2 Weeks French Wine Regions Tour Itinerary
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Celebrate French wine culture by visiting the most important wine regions in the country with your private guide on our 14-day wine region tour across France!
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French Wine Region Tour Description
Day 1: Paris to Reims
This morning we head to Reims, home of the famous champagne region of France. Also, don’t forget it is pronounced Rinse, this city is probably the most mispronounced city in France.
Your driver guide will be waiting in the hotel reception to take you on the short 100-mile journey to Reims, the City of Kings.
Reims is not just famous for champagne, but it is also known as the City of Kings as it was in the cathedral in Reims that Kings of France were crowned from 816 until 1825 – an impressive 33 Kings. In more recent years Reims was the city where the Commander in Chief of the German Army signed the surrender to WWII.
The city was 80% destroyed in World War I and actually was the most damaged city across the whole of France during this period.
A visit to Reims would not be complete without a champagne tasting. Enjoy a private cellar tour in one of the city’s most famous champagne houses with their head vintner who will explain why this small area in France is the only place in the world where champagne can be produced.
Day 2: Epernay
The first champagne house ever created, Ruinart, was in Epernay and today your tour will take to for a visit to one of the prestigious champagnes houses in the champagne region where you will be given a private to of the vineyard by the head vintner along with lunch in the gardens of the wine estate.
In the afternoon take a hot air balloon flight from the city center to have a bird’s eye view of the champagne vineyards as well as the stunning Church of Our Lady (Eglise de Notre-Dame).
Day 3: Champagne to Lorraine
Lorraine was once one of the biggest wine-producing regions of France until the start of the 20th Century when the dreaded phylloxera struck, the First World War, and industrialization all of which diminished the size of this one great wine-producing area.
However, over the last 50 years, local Lorraine winemakers have made huge progress probably spurred on by Hope-de-Toul getting AOC status in 1998.
We start our tour of the Lorraine vineyards with a trip to one of the new wineries that specialize in the production of Côtes de Toul. The Gris de Toul is recognizable by its shimmering salmon pink color. It goes well with the local dish (quiche lorraine, potée lorraine, tourte lorraine, pâté lorrain).
Your tour will include a walk around the stunning wine estate plus lunch and a special pairing menu.
Day 4: Champagne to Alsace
The Alsace wine route is over 170 KM and starts in Northern Alsace in Strasbourg, runs through over 100 pretty villages, and ends in Colmar in Southern Alsace. It is considered to be the most beautiful wine route in France and it is easy to understand why as you travel through the picturesque countryside brimming with Medieval villages and chateaux.
Alsatian wines are almost all white (around 90 percent of the harvest) and some 150 million bottles are produced a year and the highest production of organic wines is made in France.
Wines from Alsace are rarely featured in prestigious wine guides, but many experts believe that the Alsace wines are as good as their better-known rivals such as Chablis and Burgundy.
Unlike the rest of French wines, those in Alsace are called by the name of the grape, not by the region they’re produced in.
Today you will visit the Strasbourg wine region that lies just outside the city. Grapes grow alongside orchards, which give many Alsace wines their characteristic fruity flavor. We spend the day touring the region’s most prestigious estates with a private tour and lunch plus tastings.
In the afternoon your driver guide will take you on a tour of Petite France – a section of Strasbourg famous for its brightly colored houses and narrow cobbled streets. Sample some of the local delicacies such as Chou croute aux viandes or flammkuchen in one of the bustling littles bistros paired with delicious Gewürztraminer or Pinot Gris.
Spend time watching people in one of the beautiful squares in the city center such as Place Gutenberg sipping on a delicious glass of chilled Cremant d’Alsace, the most popular Cremant produced in France.
Day 5: Alsace Wine Route - Colmar
Today we go to the heart of the wine region and the capital of Alsace wine – Colmar. Colmar has been consistently nominated and recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in the whole of France and is often referred to as the Fairy-tale town of France.
