There are just some countries in Europe that you have to visit for their wines regions and France is definitely one of them (granted, “need” might be a tad strong 😄). Each of these 9 wine regions in France is so famous not just for their delicious French wines but also for their spectacular views, beautiful villages and delicious foods that you’ll soon find several reasons to want to holiday here.
Over the last few years, we’ve had the pleasure of visiting several wine regions in France, initially unintentionally (we just happened to end up in a wine region we hadn’t put much thought into) and eventually actively booking holidays just for the French wine.
The best part about the many wine regions in France is that they’re surprisingly quite well-spread out so no matter general area in of France you’re most interested in going on holidays in (mountain, beaches, forests – you name it), you’re bound to find yourself not too far from one of the wine regions.
With that in mind, let’s get your French wine holiday started with the 9 wine regions you have to visit in France.
I was gonna start with a different wine region but I couldn’t quite bring myself to start with any other than perhaps the most famous of them all – the Champagne region.
I’m a huge fan of champagne – even when I’m not really sure I like it, I love it! 😄I think it’s in large part because the entire region is so incredibly fussy about their wines that you know even the average wines from here can sometimes be much better than the best one from other places.
Champagne is close to Paris – a fact which has been long-linked to the success of the wine and one which means that a visit to the Champagne wine region is perfect to be tagged on to a visit to France. The towns you would be looking for would be Reims or Epernay when you book that train ticket (or if you drive there).
Now, the important thing to remember when you visit Champagne is that there’s so much to it than just the famous brands you know. There are so many amazing champagne houses that you would never even get or see back at home so be very open-minded when you visit and try out some of the smaller champagne houses as well as the larger, more popular names – you can have an amazing time regardless of how big or small the houses are.
Random sidebar: Even though champagne is a white wine – it’s actually made from 2 red grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) and one white grape (Chardonnay).
2.) Loire Valley
This is one of those places you’d fall in love with even if there wasn’t a drop of wine to be drunk here – it’s that gorgeous!
With a wine history dating over thousands of years old, Loire Valley is the perfect place to visit for lovers of white wines (we’re talking Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blac, Sancerres, Muscadets…etc). It’s also a particular favourite wine region to visit in France if you’re really into your French Chateaux – there are so many amazing ones here.
When you visit, you’ll want to head over to the town of Tours, though being in nearby Orleans is also a pretty fantastic (and rather beautiful) option too!
Champagne might be the most commercially famous wine region in France but when it comes to amongst wine lovers and connoisseurs, Bordeaux almost trumps the Champagne wine region. Bordeaux is one French wine region we recently got to fall in love with properly and is one you don’t have to visit just in the summer!
There are so many amazing experiences to be had here all year round and the city of Bordeaux, which is generally where you’d look to be located (though you don’t have to be smack in the centre – a Chateau 30 minutes away would also do quite nicely) is one French city you definitely have to visit.
Bordeaux might be known for its red wines but it is also (surprisingly to most – myself included), home to many sweet white wines too! If you’re stuck on wine regions to visit in France (or if it’s your first wine trip), Bordeaux is definitely one that should be at the top of your list.
No matter what kind of wine you’re into, you’ll do pretty well in Burgundy! The region is particularly well known for the red (made from Pinot Noir grapes) and whites (made from Chardonnay) so this French wine region is a definite crowd pleaser – perfect for when you’re organising a group holiday.
Burgundy is actually quite a large wine region, which brings me to my next wine ‘region’…
Although this is technically part of Burgundy, Beaujolais is sub-region where the wines are distinct enough (thanks to the climate and terrain) to have it’s own almost separate identity. The wine region is known for its light red wines – they’re usually quite young wines and don’t keep for too long.
You’re more likely to be sorely disappointed if you tried to drink a really old vintage from this region. This is one of those regions you truly have to enjoy in the moment and that’s fine by me! 😆 Location-wise, it’s close to Lyon 35-minute train ride or thereabouts) so a trip to Beaujolais fits nicely with a trip to the city.
If I’m being totally honest, though, Beaujolais is not particularly known for having the highest quality of the wine but seeing as you’re drinking young wine that’s a lot lighter and has less body/structure – you’ll do pretty well on a friends holiday here.
Check out some absolutely amazing French Chateaux to stay in here.
Check out some beautiful places to visit on a road trip through France here.
The weather and beautiful countryside here make Provence the perfect spot for summer holidays. The wine is just an amazing added bonus to being in such a beautiful part of France!
The wines you’d typically get here are light Rosés. Rosé is actually made from red grapes but I love seeing the look on the wine maker’s faces when I suggest mixing white wine with red wines to get rosé 😄 (from the expression on their face, you’d think I’d just suggested kicking a puppy or something equally dreadful.
Home to stunning Lavender fields, stretching for as far as your eye can see, Provence is one of those wine regions where you essentially just look for a chateau anywhere and head there.
It’s not particularly close to any popular, major cities but there are however so many beautiful little villages and towns here that you’ll be spoilt for choice when you do decide to visit.
(*Being close to a city should really never be a reason to choose a wine region anyway – it just helps to know the major cities around it when you’re looking to book flights or just in case you were already going to be in the city and wanted to pop into a wine region for a day or two).
7.) Côtes Du Rhône
Split into two – Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône, this wine region, known for its Rhône wines is another one that’s bound to appeal to a multitude of palates. For starters, its know for both red and white wines and has quite a varying climate from North to South so you know, it kinda doesn’t really matter if you like it hot or a bit cooler – there’s a spot for you somewhere here.
The most popular place to visit here is in the Southern wine region and it’s centred around the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – ergo the name of the wines from this part of the Côtes Du Rhone (fun fact – there’s more wine produced in this one part of the Southern Rhône region than in all of the Northern Rhône region combined).
Côtes du Rhône tends to typically be associated with red wines (that’s what we usually find in stores and restaurants), though the region as a whole is home to white wines and indeed, rosé wines too!
France’s Languedoc-Roussillon wine region is one we recently had the joy of exploring with friends. It’s is the largest wine region in France and so when it comes to choices of where to stay, you’ll find you have a veritable selection here.
We visited with friends and ended up renting a chateau that had more rooms that we needed (#humblebrag – haha! 😄). For the vineyard, we booked a tour with Olivia from Tresor Languedoc who took us over to Domaine Saint Martin, where we spent a few hours wine tasting, touring and generally making the most of the French sunshine before heading back to Carcassonne for a proper jaunt around the medieval city.
Funnily enough, at a dinner party in London with friends a couple of months after, some friends of ours who didn’t go to Carcassonne with us actually ended bringing a couple of with them to the party, which they’d been recommended by some wine expert to get from Waitrose! (I then refused to shut up about how we’d visited the vineyard in France and how I knew all about the wines and the winemaker… bla bla bla… Yes, I’m that person at a dinner party 😄).
(*I’ll put up even more photos and details on Carcassonne and Languedoc as soon as possible! 😁)
9.) The South West Region
This region is perhaps the least ‘sexiest‘ when it comes to the name but it’s important to note that this isn’t really an official name, it’s more of a name born of a description for the regions outside of Bordeaux (including places like Bergerac, part of the Dordogne, Cahors and many more). The wines from the region fairly similar, hence why they’re grouped together and are akin to the wines from Bordeaux.
The best part about visiting this region is that these regions are filled with so many amazing gems (including many beautiful chateaux and delicious Michelin-Star restaurants) which can sometimes end up overlooked by visitors distracted by nearby Bordeaux – which means there’s a treasure trove of absolutely stunning villages, amazing vineyards and fantastic food just waiting to be discovered here.