Everyone has heard of French wine, particularly the reds of Bordeaux and Burgundy and the whites of the Loire Valley, but few people really know "wine France". Just as there are wines for every occasion - champagne for a celebration, fortified Pineau des Charentes for an apéritif, smooth Armagnac to end a meal - so France's 17 wine regions, from Alsace to Corsica, all have something different to offer.
It isn't hard to find your way round the wine regions: many have signposted trails through the most interesting villages. A good starting point is the Route des Vins de Bergerac, which has four itineraries through wine villages, all starting and ending in the town of Bergerac.
Wine makers in every region are happy to receive visitors and talk about their art, usually illustrated by a glass or two of a recent vintage. But if you want an opportunity to learn about wine more formally, then sign up for a short course, such as the one at the University of Wine in Suze-la-Rousse. This is a 12th century château in the Rhône Valley that runs weekend sessions for wine enthusiasts.
And, since no one can - or should - spend all day drinking, there are plenty of other attractions, too. Plan your trip to combine a couple of activities: art and wine, golf and wine, hiking and wine, etc. Or you can join in one of the many celebrations that always seem to be taking place in France's wine regions, such as the arrival of delicious beaujolais nouveau every November. Santé!
FRENCH TOURIST AND WINE INFORMATION
Cognac and Pineau des Charentes
Vallée du Rhône
WIN A WEEKEND BREAK IN YOUR FAVOURITE FRENCH CITY
For your chance to win a weekend break in Amiens, Le Havre, Marseilles, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Nantes, Rouen or Toulouse, plus first class travel with Rail Europe or club class tickets on an LD Lines’ ferry, click here.Reuse content