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Where to go in Paris for Great Wine Tasting

wine glass

French wine is world renowned, and Paris has no shortage of excellent places to taste local wines or take a wine tasting class to further your wine knowledge. We’ve accumulated a short list of some of the best places to enjoy French wine while in Paris, and where one can work on their wine knowledge.

Wine Bars

l’Ecluse Grands Augustins: 

Location: 15 Quai des Grands Augustins; tel. 01/46-33-58-74

Web Address: www.leclusebaravin.com

This wine bar features a wide selection, 57 in fact, of different wines. Including château d’Yquem and château Lafite Rothschild. There’s a wine for any taste preference at this bar, and definitely plenty to satisfy the exploratory pallet.

Le Baron Rouge

Location: 1 rue Théophile Roussel; tel. 01/43-43-14-32

Great wine, great atmosphere, world class staff, and a little something to set them apart from the rest – if you run out of wine in your own wine bottle, they’ll happily refill it for you from one of their wooden barrel casks.

 

Wine Stores

La Dernière Goutte

Address: 6 rue de Bourbon Le Chateau; tel. 01/43-29-11-62

This particular wine store offers a varied selection of estate only wine at very reasonable prices. The wine sold here is not typically available for purchase in the US.

Caves Augé

Address: 116 Blvd Haussmann; tel. 01/45-22-16-97

Web Address: www.cavesauge.com

One of the oldest wine stores in Paris, and features a wonderful selection of artisan wines.

 

Wine Classes

BKWine

Web Address:  www.bkwine.com

Phone #: tel. 06/80-45-35-70

This company offers very personalized wine classes, with you able to schedule private wine tastings and wine tours, and learn how to select the proper wine for any meal.

Ô Château

Web Address: www.o-chateau.com

Phone #: tel. 01/44-73-97-80

This company offers novice and more advanced wine classes, presented in English by trained sommeliers. You learn about the history of wine, as well as how to select the right bottle.

Bordeaux: Wine Country

Bordeaux 1

When many think of “Bordeaux” they think of wine, and rightly so as the city of Bordeaux, France is the world’s major wine industry capital and home to some of the finest wine.

Bordeaux goes by several nicknames: La Perle d’Aquitaine and La Belle Endormie (Sleeping Beauty). It is also the capital of the Aquitane region in France. The city has a long and colorful history, being originally established around 300 BC by a Celtic tribe – the Bituriges Vvisci – and named Burdigala. In 60 BC the town fell to Roman rule, with the Romans valuing its importance in the production of tin and lead. However, the city was under constant attack, with the Visigoths in 409 AD and Franks in 498, the troops of Abd er Rahman on 732, and the Battle of River Garonne. Events and wars like these lasted all the way through the 12th century, when Bordeaux regained importance by flourishing in the wine trade as the capitol of an independent state under the rule of Edward, the Black Prince. However, it was annexed by France into its territory in 1453, thus ending its wine trade with England. Not too long after, in 1462, Bordeaux obtained a parliament, but it wasn’t until the 16th century that it began regaining its wealth by being a center for the distribution of slaves, sugar, and wine to the West Indies. The 18th century was a golden age for Bordeaux. Many beautiful buildings were built during this period, and even Victor Hugo was so taken with the city he once said “takeVersailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux.” At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian war, the French government even relocated from Paris to Bordeaux (one of three times this would happen).

Today the beautiful city has a population of 239,157 and is the 9th largest city in France. It’s filled with shops (one being the longest shopping street in Europe, the Rue Sainte-Catherine), 12 museums, contemporary architecture, historic and stunning buildings, astoundingly beautiful cathedrals, and acres and acres (287,000 to be exact) of vineyards.

Bordeaux 2

Expanding on the wine industry, for which Bordeaux is best known, there is an astonishing 10,000 wine-producing chateaus and 13,000 grape growers in this city. To top of those numbers, 960 million bottles of wine are produced annually, some of them being among the most expensive wines in the world. Both red and white wines are produced, with the red’s being made from a blend of grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and others, and the white’s made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle.

bordeaux 3

 

The monuments held in this city are also nothing to go unnoticed, with Bordeaux being second only to Paris in its historical monument count – 362. And, the historical buildings found here are very notable, such as the Grande Theatre, which is one of the largest neoclassical theaters in France and was built in the 18th century. You can also, among many other significant buildings, see the remains of the late 2nd century Roman ampitheatre – Palais Gallien.

Palais Gallien

 

 

 

 

 

5 Gifts to Buy While in Paris

With all that Paris has to offer in way of shopping and gifts, it can be hard to select what to take home with you. Airlines can be strict with regulations, lack of space and weight can present a problem when packing them in your luggage, and most of us have a limited budget for bringing things home. However, don’t miss out on snagging an item or two that you can only get while in Paris! We’ve narrowed our list of favorite items to bring home as gifts (or for yourself) to five crucial things:

Chocolate

Specifically chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin’s chocolates. We recommend getting a large variety to take home. These heavenly chocolates will have everyone back home raving, or you can keep them all to yourself.