Rows of prettily colored houses line the banks of the town’s canals. Meander through the uniquely preserved cobbled streets. Colmar was the last town to be liberated by the French after WWII and so there is even today still a very strong German influence in the town. Visit the Quai des Poissonniers which is nicknamed petit Venice for truly picture-perfect colored half-timbered houses with beautiful flower boxes. The local residents are very proud of their houses and so every house is maintained to pristine standards.
Riesling is the king of the vines in Alsace. Unlike the German variety that produces mostly sweet wine, Riesling grapes go dry in Alsace. They produce full-bodied wines with a fruity aftertaste (mostly peaches and apricots) but the soil makes them acidic too. Also, unlike their German counterparts, Alsace Rieslings need to age.
In the afternoon your guide will take you on a private wine tasting at one of the local award-winning wineries, where you can taste some of Alsace’s famous wines such as Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Silvaner to name a few.
Day 6: Transfer to Burgundy via Montbeliard
Today we travel to Burgundy via Montbeliard, a beautiful French city with imposing architecture and majestic buildings. The city has a very German flavor to it and in fact, it was only in 1793 that the city was finally under French rule.
Before then this city was home to over 8 centuries of the various Dukes of Wurttemberg and the city’s rather palatial chateau was their home. Your driver guide will take you on a private tour of the chateau where you can learn about the Franco-German history of the city and the incredible story of Heinrich Schickhardt, the famous architect also known as the “Swabian Leonardo da Vinci”.
In the early 1600s, Montbeliard’s population mushroomed with the arrival of Huguenot refugees and so Schickhardt was commissioned to create a new town plan and many construction projects with an Italian Renaissance flavor.
In the afternoon we head to the famous Parc puy la Rose to see the incredible Fontaine de Galilée – a granite sphere weighing 1500 Kg that can be moved by even a child as the sphere rests on a layer of water providing a cushion against resistance.
Arrive in Chablis early in the evening where your chauffeur will take you to one of the wine estates for a decadent tasting menu (12 courses) each course being paired with a different wine.
Day 7: Burgundy
This morning your driver will be waiting for you in reception ready to start your 2 days of touring in Burgundy, located in the east-central part of France, and home to some of the world’s best-known wines. This wine region has 5 key growing areas: Chablis, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise, Côte des Nuits and Macconais and has been a wine-producing region since 854 when local monks first arrived in the region.
Famous for lean, unoaked Chardonnay, Chablis is the growing region located furthest north and is geographically set apart from the rest of Burgundy. The dominant soil here is called “Kimmeridgian” limestone, just like in Champagne. Its white, chalky texture is great at retaining and reflecting the warmth of the sun, sorely needed this far north, which also helps the grapes ripen.
Today we visit a Grand Cru winery where you will have a tour of the vines with the vigneron (vintner) before returning to the winery for a private cellar tour followed by tastings and formal lunch.
In the afternoon explore the pretty town of Chablis with beautiful Medieval half-timbered houses and charming wine shops and restaurants – at the end of the afternoon your chauffeur will take you to Beaune where you will be based for the next 2 nights.
Day 8: Burgundy
Today we start with a drive to Meursault, mainly renowned for its white wines but it also produces reds. The grape variety for whites is Chardonnay, while the reds are produced from Pinot Noir. This tiny appellation is 2 KM square and produces undoubtedly some of the world’s best wine. We start the day with a private tasting and a tour of the chateau where this wine is named after. This is unusual for the region, unlike in Bordeaux, there are much fewer wine châteaux.
Our visit today includes a private tour of the castle and grounds with the head sommelier who will teach us why this tiny region of France is home to such a vast array of special wines. Your tastings will include wines featured at 3* Michelin restaurants and your sommelier can arrange a shipment of bottles so that you can savor the delicious Meursault when you get home.
In the afternoon we head back to Beaune and visit a local winery based in the town. Your tour will include at least 6 tastings of local award-winning Burgundy wines.
