French Wine Regions

iStock International
ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

French Wine Regions Money-Saving Tips

TGV

Frequent connections from both the airport and central Paris make the TGV high-speed rail network the easiest, fastest, and most comfortable way to reach France’s wine regions.

Rent a Car

A car is essential in the countryside. French roads are meticulously maintained and well signposted; still, carry a detailed map or road atlas. Reserving your car from the U.S. will save you considerable money. Your U.S. driver’s license is valid for France.

Meal Times

You must arrive for lunch between 12:30 and 2pm and for dinner between 7:30 and 9:30pm. Reservations for dinner are often essential.

Explore Regional Wines in Local Restaurants

Even modest establishments in wine areas will have an extensive list of local wines; ask for advice and be adventuresome.

Double Check Your Train Station

Trains leave Paris from six different stations – as well as from CDG airport – and many regional cities have more than one station. Tickets should be stamped at machines on the platforms immediately before boarding.

Routes du Vin

Wineries can be located by following the ubiquitous Route du Vin road markers. Many (but certainly not all) wineries welcome visitors. Always consult the local tourist office for helpful information.

Paris

Spend a few days in the City of Light; you’ll have to pass through on your way in and out of France anyway.

The Wine

A delight for the connoisseur, but admittedly confusing for the amateur, French wines (except in Alsace) are never labeled with grape variety, and better wines omit the region as well in favor of the village or simply the vineyard. Bring a wine guide, ask advice, and make notes on what you like.

History

Over the centuries, Greeks, Romans, and now the French have developed winemaking into a fine art. The production of wine is governed by this long tradition as well as the strict A.O.C. (appellation d’origine contrôlée) standards of quality.

Taking Wine Home

Wineries will generally not ship to the US due to complicated state and federal regulations, and you can no longer pack wine in your carry-on. Pad your bottle in a hard-sided suitcase and it will likely survive even the roughest luggage handlers.

Regional Cuisine

Food and wine have developed in tandem, and you’ll do well to sample the (proudly displayed) regional specialties.

Smart Money

Before leaving the U.S. ask your bank if there are any French ATMs you can use for free and find out if your credit card company charges fees (some tack on as much as 5 percent for overseas purchases).

Save on Breakfast

Many French hotels include breakfast (normally a hot beverage, juice, Danish, croissants, and yogurt) in their nightly rates. When booking, ask if breakfast is included; if not, request it – it’s a quick, easy timesaver.

Daily Menu

You’ll save up to 30 percent and experience regional specialties by ordering the daily menu at restaurants. You’ll have your choice of starter, but the main course will be the chef’s selection of the day.

Transportation

Since efficient buses, high-speed trains, and budget flights are increasingly popular, renting a car is not mandatory, though it’s still the best way to explore the region with ease and independence. The Lyon airport is the best bet for weekend car rental deals.

Hotel Alternatives

Renting a gites (apartment) is a way to get more deeply involved with the locals, avoid tourists, and save money. Two companies that provide exceptional property rentals are Gites De France (www.gites-de-france-rhone.com) and Le Vacances En France (www.les-vacances-en-france.com).

Compare Rates to French Wine Regions






Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals

Logo
x
Tell Us Your Preferences

To help us understand your travel preferences, please select from the following categories

Check all that apply
Oops, something went wrong.
No Thanks