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Best Rooftop Bars in Paris by Arrondissement

French Side Travel presents the Best Rooftop Bars in Paris! The City of Lights shimmers with romance, history, and undeniable elegance. But beyond the cobblestone streets and iconic landmarks lies another captivating perspective: the Parisian skyline. Imagine sipping a perfectly crafted cocktail as the sun dips below the horizon, or taking in the breathtaking panorama of the Eiffel Tower from a perch above the bustling Champs-Élysées.

ROOF at Hôtel Madame Rêve

1st Arrondissement

Courtesy of Hôtel Madame Rêve

ROOF at Hôtel Madame Rêve transforms the Parisian skyline in the 1st arrondissement. This sprawling rooftop terrace blossoms into a lush urban oasis. Imagine handcrafted cocktails amidst a verdant escape, savoring Japanese-inspired bites with every breathtaking vista. Iconic landmarks like Notre Dame, Pantheon, and Beaubourg emerge against the panoramic Parisian canvas. Unwind in this sanctuary, soak in the city’s magic, and experience a whole new perspective on the City of Lights.

Cocktail of Choice: Summer Garden

Gin Hendrick’s, Plant Caviar, Saint-Germain, & Prosecco

Le Tout-Paris at Cheval Blanc

2nd Arrondissement

Courtesy of Le Tout-Paris

Sip on Parisian perfection at Cheval Blanc. This Michelin-starred brasserie, seven floors above the Seine, boasts a glamorous bar with panoramic city views. Art Deco elegance meets modern energy as you sip innovative cocktails beneath the watchful gaze of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Le Tout-Paris lets you experience the Parisian skyline in a sophisticated and bubbly atmosphere.

Cocktail of Choice: Gamay Rosé

Lemongrass infused Gin, Rosé grape Cordial, Peychaud bitter, & Champagne

Rooftop National at Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers

3rd Arrondissement

© DR

Unwind in style at the trendy rooftop bar of Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers in the 3rd arrondissement. Savor creative cocktails with breathtaking Parisian rooftop views. The Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Coeur peek over the city skyline, creating a magical backdrop for your evening. This vibrant escape offers an unforgettable experience under the Parisian sky.

Cocktail of Choice: Hysteria

Fair Vodka, Passion Fruit, Htheoria Liquor, Matiha Skinos, & Lime Cordial

Bonnie at SO/ Paris

4th Arrondissement

Courtesy of SO/ Paris

Soar above the Parisian skyline at Bonnie, a restaurant, bar, and club perched atop the SO/ Paris hotel in the 4th arrondissement. The Space Age-inspired design transports you to a futuristic wonderland, complete with panoramic views and a mirrored ceiling that creates a trippy, gravity-defying effect. Bonnie isn’t just about the view, though. It offers a chic Parisian atmosphere with a New York twist, serving up creative gourmet dishes from breakfast to dinner.

Cocktail of Choice: 20$ Punch

Rum Flor de Caña 12 años, Amaro Montenegro, Maraschino Luxardo, & Cherry Soda

Dar Mima at the Institut du Monde Arabe

5th Arrondissement

Courtesy of Paris Society

Embark on a journey at Dar Mima, a rooftop gem atop the Institut du Monde Arabe. Savor fragrant cocktails infused with Eastern spices and signature dishes inspired by Fatima Debbouze’s recipes. This unique Parisian escape lets you soak in cityscapes and cultural immersion, all under the twinkling night sky.

Cocktail of Choice: Easal

Cinnamon Nutmeg Rum, Dates, Verjus, & Honey Mousse

Bar de la Dame des Arts at Hôtel Dame des Arts

6th Arrondissement

© Ludovic Balay

Perched atop the Hôtel Dame des Arts, Bar de la Dame des Arts is a Parisian nightlife jewel. Savor bespoke cocktails and Champagne with breathtaking 360-degree views of the City of Lights. Immerse yourself in the vibrant ambiance and create unforgettable memories.

Cocktail of Choice: Aloe-Ha

Tequila Vecinidad, Dry Curaçao, Aloe Vera Syrup, Cucumber, Lime, Salt, & Wasabi

Bramble at Les Ombres

7th Arrondissement

Courtesy of Ducasse Paris

Savor innovative cocktails with a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower at Bramble. Nestled atop the Musée du Quai Branly, this open-air bar offers a unique Parisian experience. Crafted by award-winning mixologist Margot Combat, drinks prioritize local ingredients and minimal waste. It’s a picture-perfect escape for a memorable evening.

Cocktail of Choice: Bramble Negroni

Gin, Campari, Red Vermouth, Blackcurrant Bitter, Absinthe, & Redcurrant

MUN on the Champs Élysées

8th Arrondissement

Courtesy of MUN

Escape to MUN, a rooftop oasis in Paris’ 8th arrondissement. This restaurant transcends dining, offering panoramic cityscapes as your backdrop. Immerse yourself in a glittering boudoir setting, where Asian artistry meets French charm. Savor exquisite Asian cuisine – a feast for both your eyes and your palate. MUN promises an unforgettable sensory experience.

Cocktail of Choice: Sakura

Beefeater 24 Gin infused with Sakura Tea, Saké Rosé, Sakura Shrub, & Raspberry Syrup

Perruche at Printemps Haussmann

9th Arrondissement

Courtesy of Paris Society

Indulge at Perruche, a verdant rooftop haven above Printemps Haussmann. Savor Provençal delights and refreshing cocktails under Parisian skies. Soak in breathtaking city views as plates and laughter are shared with friends. Perruche offers a taste of the good life, season after season.

Cocktail of Choice: Mentonnais

Gin Bombay Sapphire, Italicus, Bergamot Oléo Saccharum, Fresh Lime Juice, & Egg White

The best rooftop bars in Paris offer a taste of the city’s magic alongside breathtaking views. But a rooftop cocktail is just one sip of the Parisian experience. Speak with our experts today to start crafting your perfect Parisian adventure!

