Visiting French wine regions during Paris Olympics trip


If you are traveling to Paris from July 26th for the 2024 OlympicsNumber Through August 11, consider arriving early or staying a few days late to visit at least one French wine region. These four wine regions are within a few hours train ride from Paris, and in these regions, you can rent a car, use public transport, or hire a guide service to get a better look at the area.

Important information about train travel in France.

Please be aware that security will be increased in and around Paris during the Olympics. If you're traveling by train, arrive at the station at least 30 minutes before departure. Book, pay and download your ticket in advance on the French national railways (SNCF) website. Alternatively, try the Trainline website. The Swiss National Railways website (SBB) also provides information about French trains.

First class train tickets are affordable, so buy them online in advance and reserve your seat, especially if you're travelling with others, so you can all sit together.

You might need to show your ticket before boarding a train in France, but you usually won't be asked to show identification.

Most trains have food carriages and tables nearby where you can eat standing up, or you can buy food and take it back to your seat. The French are strict about lunchtimes, so it's best to eat before noon or after 2pm to avoid long queues to order food.

For the same price as a Paris hotel room, you can secure more spacious accommodations in the wine region outside Paris.

Don't hesitate to book a guide and van/minibus tour, whether it's a half-day or a full day. Experts will save you time and inconvenience, ease your language difficulties, and also provide you with historical insights during the trip, as well as help you find affordable and tasty places to eat.

France's four wine regions

Bordeaux –

Attractions

Bordeaux is a beautiful city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Getting around the city is easy by tram. Buy a tram ticket, good for 10 or more trips, from the ticket machines at many (but not all) tram stops, or from the Relay book and magazine shops in the train station or airport. In the city, you'll find restaurants in the side streets west of the charming Place de la Bourse (away from the waterfront), or take a leisurely stroll along the Garonne River. The Cité du Vin wine museum displays vintage wines from around the world and also has a wine shop and restaurant. Have a picnic in the Jardin Public, a park in the city center, a 10-minute walk from the opera house.

From July 24thNumber Until August 2andBordeaux will host seven men's and women's football matches.

on the train

Paris has four main train stations: stationFrom Gare Montparnasse, located south of the Seine, it takes 2 hours and 9 minutes to travel from Paris to Gare Saint-Jean by high-speed TGV (Train Grande Vitesse, up to 185 mph). From Bordeaux station, take a taxi, Uber or tram to the city center. You can also rent a car at the station (book in advance), but driving and parking in Bordeaux can be difficult. It's best to use public transport within the city and rent a car to visit areas outside the city, such as the Médoc wine region to the north.

wine

The majority of Bordeaux wines are red. These are usually blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and may also include Petit Verdot and Malbec (and rarely Carmenere). Bordeaux produces less white wine than red, but the white wines are excellent and are made primarily from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle grapes.

Food and Wine Pairing

This dish combines white wine, mainly made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, with oysters from Arcachon Bay and freshly baked baguette.

For lunch or dinner duck breast Duck breast and potatoes served with a Bordeaux red wine from the Médoc or Saint-Emilion.

For dessert, enjoy a glass of sweet white Sauternes wine and some locally made canelés.

Burgundy –

Attractions

The Burgundy wine region lies between the cities of Dijon to the north and Mâcon to the south (with the walled city of Beaune in between). It is bordered by rolling hills to the west, neighbouring vineyards to the east, and a north-south highway and railway. It is a land of small domaine vineyards, quiet villages, and locals who take great pride in their culture and wine. No loud accents or brightly coloured clothes? Not here. Stay in or near Beaune or Nuits-Saint-Georges and hire a guide to visit the wine domaines.

on the train

The train ride from Paris' Gare de Lyon to Dijon takes about 1 hour 40 minutes, from where you can rent a car or use a service to reach the Burgundy wine region.

Alternatively, you can continue on to the second train from Dijon for 19 minutes to reach the ancient walled city of Beaune, home to excellent restaurants, wine shops and the charming Hospices de Beaune Hotel-Dieu.

wine

Burgundy is famous for its red wines made from Pinot Noir and white wines made from Chardonnay, but you should also try the white wines made from Aligote and the red wines made from Gamay.

Food and Wine Pairing

White Chablis wine (Chardonnay from Burgundy) pairs well with escargot and, of course, baguettes.

Coq au vin or boeuf bourguignon go well with red wine, or try gougères (cheese pastries) with sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne.

Champagne

Attractions

The Gothic cathedral of Reims is well worth a visit, but you should also consider visiting the wine cellars of some of the smaller Champagne houses like Bouquet. The town of Aÿ Champagne is quiet, surrounded by vineyards owned by famous Champagne houses, but a drive through Champagne's beautiful countryside reveals its charm, with woodland dotted over rolling terrain dotted with tiny villages.

on the train

From Gare de l'Est, you can change to two trains and arrive in Reims in 1 hour and 30 minutes, with one stop in Champagne-Ardenne along the way.

wine

Champagne is made from a single or blend of grapes, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Less commonly used grapes include Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Alban, and Petit Meslier.

Food and Wine Pairing

Enjoy Ardennes ham or roasted quail accompanied by 100% Chardonnay Henri Giraud Champagne.

Champagne and strawberries, such as Belles et Fils Rive Gauche, made 100% from Pinot Meunier grapes.

Loire Valley

Attractions

This is a vast countryside filled with castles, or “châteaux,” built beside the serene Loire River, which flows for over 600 miles. Riverside towns such as Tours, Angers, Nantes, Chinon, and Orléans each have their own cultural attractions. Consider taking a boat trip on the Loire.

on the train

From Paris' Montparnasse station you can take a direct train to Tours in 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Alternatively, you can travel from Gare Montparnasse to Angers in the Loire Valley in 1 hour 40 minutes.

The journey from Gare d'Austerlitz to Orléans takes 1 hour and 5 minutes.

wine

Typically, white wines from the Loire Valley are made from Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, while red wines are made from Cabernet Franc, Gamay and Pinot Noir, while along the coast, a great value white wine known as Muscadet (made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape) is renowned for pairing well with seafood.

Food and Wine Pairing

Andouillette sausage and Cabernet Franc red wine.

White wine from Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, such as Domaine du Feydhomme, and scallops.



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