rises up from every corner and many wine tours depart from the city. The Quartier Saint-Eloi is perhaps the most picturesque part of the city, where the Great Bell hangs from an impressive gothic tower.
The Bordeaux wine region is split into five main areas- Médoc, Margaux, Saint-Émilion, Sauternes and Grave, and Entre-Deux-Mers and Blayais. You'll be spoilt for choice for great vineyards. Many of them are very picturesque and some have their very own castle overlooking the vineyard.
Provence produces excellent rosé wines. In fact half of all rosé wines produced in the French wine regions comes from Provence. Red wine is also a popular.
Van Gogh and Cezanne visited this area of France frequently to capture the beauty of Provence in their paintings. And it's not surprising. During certain times of the year, the region is blanketed with colourful red poppy fields and purple lavender.
Provence is a great place to enjoy hiking, particularly in the Gorges du Verdon- Europe's deepest canyon. It's possible to hike up the canyon, which takes you through a long tunnel. A torch is advisable!
There are literally thousands of vineyards to choose from in Provence. By visiting a few of them, you can get a great overview of what the region has to offer.