No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to one of France’s esteemed viticultural regions. Champagne may be the obvious choice — it’s less than 100 miles from Paris, and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a glass of bubbles — but thirsty Parisians look beyond Reims.
For your next vino-filled French adventure, consider one of these six regions, complete with industry hangouts, bottles that rarely leave French shores, and, yes, envy-inducing Champagne.
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Chardonnay and Pinot Noir aficionados, you’re in luck! Heading to Burgundy is much more accessible than you may think. Want an urban escape? Head to Beaune and sip through the city’s tasting rooms. Best of all, the city itself happens to be breathtakingly gorgeous.
Burgundy-bound tasters looking for a more intimate experience can hop the train to Macon, perhaps the region’s best-kept secret. In Macon, you can still find delicious, affordable bottles of Chardonnay. You will most likely need to rent a car, but, on the upside, you won’t need to contact producers too far in advance.
Producers to visit: Julien Guillot (appointment required), Domaine Pollier, Olivier Merlin (all in Macon).
How to get there: TGV high-speed train, Paris to Beaune: 2 hours 33 minutes (change trains in Dijon); Paris to Macon: 1 hour 35 minutes.
How long to stay: One day.
Arguably France’s most underrated wine region, Alsace is a destination for those really in the know — especially white wine lovers looking to soak in as much Riesling, Sylvaner, and Pinot Gris as humanly possible. Upon arriving in Alsace, stroll through the city of Strasbourg, visit the centrally located cathedral, and walk along the river — pretzel in hand, of course — to take in the flower-lined windows of the city’s half-timbered houses. For winery visits, renting a car is best, though if you can swing it, nothing beats being picked from one of the local train stations by a producer, many of whom are more than eager to coordinate with thirsty guests.
Producers to visit: Trimbach, Ruhlmann-Schutz, Christian Binner, Albert Boxler.
How to get there: TGV high-speed train, Paris to Strasbourg: 2 hours 17 minutes.
How long to stay: Two days, one night.
Where to sleep: Hotel Hannong’s modern hotel-wine bar hybrid is the perfect place to crash after a full day of wine tasting. Located in central Strasbourg, the hotel is just a five-minute walk from the train station, historic Petite France quarter, and Strasbourg Cathedral.
Thanks to the TGV express service, Bordeaux is now just two short hours on the fast train from Paris. The city has everything from high-end shopping, to Michelin-starred dining, to chic tasting rooms, making it the perfect day trip for those looking to sip in style. If you want to visit the wineries themselves, as opposed to simply tasting in the city, rent a car or take the local train. Back in the city center, stop in Le Flacon, Bordeaux’s small yet stunning wine bar. It’s an industry favorite and a must, especially for natural wine lovers.
Producers to visit: Château Coutet (St.-Émilion), Château La Clotte-Cazalis (Barsac), Domaine Emile Grelier (Lapouyade).
How to get there: TGV high-speed train, Paris to Bordeaux: 2 hours 4 minutes.
How long to stay: One full day if tasting within the city; for outside producer visits, two days, one night is best.
Where to sleep: The lavish InterContinental Grand Hotel de Bordeaux has interiors by Jacques Garcia, a two-Michelin-star restaurant, and breathtaking views of the Opéra National.
There’s a reason why somms, retailers, and wine industry folk flock to bottles of Beaujolais; they’re downright delicious. These Gamay-based, chuggable reds are extremely easy to drink, with bright acidity, versatility, and lively fruit. Heading to Beaujolais from Paris has never been easier, thanks to the high speed train to Lyon. Although this trip could easily be done in a day, ‘home base-ing’ in Lyon for as long as possible is ideal, simply for the sake of exploring its gorgeous architecture and out-of-this-world gastronomical scene. Stop in La Fleurie wine bar for natural wine, and Chez Paul restaurant for traditional, bouchon-style fare. The Museum of Fine Arts also has an adorable outdoor cafe.
Once you arrive, sign up for a Beaujolais wine tasting day tour, complete with bus transportation; or, for a more customized route, you can rent a car.
Producers to visit: Clos de la Roilette, Domaine Chapel, Domaine Château de Grand Pré.
How to get there: TGV high-speed train, Paris to Lyon: 1 hour 56 minutes.
How long to stay: One day; or two days, one night. If you’re able to stay in Lyon, give this trip as many nights as possible to soak up the city.
Where to sleep: Le Royal, an 1895 boutique grand dame, has a convenient downtown location, Pierre Yves-Rochon interiors, and bragging rights: Sophia Lauren was reportedly among its previous guests.
Fortunately, for lovers of Cabernet Franc and #chenincheninchenin, hitting the Loire from Paris is as simple as catching the next train to Angers. Upon arrival, take a quick stroll around the Château d’Angers, preferably with a pastry from one of the city’s many award-winning boulangeries, such as Le Duc d’Anjou or Artis’an Passionné. Booking half- or full-day winery tours with round-trip transportation is insanely easy, with options to Layon, Saumur, and Savennières, among others.
Renting a car and visiting producers will usually require some advance planning; however, Loire-based vignerons are known for their hospitality and enthusiasm for welcoming guests.
Producers to visit: René Mosse, Château de Brézé, Domaine du Collier, Pithon-Paillé.
How to get there: TGV high-speed train, Paris to Angers: 1 hour 37 minutes.
How long to stay: One day; or two days, one night.
Where to sleep: The stunning L’Oisellerie is situated in a house from the 1500s and has exquisite terra cotta floors, stained- glass windows, and a charming timber interior. This certified historic monument is centrally located, spacious, and has free high-speed internet.
Most travelers looking to day-trip to Champagne make Reims or Épernay their home base. Reims has a Gothic cathedral and slightly livelier vibes, and Épernay is home to the plush Royal Champagne Hotel. Both are just an hour and change by train from Paris. Visit in October or November to avoid the crowds, and note that every tasting room — from the grandest marque to tiniest grower — requires advance reservations. Be punctual for appointments, too. Bookings fill quickly, and a five-minute delay could mean you have to forfeit your spot entirely.
Taxis and public transportation here can be unreliable, so rent a car or book a tour that includes transportation.
Producers to visit: Maison Bérêche, Champagne Savart, Champagne Laherte Frères.
How to get there: TGV high speed train, Paris to Épernay: 1 hour 12 minutes; Paris to Reims: 46 minutes.
How long to stay: One day.