Day 9: Cotes du Rhone
Your chauffeur will be waiting for you as you head off for the next stage of your wine tour. The Rhone valley is the second largest wine region in France and has wineries nestled along both sides of this famous river. Today we spent exploring Lyon and its gastronomic heritage.
Since 1935 Lyon has been recognized as the gastronomic capital of the world and today it has over 4000 restaurants, of which 20 have one or more Michelin stars. Your tour starts with a private tour of Les Halles des Lyon, a covered market with over 50 artisan farmers and producers. Learn why Lyon is a culinary capital and sample local delicacies paired with wines from the region.
In the afternoon visit, one of the local award-winning wine farms and have a private tour of the estate. Learn from your specialist guide about the wines from the region and what makes this area so perfect for wine growing. Learn about pairing wine and taste exquisite vintage wine paired with local cheeses and charcuterie.
In the evening have dinner at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants and taste the finest Lyon has to offer.
Day 10: Cotes du Rhone
We head south today towards the pretty town of Valence. The climate here is very different from the Northern Cotes du Rhone region and is more Mediterranean, with very hot dry summers and long hours of sunshine, and milder winters. The sun, heat, wind (sometimes gale-force), and low rainfall encourage vines to grow and grapes to ripen well, and provide natural protection from disease.
The differences in climate between the North and South also mean different harvest times (the south being earlier) and the planting of different types of grapes.
The 3 main varieties used in Côtes du Rhône blends are Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is planted mainly in the north and Grenache and Mourvèdre being of Spanish origin fare better in the south.
Today we visit one of the thriving organic wineries in the area. Sustainability is something each and every one of us has to incorporate into our day-to-day lives and it is no different for the winemakers in France. In 2020 over 12% of wines from this region were classified as organic and/ or biodynamic and today we learn how the vines are managed and treated to minimize any damage to our planet and still retain the delicious flavors we expect from our Cotes du Rhone.
Day 11: Cotes du Rhone to Provence
Continuing South we go to Avignon which until the 18th Century Avignon was actually considered a papal state and it was only in 1791 that Avignon was recognized as French.
This papal influence is clear to see in the enormous Palace des Papes (Popes’ Palace) that dominates the city and was home to the Popes that fled the corruption in Rome. This palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and your private tour will include a visit to the papal apartments in the palace.
The next stop is the famous Pont St Benezet, the inspiration for the song ‘ Sur le Pont d’Avignon ‘ and this bridge is a key landmark in the city.
It was originally constructed in the 12th Century but now much of the bridge has been washed away with only about 25% of the original structure remaining. This is not the only famous bridge in the region, your tour will also include the Pont du Gard, this incredible three leveled aqueduct was built to transport water to nearby Nimes. This is the tallest aqueduct in France and is widely thought to be the best preserved Roman aqueduct in France and was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 1985 and is definitely worth a visit.
Following your private tour of Avignon, we head north to Châteauneuf -du – Pape and spend the afternoon exploring the vineyards around one of the region’s most important wine appellations. In the 14th century, the Popes came to Avignon from Rome to establish the papacy there and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (a new castle for the Pope) was built as the summer palace for Pope Jean XXII.
The church and wine have been intertwined for millennia and indeed, vines were planted here commercially as far back as the 1300s to serve the church and nobility. Today Châteauneuf du Pape is a charming Medieval village with more than its fair share of award-winning wine estates.
Day 12: Provence - Marseilles
The final leg of our wine tour is to the wineries of Provence. We start our tour in Marseilles: its position as a key strategic port goes back to 600 BC when the Greeks first created the port and are steeped in history – even the French National anthem: le Marseilles is based on Marseilles.
Our tour starts at the Basilica Notre – Dame de la Garde which was built by King Francois I to protect the city and is the highest building in Marseilles standing at an impressive 490 feet above sea level. On top of the Basilica is a statue of the Virgin Mary which is said to protect the city and its inhabitants for those of you less mobile there is a train from the Vieux port that goes directly to this amazing Byzantine monument, and from there admire the view across the city and across the Mediterranean.