Louis Vuitton and His Rise to LVMH Luxury

LV: Two small letters pack a lot of weight. It was nearly two centuries ago that Louis Vuitton launched his luggage brand. Since then, the Louis Vuitton name has only grown in prestige and has also acquired a swath of other brands along the way. Today this luxury goods conglomerate has become one of the leaders in its industry. We’re tracing the path of Louis Vuitton, the brand’s evolution over the centuries and best Louis Vuitton-themed activities in France.

Louis Vuitton and His Rise to LVMH Luxury

Louis Vuitton’s Beginnings

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Louis’ humble beginnings are a far cry from his brand renowned for its luxury. Louis Vuitton was born in eastern France, and following the death of Louis’ mother, his father remarried. The story goes that Louis and his new stepmother didn’t get along, according to Biography. At age 13, he escaped the tension and headed toward Paris on foot. Nearly 300 miles and a couple years later, he finally arrived at his destination after taking different jobs along the way, according to Biography.

Louis Vuitton’s Rise to Prestige

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Once in Paris he began to work as an apprentice under Romain Maréchal, per Britannica. Vuitton remarked that the typically dome-shaped trunks weren’t practical for stacking, per Vogue. Instead, he opted for flat trunks; later, he and his son created and patented their tumbler lock. His trunks were “stackable and far more convenient for shipping via new means of transport like the railroad and steamship,” according to a Biography article. “Most commentators consider Vuitton’s trunk the birth of modern luggage.”

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And for Louis, that made all the difference. In 1852 Napoleon III’s wife hired Louis Vuitton as her personal box-maker and packer, according to Biography.  In 1854, he opened his own workshop close to Place Vendôme, per the Louis Vuitton website

After Louis died, his son Georges took over the business. And we owe the iconic LV monogram design not to Louis but to his son, when he inaugurated this pattern in 1896, according to Vogue.

LVMH: The Growth of the Brand

In 1987, a new era began for Louis Vuitton when LVMH was born. This merger represents Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon champagne, and Hennessy cognac. Over the years, this luxury group acquired Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Hermès, La Samaritaine and many others, according to The Fashion Law. Even more than accessories and prêt-à-porter, LVMH has made its mark on the hospitality industry with its Cheval Blanc hotels. Even more, in 2026 Louis Vuitton plans to open its first hotel in Paris.

In 2023, the Louis Vuitton brand was valued at $23.6 billion, per Statista. With its 75 brands, LVMH garnered 86.2 billion euros in revenue, according to the group. And one-quarter of this revenue came from the United States, per Statista

If you’re looking to dive head first into the luxury world of Louis Vuitton and LVMH’s other brands during your trip to France, we have a plethora of activities to pique your interest in Paris and beyond.

Private Shopping Appointments at Louis Vuitton

On the hunt for the perfect piece at Louis Vuitton? We’ll book you a private appointment so that you can shop in tranquility and, of course, in style.

Guided Tour of the Louis Vuitton Foundation

Louis Vuitton Foundation

Nestled in the cush 16th arrondissement, the Louis Vuitton Foundation showcases nearly a dozen galleries of collections and exhibitions. French Side Travel will organize a private guided tour of the premises. You certainly can’t miss the building: in contrast to the traditional style of LV, the foundation is housed in a modern, geometric building.

Exclusive Shopping Experience with Stylist Advice

Louis Vuitton la Croisette
Photo by Jannis Lucas on Unsplash

Explore the luxury of the fashion capital with a private shopping experience. Spend the afternoon with a personal shopper who will assist you as you browse different Parisian fashion houses. From Louis Vuitton to Chanel, you can enjoy a private appointment at one of these prestigious French houses.

Private Tasting at Hennessy Cognac

Discover the roots of Hennessy Cognac, one of the LMVH’s brands. Wander this brand’s headquarters with a private visit and learn about cognac production. Your guide will explain the ins and outs of the vineyards and the history of the house’s founder Richard Hennessy. 

Your visit will include a private tasting of several eau de vie beverages and a visit to the cellar of various cognacs. If you visit the charming town of Cognac between April and October, your visit will also include a boat ride.

Champagne Tasting in a Secret Cellar

Moët & Chandon Champagne
Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash

Before those champagne bubbles ever meet your lips, it all must start in the vineyards of this French region. Wander the vineyards with your Moët & Chandon ambassador. Make a stop at Fort Chabrol’s private domain and later explore the underground tunnels as you learn about the centuries-old champagne-making process. You’ll also have the chance to better understand the manual disgorging of bottles and bien sûr will sip on several Grand Vintages.

Where to Stay in Paris

Le Ritz
Le Ritz Paris is sure to impress with its regal rooms marked by chandeliers, crown molding and luxurious fabrics. This five-star hotel offers several suites inspired by important figures including Coco Chanel, Marcel Proust and Ernest Hemingway. The hotel also offers cooking classes, spa services, Sunday brunch, and a gourmet menu under the direction of Chef Eugénie Béziat. 

Hôtel de Crillon 
Indulge in a stay fit for a queen at the Hôtel de Crillon. This elegant five-star hotel boasts 78 rooms and dozens of suites, including designs from Karl Lagerfeld. Treat yourself to a romantic dinner at l’Écrin, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. This hotel overlooks the historic Place de la Concorde.

Ready to discover the craftsmanship of Louis Vuitton and other fashion houses in France? French Side Travel is ready to plan your luxurious trip to Paris and beyond. You might be interested in: An unforgettable Fashion and Art Trip to the City of Light or A Historical and Cultural Escape to Paris. Need some help planning your trip?

From Albi to Paris: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

From Claude Monet’s water lilies to the grandeur of Versailles, France is an icon in the world of art. This country has produced or heavily influenced some of the world’s biggest names: Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Van Gogh and beyond. Even more, it’s home to the largest art museum in the world, the Louvre. Although lesser known, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec played an important role in French art history, namely the Art Nouveau and Post-Impressionist movements. From Albi to Paris, we’re exploring Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s roots and legacy, plus best activities inspired by this artist.