Address: 231 rue St Honore

Jams, Jellies, Honeys, and Mustards

Parisian’s do condiments very, very well. These are always a sure bet to bring home with you for gifts and to use at home as they travel well, last a while, and will add some real flair to your cooking.

Where to Buy: Any local grocery store

Wine

Perhaps one of our favorite take-home’s from Paris. You’ll have to limit your selection, unfortunately, as airlines are strict and usually only allow 2 or 3 bottles, but these are perfect additions to your home wine collection or for a special gift for a friend. Wine from Paris is a must.

Where to Buy: Local wineries or farms right outside of Paris, boutiques, any grocery store

Salami

Some people aren’t fans of salami, but if you are you can get some great salami in any deli or supermarket in Paris. It keeps pretty well while traveling, and makes for some great sandwiches and pasta toppings. Plus, if you happen to get hungry on your travels, or stuck in an airport, it’s always good to have a gourmet snack on board. If any makes it back home, these can make for great additions to gift baskets or dinner party host gifts.

Orangina

Perhaps one of the most refreshing and tastiest beverages you’ll ever have, cheap, and rarely found in the states. Picking up some Orangina is a must.

Where to Buy: Any local grocery store

 

Where to Eat in Corsica

Chez Serapin

If you want a true “Corsican experience”, head to Chez Seraphin. It’s one of Corsica‘s hidden gems located in the village of Peri. There is no menu offered here, instead you eat what you are served, with the menu changing daily. All vegetables are grown in the restaurant’s own garden, and the meal creations you’ll be served are to die for. Some of the standing favorites are Corsican veal, zucchini flower fritters, brocciu canneloni, and even local charcuterie. Plates are usually around 43 Euros per person with wine included.

U Museu

This beautiful restaurant is located below the citadel entrance and features a gazebo covered terrace you can dine on. It’s not too expensive, and it features some authentic and sumptuous local Corsican dishes. Feast on wilde boar and myrtle, or tripe shallots in a red wine sauce. Don’t forget the mouth watering dessert menu!

Le 20123

This unique restaurant started in the village of Pila Canale, which in-coincidentally has the zip code of 20123. The food is one thing to come for, especially with the daily verbally spoken menu that is around 32 Euros a head, but the decor will keep you staring throughout your meal. The owner has decorated the restaurant with life sized dolls in traditional dress, a water pump, a washing line, and all sorts of tacky yet charming decor.

 

 

French Cheeses

The cheeses of France are just about as well known as the wines of France. There are currently almost 1,000 types of different cheeses, many of which are covered under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union that decreed certain established cheeses are “protected designation of origin (PDO), and other, less stringent, designations of geographical origin for traditional specialities, such as the French appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system, the Italian denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system, and the Spanish Denominación de origen system.” (Wikipedia)

The cheeses are classified under four different categories:

  • Fermier – This is a farmhouse cheese that is produced on the same farm where the milk is produced.
  • Artisanal – A cheese produced in small batches using either their own farm milk or milk purchased elsewhere.
  • Cooperative – An area that has joined together to produce cheese from milk from a local dairy.
  • Industriel: Factory made cheese from local or regional milk.

Some of the most popular French cheeses are:

Camembert

Description: Soft, creamy, ripe surface

Brie de Meaux

Description: Delicate, creamy, soft

Roquefort

Description: Blue cheese made from sheeps milk

Boursin

Description: Soft, creamy, wide variety of flavors, similar to cream cheese

Reblochon

Description: Soft, strong taste

Munster

Description: Very strong in taste, soft

Pont l’Évêque

Description: Soft, creamy, smooth, pungent

Époisses

Description: Reddish orange in color, pungent

Chèvre

Description: Goat cheese

Tomme de Savoie

Description: Mild and semi-firm

 

Corsica, France

Corsica is renowned as one of the most beautiful places in all of France. It’s a French island in the Mediterranean Sea, located west of Italy and southeast of the French mainland. About two-thirds of the island are made up of mountains. The island is technically separated from mainland France, but it is considered part of Metropolitan France legally. Interestingly, here you’ll also find almost equal parts of French and Italian, both in language and culture. The city is also known to be the home of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his old home was turned into a museum.

Most visitors to Corsica visit during the summer, as the city has excellent beaches. Snorkeling, wind surfing, sunbathing, swimming, and scuba diving are just some of the activities available on the beach, all while being surrounded by some absolutely astounding beauty. Quite a few gelato stands, restaurants, and bars rest all along the beach as well, and they are heavily frequented during the evening hours. For those who looking for alternatives to beach activities, there’s also plenty to see in the mountains. There’s a lot of walking trails featured in Corsica, including one that takes 17 days. However, there are also slightly shorter ones such as the Mare e Mare Nord (11 days), the Mare e Mare Sud (5 days), and the Mare e Monti (10 days).

