Our guide for wine-lovers ranges from châteaux to cosy apartments.
From impressive châteaux to cosy apartments, we have the best places for getting close to your favourite French vintages
CHÂTEAU DE BERNE Lorgues, Var
For those looking to sample fine wines in a rural setting, the luxurious Château de Berne will not disappoint. The 600-hectare estate lies in the hills near the Provençal village of Lorgues and is a short distance from the dramatic Gorges du Verdon.
This country house retreat comes with elegantly decorated rooms featuring tiled floors and Provençal furniture; many have balconies overlooking the wine estate. Meals here are a splendid affair, with a gastronomic restaurant serving creative cuisine, and a brasserie offering lighter dishes.
Activities on offer include a wine tasting and tour of the estate. Alternatively, you can while away an afternoon in the outdoor pool or play tennis and pétanque. Get out and about by hiring quad bikes to explore one of the vineyard trails. Doubles from €330, breakfast €29. Tel: (Fr) 4 94 60 48 88 chateauberne.com
STUDIO GRAND THÉÂTRE Bordeaux, Gironde
This apartment for two is on the ground floor of a hôtel particulier in front of Bordeaux’s grand théâtre. The modern accommodation includes a spacious bedroom featuring a king-size bed, two televisions and sofa. A spiral staircase leads up to a fully equipped kitchen complete with oven, dishwasher and small breakfast bar. On the same floor, you will find a modern, stone-tiled bathroom, with floor-to-ceiling mirror and rainwater shower. Prices from £40 per night (minimum two-night stay). airbnb.co.uk
CHÂTEAU PAPE CLÉMENT Pessac, Gironde
Surrounded by 60 hectares of vineyards a 15-minute drive from Bordeaux, this elegant estate, which is owned by wine magnate Bernard Magrez, is one of the oldest Grands Crus in the region. Vines were planted in the late 13th century by Bertrand de Goth, the future Pope Clement V, whose name was given to the château.
Visitors can find out more about the wine estate on a daily tour and tasting (advance booking required), which are tailored to meet guests’ interests, whether they are enthusiastic beginners or experienced collectors. And to top off a perfect wine tasting, guests can savour private fine dining in one of the château’s elegant dining rooms, or perhaps enjoy a caviar and wine-making experience.
The château has just five guest rooms, each one sumptuously decorated with herringbone parquet floors, 19th-century furniture and marble bathrooms. Other in-room facilities include flat-screen TV, coffee-maker and air-conditioning. Rooms from €230 including breakfast. Tel: (Fr) 5 57 26 38 38 bernard-magrez.com/en/wines/chateaupape-clement
STUDIO APARTMENT Eguisheim, Bas-rhin
This studio apartment for two is situated in a paved alleyway in the Plus Beau Village of Eguisheim, which is famous for producing high-quality Alsace wines. Accommodation covers 32 square metres and includes a double bedroom, a bathroom with shower, wash basin and toilet, and a small kitchen containing a sink, refrigerator and microwave oven and grill. The reception room has a dining table, sofa and television. The owner lives opposite and has a garage where bicycles can be stored, and there is also a parking space. The apartment is 200 metres from shops, while the vineyards, perfect terrain for cycle rides and walking, start 500 metres away. Prices from £36 per night (minimum three-night stay at weekends). airbnb.co.uk
DOMAINE LA YOLE WINE RESORT Valras-plage, Hérault
Anyone looking for a camping stay with a strong wine focus will find exactly what they need at La Yole on the Mediterranean coast. Set on a longestablished wine estate, the campsite offers tastings, winery visits and talks. Other activities include gastronomy-themed hikes, as well as tennis, fencing, pétanque and dancing. A large water park and a farm offering animal encounters will keep youngsters amused. Open 1 April to 15 October. Pitch based on two adults from €21.30 a night; cabins from €69 a night. Tel: (Fr) 4 67 37 33 87 campinglayole.com
DOMAINE DE VERCHANT Montpellier, Hérault
Nestled among 13 hectares of vineyards just 20 minutes from the centre of Montpellier, this luxury hotel is the perfect place for wine-lovers.
The 26 rooms are spread across the 17th-century mansion house and a series of soft stone outbuildings, which once housed the harvest workers. Rooms are strikingly contemporary, with white bed linen, bold curtain fabrics and Italian designer furniture.
The hotel has a bistro and gastronomic restaurant where dishes are paired with wines from the estate. Guests can also book a tasting session with the sommelier.