From Albi to Paris: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Toulouse-Lautrec Biography

Paul Sescau, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1864, Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was born in Albi, a small town in southwestern France. (We can see why he shortened his name!) He left the small town of Albi for the big city of Paris in 1872. At the age of 8, Toulouse-Lautrec learned art from their family friend Réné Princeteau, according to France Today. He also studied under Léon Bonnat and Fernand Cormon, who also taught Van Gogh, per the Met.

From the get-go, Toulouse-Lautrec struggled with health problems, according to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. Most likely due to intermarriage, he suffered from a congenital bone disease. And in his mid 30s, he died due to alcoholism and syphilis, according to the Met.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s Art Career

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Creating lithography, posters, drawings and paintings, he was a jack-of-all-trades. Toulouse-Lautrec straddles the Art Nouveau and post-impressionist movements. Looking at his work, you’ll notice his raw, emotional perspective. With his unmistakable style, Toulouse-Lautrec often illustrated people in an accentuated, almost clownish manner. 

With many pieces relating to prostitution and brothels, there are dark undertones to Toulouse-Lautrec’s work. “His sympathetic fascination with the marginal in society, as well as his keen caricaturist’s eye, may be partly explained by his own physical handicap,” says Cora Michael in her essay for the Met. “The directness and honesty of the picture testify to Lautrec’s love of women, whether fabulous or fallen, and demonstrates his generosity and sympathy toward them.”

Plagued by the vices of this world and little appreciated in the art community at the time, Toulouse-Lautrec was a tragic hero. Yet his distinguished perspective, subject matter and Montmartre exposition chiseled a legacy on French art history.

Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Like many artists, Toulouse-Lautrec migrated to the bohemian Montmartre neighborhood and conveyed its aura in his art. “The raucous spirit of Montmartre — its unbridled energy, tawdry behavior, garish colors, and provocative celebrities — was both a way to live and a subject to depict,” according to the National Gallery of Art.

And one of his habitual hang-out spots was the Moulin Rouge. And in 1891, he designed his first poster for the cabaret, which still has a room named after him, according to the Moulin Rouge. Toulouse-Lautrec went on to design more posters such as Jane Avril – Jardin de Paris et Divan Japonais

Although he may receive less screen time than Monet and Van Gogh, you can still explore the wealth of art that Toulouse-Lautrec created during his short life. From Albi to Paris, we’re sharing some of our best activities to explore the legacy of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Private Walking Tour to Ancient, Unknown Paris

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Grab your walking shoes as you discover the different architecture styles of Paris for yourself. You’ll wander through Passy and Auteuil and admire the colors of Parisian architecture between 1850 and 1950. From Art Nouveau to Neo-Haussmannian movements, turn back the clock to the time of Toulouse-Lautrec and beyond. Your tour guide will introduce you to some of France’s top architects of the time, such as Le Corbusier and Hector Guimard.

Visit the Moulin Rouge

Discover the cabaret that inspired Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. This Montmartre landmark has been around since the 1800s and played an integral role in Toulouse-Lautrec’s art career and influence.

Take a Montmartre Painting Class

evening in the Place du Tertre and the Sacre-Coeur in Paris, France

Find inspiration and follow in the footsteps of Toulouse-Lautrec by picking up the paintbrush. Whether you’re a beginner or maestro, you can lose track of time as you learn how to paint with local artist Edwidge in the heart of Montmartre.

Visit the Montmartre Museum

Although the Montmartre Museum didn’t open until 1960, its building dates back to the 1600s. Get lost among the masterpieces of Auguste Renoir, Raoul Dufy and beyond. After you’ve admired the museum’s artwork and learned about the neighborhood’s history, take a stroll in its surrounding gardens.

Private Guided Tour through Albi and Cordes-sur-Ciel

Credit: Round Trip Travel

Far from the hustle and bustle of Paris rests the charming town of Albi in southwestern France. Marvel at the majestic Sainte Cécile Cathedral and make your way to the Berbie Palace. Its fairytale-like gardens are just a foretaste of what’s inside. The Berbie Palace is one of the best conserved episcopal palaces and is also home to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. Here, they celebrate this hometown artist with the largest public collection of Toulouse-Lautrec art.

After a short drive from Albi, you’ll fall in love with Cordes-sur-Ciel, named one of the most beautiful French villages. Wander its narrow streets and turn back the clock to a different century as you explore its shops and restaurants.

Where to Stay in Paris

Courtesy of Kimpton Saint Honoré

The Kimpton Saint Honoré Hotel
Be charmed by this five-star hotel’s 149 rooms in the heart of Paris. If you’re looking to stay in, nurse a cocktail at its rooftop bar or unwind at its spa. Looking to explore? You’re just a stone’s throw from the Opera and the Tuileries Gardens.

Courtesy of Château des Fleurs

Château des Fleurs 
Rewind to the Belle Époque with a stay at five-star hotel Château des Fleurs. Enjoy a stay in one of its 37 rooms and admire beautiful Parisian architecture from your bed. Nosh on the hotel’s Franco-Korean fusion menu. Treat yourself to a massage or a facial at its spa. This hotel is a short walk from rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. where Toulouse-Lautrec studied under Princeteau, per France Today.

The world of French art is best experienced first hand, not in a history book or online. French Side Travel is ready to design the perfect trip for any art aficionado. You might enjoy: A Journey Through History, Art, and Nature in Charming France or An unforgettable Fashion and Art Trip to the City of Light. Need some help planning your trip?

Your Guide to the Provence Wine Region

Bright blue waves and year-round sunshine draw many to Provence. But there’s much more to be explored and enjoyed in this region in southern France. This sun-drenched region is also well-known for its breathtaking vineyards and wine selections. With nearly 90% of its wine production being rosé, Provence is rather pink. We’ve curated a guide to the Provence wine region along with the best wine activities in the heart of southern France.

