France is home to some of the most important and historic wine regions in the world. People plan entire road trips centered around exploring them in order to learn more about these iconic wine regions. Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, Languedoc, Alsace and the Loire Valley are just a few of the most-recognized wine producing areas in France. Even if you aren’t a serious wine aficionado, there is still plenty to see and do in France’s most important wine regions.
As its name suggests, Champagne-Ardenne is famous for world-renown Champagnes. Aside from admiring the beautiful scenery and historic Champagne houses as you drive through the Champagne trail, there are some other not-to-miss attractions. Reims Cathedral is where every French King was crowned, and it features beautiful stained-glass windows designed by Marc Chagall, which were added in the 1970s. Together with the Abbey of Saint Remi, they are a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bordeaux is home to some of the world’s most decorated vineyards. Here you’ll find the First Growth Bordeaux wines that can cost more than any other wines around the globe. It’s no surprise that if France was going to open a “theme park” devoted to wine, it would be in Bordeaux. La Cité du Vin is a cultural center devoted to all things wine. Spend time walking through Bordeaux’s historical center, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The banks of the Garonne River have undergone a massive transformation from the time when it was suffering from the aftermath of dead port activity. Now you’ll find cool bars and cafes, shops, and more.
The Languedoc-Roussillon is typically just called the Languedoc, and this historical region extends from Provence to the border of Spain and the Pyrenees. It’s now part of the Occitanie region after merging with the nearby Midi-Pyrenees. There are seaside resorts for the summer and noted ski areas for the winter. The Via Domitia route is lined with ancient Roman structures for you to explore.
Burgundy, or Bourgogne, is famous for its beautiful wines made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wine producing area here is pretty massive, encompassing a long stretch of land, almost 300 km. It’s broken into five large vineyard regions:
Cities like Dijon and Beaune are historic and filled with some of the best French cuisine around. Don’t miss the beautiful historic architecture nor all the galleries, antique shops, boutiques, and markets.
Alsace is a unique region, given its northeastern location as it sits on the Rhine River bordering Germany and Switzerland. Because it alternated between German and French control, its wine styles are much like the iconic German white wines like Riesling. Strasbourg is an ideal stop in the Alsace, and it too is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you can try the Alsatian style wines while checking out the Gothic Cathedral, Notre Dame de Strasbourg, and wander along the Ill River’s Grand Île island. Also, visit Colmar, the Alsatian wine capital. It’s well-known for its traditional, half-timbered homes and various Gothic architecture buildings and get there by driving the picturesque Alsatian Wine Route.
If you’ve dreamt about visiting a French Chateau, plan to spend some time driving through the Loire Valley. It is here you’ll find iconic castles like Chenonceau and Chambord. The region was a favorite of French Kings, and it’s no surprise the whole Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site. When it comes to Loire Valley’s wines, the main grapes grown here include Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne, and Cabernet Franc.
Remember that your Roam Right travel insurance policy does not cover any losses that result from drinking and driving. Always use a designed driver or limit your wine-tasting to tasting rooms you can visit on foot.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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