From there it is a short walk to the Vieux port – the real heart of Marseilles. This is where locals and tourists mix – sample some delicious Bouillabaisse (a local specialty) with freshly caught seafood at one of the many fish restaurants dotted about the port.
Aside from being home to the rich and famous, Provence is also home to rose wine. Over 10 % of the world’s rose comes from Provence and production of rose here accounts for 88% of all wine produced in the area.
Over 24 million bottles of Provencal rose were exported to the US in 2020 alone and the popularity of this once looked down upon wine is now growing. The massive surge in sales is driven by our changing eating habits – less structured meals and our enjoyment and discovery of cuisines from around the world. For those of you that consider rose wine to be a newcomer to the wine scene, you would be wrong as rose wine was produced by the Greeks over 3000 years ago in Provence.
This afternoon you will be taken on a tour with a leading wine merchant who will teach you about the different color variations of Provencal rose and then prepare a tasting menu for you to pair with chosen wines.
The evening will be spent in one of the many exclusive fine dining restaurants in Marseilles and watch the harbor come to life.
Day 13: Provence - Nice
Nice was originally named after the Greek Goddess Nike and so was possibly the original Nike Town! Nice was an Italian city until relatively recently (1860) when the Italians gave the City to France as recognition of French support in helping the Italians against the Austrians. The strong Italian influence can be seen throughout the city and many of the locals speak both French and Italian.
It is not just French and Italian influences that can be seen in this city. At noon every day, a cannon is fired across the city. This tradition was in fact started by an Englishman in 1860, Sir Thomas Coventry. Sir Thomas used to get very frustrated that his wife could not serve the midday meal at noon and so he requested to the mayor that a cannon be fired every day at noon and he would cover this cost. When Sir Thomas moved back to the UK the locals, having been so used to managing their time with the aid of the midday cannon that they petitioned for the cannon shot to continue at noon. To this day a cannon is fired every day at noon in Nice!
We start the tour in the old town, which is a myriad of winding narrow streets leading to gilded shaded squares with little bistros and cafes.
Your private tour will also include a visit to the magnificent Opera house and the Town Hall and Rosetti Square, home to Nice Cathedral. The Cathedral is unlike many French Cathedrals rather modest from the outside, but once inside admire the lavish Baroque designs, gilded ornate chapels, sculptures, and paintings, all with a distinctly Italian feel.
Stop for lunch in the famous flower and produce market which is also in the old town.
In the afternoon your driver guide will take you west towards the area that produces Cote du Provence Frejus.
Today your tour will give you a complete behind-the-scenes look at the planning and work that is involved in creating delicious crisp rose wine – pink, sparkling or still there is no better place to enjoy rose than in the stunning setting of Provence.
Your sommelier will give you a masterclass on wines from this specific part of Provence. Your workshop ends with a food/wine pairing with locally selected award-winning cheeses, pates, and charcuterie.
Day 14: Transfer to Paris
Your chauffeur will be waiting for you in your hotel reception ready to transport you on the next part of your wine adventure.
Why not extend your trip and let your chauffeur take you up to the Dordogne, home of Bordeaux wines, or head south and visit Corsica, famed also for producing award-winning roses.
Custom Wine Tour Itinerary
If you would like to extend your wine tour into different regions or alter any aspect of the above itinerary, our tour planning specialists would be delighted to handcraft a new tailored itinerary just for you.
To request your complimentary itinerary, simply complete our online contact form below.
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Salut from France! I’m Debbie, founder of Luxury France Tours.
Having developed into a Francophile on a trip to the French Alps many years ago while still in school, I moved to France after a career traveling the world led to me meeting my (now) French Husband in Johannesburg. I created Luxury France Tours as a way of sharing my love of France & igniting this passion in others.