Your Guide to the Provence Wine Region

How to Get to Provence

Walking Tour of Aix-en-Provence

Provence is easily accessible by plane and train. You can fly into the Marseille airport, where our drivers can pick you up to whisk you off to a darling Provençal village or to bustling Marseille. It’s also possible to fly into Paris and then take the high-speed train to Provence destinations such as Avignon, Aix-en-Provence or Marseille. From Paris, reaching Provence takes around three hours in the TGV train.

Overview of the Provence Wine Region

Provençal vineyards are filled with white varieties such as Rolle, Ugni Blanc and Clairette grapes, per Wine Folly. Red grapes grown in Provence include Grenache Noir, Syrah and Cinsault. We owe much to the Phocaeans who founded Marseille around 2,600 years ago because they packed grapevines in their suitcases, according to Vins de Provence. So even before Bordeaux and the Loire Valley, the region of Provence was the first to produce wine, per Vins de Provence.

Out of all French AOP rosé wines, Provence produces nearly half of these pink wines, according to the Vins de Provence’s 2022 report. And these Provence rosé wines aren’t just for the French to enjoy. In 2022, more than 61 million bottles of Provence rosé were exported, per Vins de Provence. And one of the largest export markets for Provence rosés is the United States, which imported about 23.5 million bottles of rosé in 2022.

When it comes to top appellations in Provence, you must get acquainted with Côtes de Provence as it’s the region’s largest producer and is well-known for its rosé, per Wine Folly. Some of our other favorites are Bandol, which is particularly known for its reds, and Cassis, well-loved for its whites. 

Another hallmark name in southern France is Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Although not technically in the Provence wine region, this appellation is worth mentioning for its close proximity. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is on the southern end of the Rhône Valley and will charm you with its reds, per Wine Folly.  

Itching to discover the world-renowned wineries tucked between rows of lavender and olive orchards? We’ve rounded up some of our best Provence wine region activities that will have you begging for seconds.

Private Luxury Gourmet Tour to Aix Country

Begin your luxurious tour in the charming town of Aix-en-Provence, known for its moss-covered fountains. Wander its cobblestone streets on a private walking tour and discover the secrets of this city founded by the Romans in the second century B.C. You’ll also find yourself enchanted by its many markets, where your food expert will show you around. Indulge in Provence’s many specialities from its tapenade spreads to calisson candies, honey to cheeses.

After you’ve eaten like a true Aixois, our driver will introduce you to the romantic Luberon Valley, one of the top Provence wine region destinations. During the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a cellar visit of a local vineyard followed by a tasting of three wines. Sip on a glass of the Côtes de Provence appellation with a backdrop of rolling Provençal vineyards in quaint villages such as Lourmarin or Ménerbes. Oh là là !

Private Food and Wine Tour to Avignon Country

Turn back the clock with a visit to the medieval town of Avignon. This charming town is a destination in and of itself with its rich historical significance and ancient architecture. Even more, it’s only a stone’s throw away from some of Provence’s best wineries and vineyards. Admire the Gothic architecture of the Pope’s Palace and see the Pont d’Avignon, a bridge that inspired a children’s nursery rhyme any French child could croon with you. The city boasts exquisite restaurants, but for lunch, we recommend that you stroll its markets to taste the region’s best flavors. Following your authentic meal, our wine expert will meet you to sample several glasses of the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. 

Guided Wine Tour of the Châteauneuf du Pape Appellation

Photo by Eric Masur on Unsplash

After just a short drive from the historically rich town of Avignon, you have some of the best Provençal wine appellations at your fingertips. Your day will begin with a visit to Gigondas as you wander vineyards in this famed appellation. After you sip on a flight of wine, nosh on an authentic dish at a French restaurant in the village. Later, our driver will guide you to another wine tasting with the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Taste some of this region’s best red and white wines all with a postcard-worthy village backdrop.

Where to Stay in Provence

Domaine de Fontenille
This four-star hotel is located in the lush Luberon Valley and invites you in to a cozy stay in one of its 21 rooms. Savor an authentic French meal made with the freshest ingredients from the hotel’s vegetable garden. Unwind with a yoga class or explore the Luberon horseback during your stay at the Domaine de Fontenille.

Courtesy of Château de Fonscolombe

Château de Fonscolombe
After discovering the wealth of the Provence wine region, rest your head at this five-star hotel. The Château de Fonscolombe will woo you with its 50 elegantly decorated rooms and its manicured gardens just a hop, skip and a jump away from Aix-en-Provence.

Longing to taste the riches of the Provence wine region for yourself? French Side Travel is ready to help you organize a magical trip to savor the best of the Provençal wine. You might enjoy: A Perfect Cultural and Culinary Stay in the Beautiful Provence or Culture and Gastronomy in Provence. Need some help planning your trip?

Your Gourmet Guide to French Regional Specialties

Partake in a culinary journey throughout the regions of France, where each region boasts distinctive flavors and gastronomic delicacies. With 13 administrative regions nestled within metropolitan France, this country is your playground for epicurean delights.

We’re taking you from the snow-capped Alps to the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean, displaying each corner of France that offers a tantalizing array of specialty dishes and foods to ignite your senses. Join us as we explore these French regional specialties, inviting you on this luxurious gastronomic adventure.


Many know this region in eastern France for its stunning Alpine landscapes, including the majestic Mont Blanc, and for its ski resorts. However, there are many fine wines and culinary delights such as the city of Lyon’s gastronomic scene for you to explore as well.

Indulge in an unforgettable week experiencing the best of Lyon’s unique gastronomy: Luxury Gourmet Week in Lyon

Fondue Savoyarde, French Alps
Credit: Yann Allegre

Regional Specialty: Fondue Savoyarde 

The locals serve this decadent melted cheese dish with bread and cured meats. It is perfect for an après-ski in mountain dining experience in this region. 