Corsican food is a delightful mix of French and Italian cuisine, which give way to some excellent and very unique dishes. Chestnuts, you’ll find, are a staple in many Corsican foods, and a delicious and unique flavor is often added to dishes by using the local olive oil that is flavored with ripe fruits collected beneath trees. Corsican’s also tend to feature a wide selection of beers, have their own Coke flavor, and some very delicious local wines. If you are able, the Pietra beer is always highly recommended.

 

Tours, France

On the lower ends of the Loire river, stands the city of Tours, between Orleans and the Atlantic Coast. This particular region is known for its divine wines, as well as the alleged perfect French dialect spoken here. The city itself is the largest city in the centre region of France. The Paris-Tours bicycle road race also takes place here.

The city is chock full of great sightseeing:

  • Tours Cathedral: The cathedral of Tours was dedicated to Saint Gatien, who was its canonized first bishop. It was built in 1170 to replace the original one that burnt down in 1166.

  • Jardin botanique de Tours: This is a municipal botanical garden that is free and open daily. It was established in 1843, and contains over 2,000 taxa, including magnolias, water lilies, lotus, bulbs, perrenials, a garden of plant evolution, ponds, a bog, a mediterranean garden, and a heath.
  • Musee des Beaux-Arts de Tours: This is a Museum of Fine Arts and is located in the bishop’s former palace near the cathedral St.Gatien. You can view things such as a stuffed elephant that was killed during a bout of madness at a Barnum and Bailey circus in 1902, over 12,000 works of art, and the Cedar of Lebanon.

Tours is also considered a special place for Catholics who follow the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This is because in 1843, a Carmelite nun, Sister Marie of St Peter, decalerd a vision that started the devotion to the holy face of Jesus in reparation of the insults Christ suffered in his Passion. The Golden Arrow Prayer was also started by the same nun. The Venerable Leop Dupont also lived in Tours around the same time. He started the nightly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament of Tours, which soon spread throughout France. He also helped spread the devotion of the Holy Face of Jesus throughout Europe.

Charming Lyon, France

Located in East-Central France, in the Rhone-Alpes region, is the city of Lyon. Lyon is well known for its historical and architectural landmarks, and is considered the gastronomical capital of France. It’s also well known for its place in the history of cinematography, as Auguste and Louise Lumiere invented the cinematographe here.  Chemical, pharmaceutical, banking, and biotech industries also thrive in the city. There’s a large software industry here, with a large focus on video game production. The headquarters for Interpol, Euronews, and International Agency for Research on Cancer are also located here.

South of the city centre, the Rhone and Saone rivers converge, forming a beautiful peninsula. On the west and north of the city centre are two large picturesque hills. The hill to the west is known as ‘the hill that prays’ and to the north is ‘the hill that works’. On the western hill are several convents, the palace of the Archibishop, and the basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere. On the northern hill lie silk workshops, an industry for which the city has always been known. East of the Rhone river lies the more modern part of the city, and where most of the city’s population resides. North of the latter district is the 6th arrondissement, which is home to the wealthiest residents and Interpol’s headquarters.

Lyon has had the reputation of being the French capital of gastronomy for several centuries, due to a large presence of many of France’s finest chefs in the city and its surrounding areas. The restaurants located here are mainly focused on serving local food and dishes. It is also home to two of the best known wine-growing regions, the Beaujolais to the north and the Cotes du Rhone in the south.

Visitors from all over travel to this city just for it’s architectural sights. Roman ruins as well as an old Roman ampitheatre can be seen here, and are one of the most popular attractions. Also found are:

  • Cathedral of St.John
  • Basilica of St Martin d’Ainay
  • Eglise Saint-Nizier
  • Vieux Lyon
  • Eglise Saint-Bonaventure
  • Opera National de Lyon
  • Basilica of Notre-Dame de fourviere
  • Gare de Lyon Saint Exupery
  • And much, much more

The city also features 9 museums and a slew of parks and gardens, including the Parc de la Tete d’Or (Golden Head Park). It is the largest urban park in France and located in the 6th arrondissement. It features a lake for boating, a zoo with giraffes and elephants and tigers (and more), and has horse riding, and a mini-golf course.

The Castles of Loire Valley

castle 1

Outside of Paris lies the gorgeous Loire Valley – full of rolling hills, vineyards, delicious wine, and astonishingly gorgeous old castles. Over three hundred castles were built in the valley between the 10th century and the 16th century, some as fortifications and some as symbols of wealth and power. The Loire became a favorite location of French royalty throughout time. Today. some of the castles are privately owned and open to the public for viewing, others are used as hotels, and still others are operated by the government and displayed as tourist attractions.

