The French Food And Wine Trail That's A Must-Visit For Gourmands

For epicurean travelers, France is a destination where time and money go far. Rich in history, culture, food, and wine, the country has it all — offering visitors a bevy of options they can pick and choose based on what's most important to them, whether that's a class on hunting for truffles or sipping some of the finest vintages in the world.

Those who traverse along a route that begins in Dijon and ends in Cassis will be able to savor regional French cuisines and enjoy highly sought-after wines. Groves of chestnuts, fields of lavender, and picturesque villages invite explorers to learn more about the history of the area while meeting the farmers and entrepreneurs responsible for getting local products into the hands of chefs around the globe. Regional recipes parallel the landscape, and vineyards and orchards take on the unique terroirs of the land. Dishes like beef bourguignon and bouillabaisse will keep travelers sustained while adventuring through different communities — and, of course, there's plenty of wine to keep palates moist.

An adventure for foodies

A compact route that leads food lovers through areas particularly known for their dishes and drinks, the Vallée de la Gastronomie offers culinary delights in ample servings. Start in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, where you can visit wine estates in esteemed appellations — Nuits-Saint-Georges, Beaune, Hospices de Beaune, Meursault, and Châlons-sur-Saône — and learn more about the process of bringing grapes to glasses. In the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, wine connoisseurs will enjoy sampling varieties from Juliénas, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, and Saint-Amour.

After feasting on pâté en croûte and drinking Beaujolais, gourmands can move on to Bouches du Rhône, home to Marseille and the Calanques in Cassis. Local dishes such as daube provençale (a type of beef stew), brousse (a fresh cheese made from sheep's or goat's milk), and other delights from Provence can be accompanied with wines that complement their flavors and textures — Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d'Aix, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône, Tavel, Vacqueyras, and Crozes-Hermitage. These world-class wines can be freely enjoyed before travelers journey to the final point of this epicurean trail: the area surrounding Gard.

Sampling French cuisine

Boasting sandy beaches, marshes, ponds, and meadows, the expansive lands of Southern France's Gard region provide the ingredients necessary to make cod brandade (a baked dip made from cod and potatoes), bull gardiane (a hearty bull stew), stuffed Cévennes onions, sweet chestnut tarts, and loaves of quince bread. Wines labeled specifically with the Costières de Nîmes distinction bring robust and spicy notes to the palate, playing well with these rustic dishes as travelers toast to the end of their tour.

Can't make it to France to sample the delicious cuisine firsthand? You can create your own culinary adventure by whipping up boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, and quiche Lorraine in your kitchen. With careful practice and the right ingredients, dishes that taste as fresh and delicious as those served in the French countryside can be enjoyed right at home. Just be sure to open a bottle of French wine to complete your meal.