Fondue has both Swiss and French backgrounds, dating back to the 17th century. It uses a mixture of cheeses from both countries. Today, a typical recipe requires equal parts of Comté and Beaufort, two of France’s top mountain cheeses, along with an equal portion of Swiss Gruyère.

Ready to hit the slopes? Check out: Ski Vacation in Chamonix


This region in eastern France boasts picturesque vineyards and charming medieval towns. It’s famous for its prestigious Burgundy wines, exquisite cuisine, and scenic countryside. Check out: Wine Tours in Lyon, Dijon & Champagne

Coq au vin, Burgundy

Regional Specialty: Coq au Vin

This classic French dish embodies the rich flavors of Burgundian cuisine. Coq au vin contains chicken braised in red wine, lardons, and mushrooms. The key ingredient is local Burgundy red wine that chefs use to marinate and cook the chicken and to create the flavorful sauce that completes this artisanal dish. 


Located in northwest France, Brittany is famed for its rugged coast, ancient Celtic heritage, and delicious seafood. Picturesque villages, historic sites, and vibrant cultural festivals draw visitors to the region.

Regional Specialty: Breton Crêpes

You cannot visit France without having tasted an artisanal classic, crêpes. This specialty, which originated in 13th-century Brittany, is described as thin pancakes, which can be sweet or savory. Crêpes, not to be confused with galettes, are typically made with wheat flour. Top your crêpes with sweet flavors such as Nutella, caramel, fruits, or the French favorite, crème de marron. While galettes, made with buckwheat flour, are typically accompanied by more savory flavors such as ham, cheese, and eggs.

Hungry for more? Check out: Beginner’s Guide to French Crêpes

Centre-Val de Loire

Locals and visitors alike celebrate this region in central France for its majestic châteaux, picturesque countryside, and the iconic Loire Valley, often referred to as the “Garden of France.” It’s a paradise for wine enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Tart Tatin, Loire Valley

Specialty Dish: Tarte Tatin

Those who have a sweet tooth will want to indulge in this classic French dessert created back in the 1880s by the Tatin sisters. Described as an upside-down caramelized apple tart, this delectable dessert embodies the elegance and refinement of the Loire Valley. It includes all the elements in a perfect treat with a crunchy base, a fruity interior (typically apples, and some sweet caramel glaze. 

Entice your taste buds and discover the true flavor of the Loire Valley: Flavors of the Loire Valley


Known for its pristine beaches, rugged mountains, and vibrant Mediterranean culture, Corsica offers opportunities for luxury seaside retreats, outdoor adventures, and indulgent cuisine featuring fresh seafood and local specialties.

Corsica, Fiadone

Specialty Foods: Fiadone & Brocciu cheese

Fiadone, a traditional Corsican cheesecake made with brocciu cheese, showcases the island’s unique culinary heritage and local ingredients. Eggs, lemon zest and sugar are also included in this dish. This regional delight is creamy on the inside and golden brown on the outside.

Brocciu is prepared with goat’s or sheep’s milk and is described as soft, creamy, and sometimes foamy. Nineteenth-century Emile Bergerat French poet once said, “Those who haven’t tasted it don’t know the island”. This cheese has its seasons for the best time to taste it, which is in the winter between December and April. 

Check out: Luxury Stay in Southern Corsica

Grand Est

Rich history, diverse landscapes, and charming towns characterize this region in northeastern France. Grand Est is home to picturesque vineyards, scenic countryside, and the historic city of Strasbourg, home to the European Parliament.

Alsace, Choucroute Garnie

Specialty Dish: Choucroute Garnie

Choucroute Garnie, French for dressed sauerkraut, is a hearty dish symbolizing the France-German culinary influences of this region. The name also hints at its lavishness. This dish consists of sauerkraut expertly cooked with the subtle essence of Alsatian wine, enriched with decadent goose fat, and infused with aromatic juniper. Delight in a lavish array of charcuterie, featuring succulent slabs of pork and a variety of exquisite sausages, all served atop a bed of tender potatoes, ensuring a truly unforgettable culinary experience of this region.

Discover: Gourmet Delights in the Heart of Alsace


Located in northern France, this region is famous for its iconic landmarks such as the white cliffs of the Opal Coast and the historic city of Lille. It offers a blend of cultural heritage, culinary delights, and opportunities for luxury shopping and leisure.

Carbonnade Flamande, Northern France, hauts-de-France

Specialty Dish: Carbonnade Flamande 

Also known as Flemish beef stew, it represents the comforting and robust flavors of northern French cuisine. Carbonnade flamande champions hearty beef cooked with beer and caramelized onions. The sumptuous, glossy gravy and melt-in-your-mouth beef offer a comforting embrace, making it an ideal dish to savor during the chillier months.

Most “Estaminet” restaurants, a traditional type of eatery found in this region of northern France, have this specialty on the menu. They serve hearty, traditional French cuisine with an emphasis on using local ingredients and having an old-world ambiance.


We love Normandy for its picturesque coastline, historic sites, and rich culinary traditions. Here you can explore charming seaside towns, sample gourmet cheeses, and ciders, and discover the region’s pivotal role in world history.

Moules Marinères, Mussels, Moules Frites, Normandy

Specialty Dish: Moules Marinières 

An ideal choice for seafood lovers and an essential culinary experience if you wish to immerse yourself in traditional French cuisine. This beloved classical dish involves fresh mussels cooked within a savory broth of white wine, garlic, and herbs. It brings together this coastal region’s delicate flavors of seafood and dairy products. The origin of the Moules Marinières recipe stems from an efficient approach to preparing mussels, highlighting the innate flavors of the seafood to shine through.

Ready to embark on a culinary journey? A Road Trip Through Normandy for Foodies

Nouvelle Aquitaine

Situated in southwestern France, this region is famed for its diverse landscapes, from the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast to the lush vineyards of Bordeaux. It offers opportunities for luxury wine tours, gourmet dining experiences, and outdoor adventures in the Pyrenees mountains.

