If you're a true oenophile, your first trip should be southwest, to the Bordeaux region. This is one of the world's largest wine regions and by far its most famous. The regional capital is named Bordeaux too and with its location along the peaceful Garonne River, it makes for the perfect base. Here you'll find a wine museum which is a good place to visit before you head out to the world-famous vineyards and wineries.
Another well-known destination for lovers of a good vintage is the Burgundy region. You'll also want to sample the mustard produced in Dijon, the area's capital. This region is perfect if you want a romantic getaway, with lakes and forests as well as lovely towns that date from medieval times.
No celebration is complete without a bottle of bubbly and for this, there's only one place to go. The Champagne region, near the border with Germany, gave the drink its name, after all. A wonderful city to use as base here is Reims, since it's home to many champagne producers. Its cathedral is famous too since for many years it was the site of French kings' coronations.
To the south of Paris you'll find a region that you simply have to explore. The vineyards of the Loire Valley produce red as well as white wines. The region is also filled with castles, many of which are located near Orleans, the hometown of Joan of Arc.
The French summer is best enjoyed in Provence, located in the southeast. Fields of jasmine and lavender perfume the air and the countryside is dotted with villages that haven't changed much since the Middle Ages or since the days when Van Gogh and Gauguin lived and painted here. The Rhone flows through the region and is best explored on a barge. Be prepared for some serious gluttony though, since Provence is foodie heaven and also produces excellent rose wines.
No visit to France can be complete without a stay in Paris. While the City of Lights is not a wine region in itself, its central location means that you can easily visit places like the Loire Valley on a day trip from here. At night, you can then visit top restaurants that offer the best French wines with gourmet food. Moreover, Paris is at the center of the fashion industry and has plenty of top museums and other sights.
Sampling great French wines is easy. One option is to book a day tour or even a longer tour package through a travel agency. Many offer packages that focus specifically on wines. Another option is to simply hire a car and explore at your own pace.
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