Other facilities include an infinity pool and spa, where the signature treatments include a Grand Cru grape-seed exfoliation and red-grape body wrap. Doubles from €329 excluding breakfast. Tel: (Fr) 4 67 07 26 00 domainedeverchant.com
FRANCE PASSION Across France
Campervan enthusiasts with a love of wine can stay overnight for free at hundreds of vineyards by signing up with France Passion. The scheme, aimed exclusively at motorhome owners, costs €29 a year, which brings you the all-important guide. Membership allows you a free pitch for 24 hours at more than 2,000 sites including 800 vineyards and 950 farms, most of which are off the beaten track. Annual membership €29. france-passion.com
CHÂTEAU DE PIZAY Saint-jean-d’ardières, Rhône
Lying in the Beaujolais vineyards near Morgon, this medieval château offers fine wines and a tranquil setting to make for a truly enjoyable stay. The elegant château has a dozen well-appointed rooms, featuring antique furniture, free Wi-fi and flat-screen TVS. All the rooms overlook a large, French-style garden and some come with private terraces.
Activities include a tour of the estate and a chance to taste the château’s fine vintages and join a wine sensory course at the oénotheque ( pictured above). You can then take a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool or go for a stroll through the garden. For a bit of extra pampering, head for the spa, which has a sauna and hammam, and provides a range of multisensory treatments.
Guests can also look forward to a fine-dining experience at the gourmet restaurant, which serves seasonal menus based on fresh local produce. Doubles from €200 including breakfast. Tel: (Fr) 4 74 66 51 41 chateau-pizay.com
NO8 B&B Mailly-champagne, Marne
For a relaxing stay in the heart of Champagne country, look no further than this charming B&B, set in a former winemaker’s home in the Grand Cru village of Mailly. There are four en-suite bedrooms – two in the main house and two in an adjoining annexe – and a spacious lounge-dining room, which is available for all guests to use. The village makes an ideal base for visiting the famous champagne houses. The owners provide free guide books and maps of the Route Touristique de Champagne. Doubles from €70 including breakfast. Tel: (Fr) 3 26 91 11 14 no8bedandbreakfast.com
DOMAINE DE GARILLE Aragon, Aude
Enjoy sampling wines from the sundrenched south-west of France at the Domaine de Garille, ten kilometres from medieval Carcassonne. The wine estate has seven gîtes, all with splendid views over the countryside. Each is individually decorated using Mediterranean colours and using both contemporary and traditional furnishings. The smallest gîte accommodates two people, while the largest can house up to six, and all come with fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms. Each gîte also has a private terrace, the perfect place for guests to relax with a glass of wine. Prices from €225 for one week in low season. Tel: (Fr) 4 68 72 76 96 lorgeril.wine
AUBERGE DU VIN Mazan, Vaucluse
Anyone with a soft spot for wines from the Rhône Valley and a desire to learn more about them will be in good hands at the Auberge du Vin, located at the foot of Mont Ventoux.
This 18th-century farmhouse is the home of British expatriates Linda Field and Christopher Hunt, who offer wine holidays and courses for up to 16 guests.
Popular choices include a three-day wine holiday weekend or the week-long ‘Rhône Ranger Adventure’, during which you will visit and taste the wines of the eight most important Rhône villages.
If you would rather explore on your own, you can stay on a bed and breakfast basis or rent one of the two self-contained cottages. Doubles from €140 including breakfast and two glasses of rosé, cottages from €750 (minimum one-week rental). Tel: (Fr) 4 90 61 62 84 aubergeduvin.com
DOMAINE CÉLINE ET FRÉDÉRIC GUEGUEN Chablis, Yonne
Just seven kilometres south-west of Chablis lies the vine-fringed hamlet of Préhy, where the wine-producing Gueguen family offers accommodation. They have one guest bedroom in their home, which has a flat-screen TV, and a bathroom with shower and toilet. You can take breakfast on the terrace overlooking the vineyards.
A few minutes’ walk away, the Guegens have a renovated gîte, which has two bedrooms that can take up to five people, and a fully equipped kitchen. Other facilities include a swimming pool, heated from May to September, and free Wi-fi. Guests can book a tasting at the house and buy wine from the on-site cellar. B&B from €90; gîte from €110 per night (minimum two nights). Tel: (Fr) 6 08 74 63 85 chablis-gueguen.fr