Foie Gras, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Bordeaux,

Specialty Food: Foie Gras

Not only is this region famed for wine and amazing landscapes, but also its world-renowned cuisine. There are a few specialties from this region to include the most famous foie gras. This culinary specialty is a popular holiday delicacy in France renowned for its exquisite flavor and velvety texture. Foie gras comes from the specially fattened liver of ducks or geese. According to French law, “foie gras is part of the cultural and gastronomic heritage protected in France.” 

Unique Experience: Gourmet Walking Tour of Bordeaux

You can have the opportunity to embark on a gourmet journey through Bordeaux with our private walking tour. Led by a knowledgeable foodie guide, you can explore the city’s culinary treasures, from artisanal coffee and chocolate to local pastries and iconic specialties. Indulge in 10 tastings, including cheese and wine at the historic Covered Market, culminating in a delightful meal at a renowned bistronomic restaurant, accompanied by Bordeaux’s finest wines:


Occitanie known for its Mediterranean climate, picturesque countryside, and historic cities such as Toulouse and Montpellier is a paradise for wine enthusiasts, offering access to renowned vineyards in regions like Languedoc and Roussillon.

Cassoulet, Occitanie, French Regional Specialties

Specialty Dish: Cassoulet

Cassoulet is named for the dish it is traditionally baked in – a cassole. This hearty stew contains white beans, duck, sausage, and pork, representing the rustic and flavorsome cuisine of the Languedoc region. The cassoulet from Toulouse uses duck confit and French garlic sauces, a delicacy of that area. 

Pays de la Loire

Positioned in western France, this region is renowned for its fairy-tale châteaux, scenic rivers, and charming towns. It’s an ideal destination for luxury river cruises, cultural excursions, and gourmet dining experiences along the Loire River.

French Regional Specialties, Rillettes de Porc
Courtesy of Sarthe Tourism

Specialty Food: Rillettes de Porc

This dish showcases the region’s dedication to artisanal craftsmanship and gastronomic tradition. Pork rillettes, a beloved French lunch or snack, pairs beautifully with crusty bread and creamy French butter, garnished with tender pork and served alongside cornichons. Additionally, rillettes consist of slow-cooked pork or poultry in its own fat, resulting in a flavorful and indulgent dish, much like duck confit, but it is served shredded.

Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur

Situated in southeastern France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is famed for its stunning Mediterranean coastline, picturesque villages, and vibrant cultural scene. It offers opportunities for luxury villa rentals, wine tasting in Provence, and indulgent seaside escapes on the French Riviera.

Bouillabaisse, Provence, South of France, Gourmet Guide, French Regional Specialties

Specialty Dish: Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse stands as a quintessential culinary treasure traditionally from the Mediterranean region of Provence. Originating in Marseille, where it holds a very symbolic status, this dish comprises a rich fish soup served with garlic-infused bread croutons slathered with rouille, accompanied by fish pieces and potatoes.

Contemporary Provençal bouillabaisse showcases locally sourced rockfish simmered in a flavorful court-bouillon made with water or white wine, infused with garlic, olive oil, and sometimes saffron. The preparation of today’s bouillabaisse soup follows a specific charter, which mandates that they must cut the fish in front of you. At the Miramar, one of the founding members of the charter, bouillabaisse must be crafted with at least six varieties of rockfish. 

Ready to tantalize your taste buds and embark on a culinary adventure through France? Speak with our experts today to dive deeper into these regional specialties!

Your Guide to the Loire Valley Wine Region

Somewhere in between bustling Paris and sun-drenched southern France lies the Loire Valley. This region of France is particularly known for its hundreds of castles. But its Renaissance architecture isn’t all this French region boasts. The Loire Valley is sprinkled with vineyards, which spread across 220 square miles, per Vins du Val de Loire. From Sauvignon Blanc to Muscadet, from Cabernet Franc to Vouvray, we’re exploring the best of the Loire Valley wine region.  

Your Guide to the Loire Valley Wine Region

How to Get to the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley spreads across a 170-mile stretch. This region is accessible by plane at the Tours Val de Loire Airport. But France’s robust train system is also a fantastic way to explore the Loire Valley. We recommend flying into Paris and then taking a train to one of the larger towns in the Loire Valley such as Tours, Orléans or Angers. If you’re looking to explore wine country, it’s best to have a vehicle in order to best discover the region and its terroir. French Side Travel is able to coordinate drivers and luxury transportation for you during your trip to the Loire Valley wine region. That means you can focus more on wine and less on logistics.

Overview of the Loire Valley Wine Region

Credit: DalGobboM via Wikimedia Commons

With around 50 appellations, the Loire Valley is one of France’s largest wine regions. Nearly half of the Loire Valley’s wine production is white wine; about one quarter of its production is rosé wine, according to Vins du Val de Loire. The Loire Valley also produces red wines and sparkling wines.

Within the Loire Valley wine region, there are several sub-regions: the Central Vineyards, Touraine, Anjou-Saumur, and the Pays Nantais, according to MasterClass

Loire Valley Grape Varieties and Wines

The main grape varieties grown in the Loire Valley wine region include: Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne, per Wine Folly.

When traveling to the Loire Valley wine region, be sure to sip on a glass of Vouvray. This white wine is made with Chenin Blanc grapes and can be found in different styles from sparkling to dry, according to Wine Folly.

If you have a hankering for even more white wine, look no further than a glass of Muscadet, which is made of Melon de Bourgogne grapes, per Divine Loire. This wine region produces more than 10 million bottles of this dry white wine each year, according to Vins du Val de Loire.

If you fancy reds, no need to fret. The Loire Valley will swoon with its Côt grapes in the Touraine sub-region.

Thirsty for more of the Loire Valley? French Side Travel offers many wine activities in this wine region. Whether you’re craving a glass of red Chinon or a flute of Vouvray, we have the perfect tour for you. Here are some of the best wine activities in the Loire Valley.

