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

France - - Contents -

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

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