If you’re looking to make your way outside of Paris for some sights, Loire Valley and its castles are a great choice. Here’s a list of some of the most popular castles to view in this region:

  • Amboise Castle

Amboise Castle

  • Clos Luce

 

Clos Luce

  • Villandry Castle

Villandry Castle

  • Chambord Castle

Chambord Castle

  • Cheverny Castle

Cheverny Cadtle

  • Angers Castle

Angers Castle

Best Paris Travel Guide Books

lonely planet paris travel guide

Anytime you travel abroad, it’s always best to have a quick reference on hand – something to help guide you through the cities and to the best attractions, shopping, hotels, and restaurants. Paris is no exception. With a city this big, and with so much to see and do, a travel guide book is a must have. We did some research for you and have some of the best and most informative guides listed below:

Lonely Planet Paris City Guide

(4 and a half out of 5 stars on Amazon)

Where to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Paris-City-Guide-ebook/dp/B00AR2MS1A/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1360109755&sr=8-4&keywords=lonely+planet+paris

Lonely Planet Description: “Paris has a timeless familiarity for first-time and frequent visitors, with more architectural icons than any other city along with glorious food, stylish shopping and priceless artistic treasures.” – Catherine Le Nevez, Lonely Planet Writer

Our Promise
You can trust our travel information because Lonely Planet authors visit the places we write about, each and every edition. We never accept freebies for positive coverage so you can rely on us to tell it like it is.

Inside This Book…
Full color guide
Free pull-out city map
350+ top dining experiences
100 of the best places to stay
12 awe-inspiring panoramas
3 museums devoted to fashion
1 gold flying carpet
Comprehensive map section
Feature coverage of top sights
Range of planning tools
In-depth background on Paris architecture

 

Fodor’s Paris 2013 Travel Guide

(4 and a half stars out of 5 on Amazon)

Where to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Fodors-Paris-Full-color-Travel-Guide/dp/0307929280/ref=sr_1_3_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360109893&sr=1-3&keywords=paris+travel+guide

Fodor’s Description: Expanded Coverage: Paris is always changing, and this edition captures the City of Light’s hottest new restaurants and hotels.

Illustrated Features: Rich color features help travelers make the most of top experiences, from visiting awe-inspiring Notre-Dame and Versailles to seeing top artwork in the Musee du Louvre and exploring the Seine on foot or by boat. Restaurant and shopping spotlights highlight the best options in each neighborhood.

Indispensable Trip Planning Tools: Paris’s top attractions and museums are broken down at a glance, as are the top itineraries, best bets for restaurants and lodging, and what to do with kids or without. Each neighborhood has a convenient overview with highlights and practical advice for getting around and planning a visit. The pull-out city map, complete with Metro map, includes top attractions, nearby dining, and great walks.

Discerning Recommendations:  Fodor’s Paris 2013 offers savvy advice and recommendations from local writers to help travelers make the most of their time. Fodor’s Choice designates our best picks, from hotels to nightlife.  “Word of Mouth” quotes from fellow travelers provide valuable insights.

TripAdvisor Reviews: Our experts’ hotel selections are reinforced by the latest customer feedback from TripAdvisor. Travelers can book their Paris stay with confidence, as only the best properties make the cut.

 

Frommer’s Paris 2013

(4 and a half out of 5 stars on Amazon)

Where to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Frommers-Paris-2013-Color-Complete/dp/1118287649/ref=sr_1_6_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360109893&sr=1-6&keywords=paris+travel+guide

Frommer’s Description:

  • Full-color throughout.
  • Free full-color, foldout map.
  • Completely updated every year.
  • Insider advice on avoiding the crowds as you explore some of Paris’s greatest gems, from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower. Plus tips for exploring some of Paris’s more offbeat sights, from the eerie Catacombs to the avant-garde Palais de Tokyo museum.
  • Where to find everything from the coolest neo-bistros to the most gourmet Michelin-starred French restaurants. Plus, recommendations for the hippest wine bars and the best food markets, from the Marché d’Aligre to the grand, upscale food halls of Fauchon.
  • Insightful commentary on Paris’s dazzling array of art and architectural masterpieces, from the Cathedrale de Notre-Dame to the Arc de Triomphe, and from Rodin’s The Thinker to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
  • Opinionated reviews. No bland descriptions and lukewarm recommendations. Our expert writers are passionate about their destinations–they tell it like it is in an engaging and helpful way.
  • Exact prices listed for every establishment and activity–no other guides offer such detailed, candid reviews of hotels and restaurants. We include the very best, but also emphasize moderately priced choices for real people.
  • User-friendly features including star ratings and special icons to point readers to great finds, excellent values, insider tips, best bets for kids, special moments, and overrated experiences.