Full-Day Wine Tour of the Loire Valley

Spend the entire day immersing yourself in the enchanting Loire Valley wine region. Located near the Château de Chenonceau, this domain ferments its wines in troglodyte cellars, or underground caves. Later you’ll wander another winery not far from the Château Royal d’Amboise. Here you’ll stroll its vineyards and troglodytic cellars. Your wine-themed day will also include a deep dive into the Vouvray appellation known for its glossy hue. Speak with the winemakers themselves as you uncover their craft.

Private Domain Tour and Meal in a Troglodyte Cave 

Discover the charming town of Chinon and delve into the local culture in this Loire Valley village. You’ll begin your visit with a trip to a domain as you wander the estate and its wine cellar. Your day will include a wine tasting of two whites, one rosé and three red wines. Your wine tasting will be followed by a gourmet meal either in a troglodyte cave or, if the weather is on your side, along the Vienne river. 

Guided Tour of Vouvray, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Chinon Appellations

With more than 50 appellations to explore in the Loire Valley, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Let us help by introducing you to three of our favorites: Vouvray, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Chinon. Your personal guide will introduce you to three different wineries in the Loire where you’ll discover the winemaking journey. Then wander the underground cellars and sip on a variety of wines produced in the region.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley

Relais de Chambord
A mere four minutes from the Château de Chambord, this hotel is at the heels of royalty. With 16th century roots, this four-star hotel offers 55 unique rooms, including a boat suite. After a day of castle exploration, you can dine at one of the hotel’s restaurants. We’re certain that you’ll be tempted by its herb-crusted venison at Le Grand Saint-Michel or a café gourmand at Les Armes du Château.

Les Sources de Cheverny
Settle in with a stay at this cozy chic five-star hotel. Nestled between Chambord and Chenonceau châteaux, les Sources de Cheverny will enchant you with its 49 rooms and suites. Be tempted by its wooded suite overlooking the lake and featuring a Nordic bath. After a full day of winery tours, unwind at the hotel’s thermal bath or hammam all with the perfect backdrop of the forest.

Enchanted by the Loire Valley wine region? French Side Travel is ready to help you plan a magical trip to experience the best of the French wine. You might enjoy: The Gorgeous Loire Valley by Bike or Luxury Trip to Paris, Normandy, and Loire Valley. Need some help planning your trip?

Your Guide to the Bordeaux Wine Region

The city of Bordeaux is known for its cannelé pastries and its regal Haussmanian-style architecture. But above all, Bordeaux is synonymous with wine. Named the wine capital of the world, this town is especially known for its red wines and boasts 53 appellations per Wine Folly. From the Left Bank Médoc to the Right Bank Libournais, from Bordeaux Blanc to Sauternais, we’re diving into the world of Bordeaux wines. And we’re breaking down the Bordeaux wine region with its classifications and terroir, plus the best wine activities in Bordeaux.

Your Guide to the Bordeaux Wine Region

How to Get to Bordeaux

Nicknamed “le petit Paris,” Bordeaux boasts beautiful architecture, exquisite restaurants and certainly quality wine. Located in western France near the Atlantic Coast, the city is accessible by plane and train. The Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport offers international flights, and the city is only a short 2-hour TGV train ride from Paris.

Grape Types and Classifications

wine producer | French Side Travel

The Bordeaux wine region utilizes six main grape varieties, per Vins de Bordeaux. The principal red grape varieties include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. We recommend sipping on wines from the Left Bank Médoc and Right Bank Libournais regions. Bordeaux may be known for its reds, but don’t overlook its whites. The main white grape varieties are Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Be sure to taste some Bordeaux Blanc and Sauternais wines.

There are five established Bordeaux wine classifications such as the Grand Crus Classés en 1855 and the Grands Crus de Saint Émilion.  We owe the former to Napoleon III, who started this classification for Bordeaux wineries following the 1855 World’s Fair, per Wine Folly. Since the creation of this classification, the criteria has barely budged and still remains an important litmus test in the wine world. “One hundred and fifty years after its drafting it remains one of the most authoritative references in the world of wine,” says Dewey Markham Jr. on the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855 site.

What’s a Cru?

Credit: Photo by Maxime Kirschner on Unsplash

Cru refers to “a great or superior growing site or vineyard, a concept linked to the French notion of terroir,” writes Lauren Mowery in a Wine Enthusiast article. “Soil, climate, altitude, aspect and the right variety create a synergy recognized as a cru.”

Earning the Cru label varies throughout France, but in the Bordeaux wine region, it’s linked to a certain château or domain, not just the vineyard, according to Wine Enthusiast. Regardless of how the classifications define their tiers, the Grand Cru label establishes a mark of quality.

Whether you’re a red or white wine lover, the Bordeaux wine region awaits. We’ve rounded up some of the best wine activities in Bordeaux.

La Cité du Vin

You might be thinking, I’ve already been to dozens of museums. France abounds with museums of all types from art to history, culture to castles. La Cité du Vin isn’t like just any other museum. From its geography to grape varieties, its history to packaging, this wine museum dives into the oenological industry and culture. Whether it’s virtual grape-treading or sniffing different notes, the museum’s different rooms invite you into an immersive experience. Hear from winemakers from multiple continents and learn about the terroirs across the globe. Best of all, your visit ends with a complimentary glass of wine with a panoramic view of Bordeaux. French Side Travel can also secure private workshops for you and your group’s visit to the Cité du Vin.

Guided Visit of a Château in the Graves Appellation

Spend the afternoon exploring one of only a handful properties to be classified in both red and white wines according to the 1953 Graves classification. This domain dates back to the 1700s, and today you can admire its acres of vineyards, which are lined with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sémillon grapes.

Indulge in a private tour of this domain as you discover its history, winery and vineyards. After you’ve visited this elegant estate, the chef will prepare you a gourmet lunch with delectable wine pairings. 

