There's nothing like a weekend spent discovering or perfecting your knowledge of winemaking and it has to be said that France is known worldwide as a superior land when it comes to wine production. Therefore, it would be a shame not to make the most of such a treasure right on your doorstep.
In Burgundy, the renowned wine route crosses the 38 wine villages of the Côtes de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune on the 60km trip between Dijon and Santenay. On the first section of this wine trail, there are no less than 24 renowned wine-producing villages (including Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot and Romanée-Conti) out of a total of 33 in Burgundy, the rest of which you will encounter further along the route. After you pass Corgoloin, you will see where some of the greatest white wines in the world are produced, in this famous land of the Chardonnay grape. Here, vineyard giants such as Montrachet or Corton Charlemagne intermingle with typical oenological architecture and prestigious sites like the Pressoirs des Ducs de Burgundy, dating from the 14th century.
In Bordelais, yet another region celebrated worldwide for its winemaking capabilities, four main wine routes have emerged for tourists in the heart of Aquitaine, but whichever trip you choose to take, all routes start in Bergerac itself with the Bergerac House of Wines. This residence from the 17th century triples up as a wine tourism office, a wine cellar, and home to the permanent exhibition 'Wine is Travel'. On such high quality trips, you will discover 140 vineyards and wines such as Monbazillac, Pécharmont, Montravel and Saussignac. This route takes you through the 120,000 hectares of vines and 8,000 producers that comprise the oldest vineyard in the world - the Girondin - which produces prestigious wines such as Margaux, Saint-Esthèphe, Pommerol, Saint-Emilion, Loupiac and Sauternes, and is the birthplace of some of the most famous wineries such as - Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Petrus. Situated further to the south, the third route covers several dozen kilometres between le gave de Pau and le gave d'Oléron amongst the Béarn hillsides. Here you will find ancient secrets about how the 'King of wines' - the Jurançon - was made.
Finally, its goes without saying that you should also follow the wine trail in the region of Alsace if possible. For 50 years, this route which runs from north to south and covers 70km has contributed to the celebrity status of the region's wines. Here you will meet the 3 AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée - a high quality certification for French agricultural products), AOC Alsace, AOC Alsace Grands Crus, AOC Crémant d'Alsace, and wines such as Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris.A weekend following in the footsteps of the impressionists A weekend for the kids