Realistically, only Italy comes close to France when it comes to the best country for a wine tour. And when you throw Champagne tasting in the mix, there really is no other country you can visit for a truly authentic tour.
Whether it’s the rich heritage of the Bordeaux region, a cycle amongst the stunning chateaux of the Loire Valley, or a visit to the peeling grandeur of the Champagne houses in Taittinger, you’re sure to find incredible examples of one of the most famous French exports in the world.
In this article, we’ll outline 5 of our favourite wine and champagne tours in France, to inspire you for your next French holiday based around the finer things in life, as all trips to our neighbours across La Manche should be.
1. Exclusive Private Day Trip to Champagne
Nothing screams decadence like Champagne, so why not go all out on your next visit to France and visit the home of this luxurious drink on an exclusive, private day tour with lunch and, of course, plenty of Champagne tasting included?
This is the ultimate day in the Champagne region, as it takes in small, family-run wineries, beautiful private chateaux, idyllic villages surrounded by lush vineyards, the actual home of Dom Perignon, and iconic champagne houses along the world-renowned Avenue de Champagne.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to tastings of the most beautiful examples of the local produce, and given a local insight into the region most tourists wouldn’t receive as you meet local growers, producers and residents whose lives are immersed in the world of Champagne.
You’ll also be treated to a delicious lunch of authentic French cuisine, made with produce that’s all local to the area… and there may even be an opportunity here to try a few more bubbles. For those interested in French cuisine, history and culture, there really is no better way to spend the day than this memorable Champagne tour.
2. French Cooking and Wine Holiday in Gascony
One for the real foodies now, on this hands-on holiday that’ll have you deep-diving into the fascinating world that is French food and wine. Get properly off the beaten track and far from any touristy hot spots, as you stay in the beautiful Gascony countryside in a traditional, wonderfully restored farmhouse – the perfect place to get a taste of authentic French life.
Over the five nights that you stay in Gascony, you’ll have five cooking lessons with a professional chef who will help you learn and master the secrets and techniques involved in classic French cuisine, as well as teach you to cook typical, local dishes.
Each meal and each day you’ll get an introduction to French wine, and begin to understand how to pair wines with food like a real sommelier. Visit the local market with your host to find fresh produce to cook with, so that you learn the importance of seasonality and locality in French cooking, and return home a master in skills and techniques that will wow any guest at the next dinner party you host.
Throw in visits to stunning chateaux, a trip to an Armagnac distillery (to give you a little break from the wine) and you have a full cultural immersion into what it’s like to live is this beautiful part of France.
Popular Wine Tours in France
3. A Loire Valley Wine Tour
The Loire Valley is a unique region of France, boasting shimmering rivers, lush woodlands, incredibly decadent chateaux and of course, picture-perfect vineyards. All this makes it a great area to explore on a classic French wine tour, it’s not many places in the world you’ll find locals living in a 21st century chateaux, just round the corner from a renowned wine producer.
You’ll start your day with a tour of Château de Villandry, a chance for you to get a glimpse into the life of those who roamed the meticulously manicured gardens and grand hallways in Renaissance times with a guide who will unlock all the secrets of this gem for you.
From there it’ll be your chance to meet a family-owned chateaux, a unique opportunity where you’ll meet the residents, learn what it’s like to live in such grand surroundings, and enjoy an aperitif on the riverbank that runs alongside.
In the afternoon it’s onto the real wine tour, where you’ll visit two family-run wine estates and learn everything there is to know about the incredible produce that flows from the vats. From production to tasting, it’s a seriously comprehensive dive into the world of wine in one of the most aesthetically pleasing parts of France.
4. Magical Rhone Valley Wine Tour
Considering its part a country that exports almost a third of the world’s wine, it speaks volumes that the Rhone Valley is renowned for being the home of the very best French wine. On this private 4-night tour, you’ll experience the very best of this stunning region, and immerse yourself in the home of Syrah, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and Beaujolais, an unforgettable experience for any wine lover.
Staying in boutique hotels, tour the area and visit artisan winemakers, explore the famous Cotes-du-Rhone vineyards and atmospheric cellars that have been churning out some of the world’s most sought-after wine for centuries, along the way tasting and learning everything there is to know about the wine produced here.
Drink in stunning views of vineyards covering dormant volcanoes, picturesque villages shrouded by vines, ancient Roman theatres and magical panoramas of lush river valleys, and enjoy a slow-paced, indulgent French lifestyle.
Along the way, your hosts and guides will ensure you only see the very best, and the most authentic spots in the Rhone Valley, meaning you can come home having enjoyed unique, local experiences that will last long in the memory.
5. Painting and Wine Tasting near Bordeaux
Combine your passion with a relaxing weekend in a beautiful French farmhouse, tasting exquisite local wines whenever you’re not letting your creative juices flow on this painting and wine holiday in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
Take inspiration from the surrounding vineyards to capture the sights, sounds and scents of the countryside on canvas, under the guidance of your incredibly welcoming hosts, who will also ensure you’re well-fed with wonderfully-cooked homemade meals, made with local produce.
Your days can be spent painting, visiting local winemakers, or just chilling by the pool with a book and glass of wine, on a holiday that helps you escape the touristy hot spots and head to the countryside for a unique, local getaway.
Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we are always on the lookout for tours and holidays that show of the very best of a location, all whilst getting you off the beaten track to have a unique, local experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime. We believe the key to this is getting our travellers in touch the local people, who can uncover the secrets of places like Champagne, the Loire Valley and Bordeaux to turn an ordinary holiday into an unforgettable one.
If you want to explore more French activity holidays, follow the link and discover retreats centred around yoga, painting, perfume making, surfing, and even snowshoeing. Or perhaps you want to discover France at Christmas time, on festive retreats to the Champagne region where you’ll experience authentic French cuisine at Christmas markets. Whatever your French holiday entails, there’s something unique for everyone with Not In The Guidebooks.