This is part 5 in a series about the French wine regions – most of which were featured in the GotSaga article named “10 Top Wine Destinations in France“, where we went through the most famous regions with a few tips on where to go and what to do in each region. Because of the response from that article, we dive a bit deeper here.
Hundreds of years ago, royalty and nobility used to leave Paris for relaxing days in the Loire valley (French: Valleé de la Loire), and the region certainly still has the castles and areas to show for visitors to the region. Beside having a vast amount of historical sites, the region is only an hour drive from Paris, meaning it would be the easiest wine region to combine with a trip to the French capitol.
Starting from the Atlantic ocean in the west, continuing along the Loire river to divide France between north and south, the region has a multitude of castles and wine hills – with Nantes and Tours as nice city breaks along the journey. If you start in Tours, I would recommend continuing to Chateau de Villandry, with the beautiful gardens, and then to Chateau d’Usse, which gave inspiration to the the story of Sleeping Beauty. After a drive through the Loire Valley, I would recommend going back to Paris for a lovely natural, organic wine at trendy Racines or sit down at Alfred with a view of Palais Royal.
The Loire Valley wine region creates excellent white wines going perfectly with fish, and some believe that if it hadn’t been for the rise of Bordeaux a few decades ago, the Loire Valley wines would be seen as the brightest of French stars. However to Paris restaurants, bistros and brasseries, the Loire Valley wines are still always present on the wine list with Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc as the main grapes.