Full-Day Visit to Saint-Émilion and Pomerol

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Delve into the rich wine region of Bordeaux with a private guided tour as you discover the Saint-Émilion, Fronsac, and Pomerol appellations. In addition to tasting the Saint Émilion appellation, you will discover the Saint Émilion terroir as your driver shows you the region and its vineyards. Begin your day with a visit to the château of a Saint-Émilion grand cru classé producer. Learn all about the six generations of this family-run business and explore the vineyards and underground cellars. Later, you’ll enjoy a private tasting featuring Saint-Émilion grand crus, reds from Pomerol, and even a white confidential cuvée.

Bordeaux Grand Crus Workshop

Delve into the world of Bordeaux wines and their gradation techniques. From Saint Émilion to Pomerol, you’ll learn the ins and outs of these world-renowned wines with an oenological expert. Your private workshop will include tastings of three Grand Crus. Santé !

Guided Tour of the Médoc Wine Region

Immerse yourself in the world of the Médoc appellation. Enjoy a drive through the vineyards before you visit two châteaux. The first domain on your itinerary produces Margaux deuxième grand crus and will charm you with its architecture dating back to the 1600s. After exploring this estate, you’ll enjoy lunch in charming town of Pauillac before visiting two more domains.

Wine and Cheese Pairing Workshop

Start your gastronomic adventure in the heart of Bordeaux. This sommelier-led workshop will introduce you to the theory and hands-on activities as you learn how to pair different wines and cheeses.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux

InterContinental Bordeaux
If you’re in search of a regal experience while in Bordeaux, look no further than a stay at the InterContinental. Their 130 rooms and suites could’ve jumped right out of a movie scene; its Opera views, crown moldings and thoughtful decoration are sure to delight. For true wine lovers, we must recommend booking a stay in the Wine Bar Suite. Yes, you read that right: a room with its own private wine bar with Grands Crus by the glass service. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant also has taken residence in the InterContinental. Book a romantic, chic dinner for two at Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay, where you can feast on a Michelin-decorated menu. You might want to start studying the menu as there are over 500 wines to choose from.

Hotel de Pavie
A bit outside of Bordeaux, Hotel de Pavie is worth the trek. This five-star hotel is located in Saint-Emilion and best be on every wine aficionado’s bucket list. Hotel de Pavie has worn many hats over the years: convent, dance hall and hotel restaurant. No matter your style, this hotel has a variety of rooms and suites located in their Bell Tower, Village and Suite houses. Enjoy a meal at Chef Yannick Alléno’s La Table de Pavie. This Michelin-awarded chef will tempt you with his caviar paired with a smoky eel sauce or roasted pigeon paired with a walnut purée. But the likelihood is that you came to Bordeaux for the wine. This hotel restaurant’s sommelier is here to help you. You can opt for a food and wine pairing with a variety of different wines.

Learning about the Bordeaux wine region making your thirsty for a glass of red? French Side Travel is ready to help you plan the perfect trip to experience the best of the French wine industry. Check out our Guide to French Wine. Here are some itineraries we think you might enjoy: A Road Trip Through Bordeaux and Dordogne’s Nature and Wine Country or The Essence of Bordeaux and it’s Region. Need some help planning your trip?

The Beginner’s Guide to French Wine

Rouge, rosé ou blanc — if only it were that simple! With more than 3,000 wines crafted in France, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. From sunlight to temperature, barrel storage to grape variety, there’s so much that goes into the creation of what goes into a wine glass. And within a country as diverse as France, each of its dozen or so wine regions offers a unique taste and perspective on this timeless beverage. We’re going back to the basics of winemaking with our beginner’s guide to French wine and our favorite wine activities.

The Beginner’s Guide to French Wine

History of Wine

wine cave | wine tasting | Wine Tour

Grape fermentation is nothing new; in fact, it can be traced all the way back to 4000 B.C. Along with many mentions of wine in the Bible, evidence has been found in Egyptian records mentioning winemaking from 2500 B.C., according to Britannica. Since then, wine has grown to many corners of the globe. In France, the retail wine industry generated 4.64 billion euros in 2021, according to Statista. On average, the French drink 47 liters of wine per capita.

Red, Rosé or White

The three main categories of wine are fairly straightforward and can be found across wine regions in France. But within these categories, the possibilities abound, considering that there are more than 10,000 existing grape varieties.

Several popular grape varieties often used in red wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah, per Food & Wine. Bordeaux is particularly known for its red wines.

Among many others, white wine grape varieties include Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc, according to USA Wine Ratings. The wine regions of Alsace and Loire Valley are well-known for their white wines, per .

Unfortunately, pink grapes don’t exist yet! In order to achieve that gorgeous rosé color, winemakers must have the red grapes’ skins touch wine but not for long, per Wine Folly. “Where some red wines ferment for weeks at a time on red grape skins, rosé wines are stained red for just a few hours,” according to this Wine Folly article. For a crisp glass of rosé, we recommend heading to Provence or the Riviera.

AOP: Is This Wine Legit?

old cellar of winery, in Burgundy

Not all wines are created equal. And that’s why France and Europe have adopted the AOC and AOP labels respectively, according to the Ministry of Economy. In short, these labels are stamps of authenticity. So many foods, beverages and local products are based on tradition, geography and heritage. And this label seeks to protect the genuinity of these products. For example, a sparkling white wine cannot be called champagne unless it’s produced in the Champagne region of France.

In France, there are more than 400 registered AOP labeled wines. As you’re browsing wine labels, keep your eyes peeled for the AOC or AOP label to ensure that it’s legit.

French Wine Masters: Sommeliers

It’s clear that wine isn’t just any beverage. The wine industry demands expertise on many factors: grape varieties, tannins, age, region, climate. Enter sommeliers, or trained wine experts. The sommelier or sommelière is responsible for understanding the different types of wines and liquors. They often work in Michelin-starred restaurants or wine bars and guide diners in their wine choice and pairing, per Onisep. France has specific studies and diplomas based on sommellerie, but there are different levels of sommeliers, such as commis sommelier and chef sommelier. 

Within the global wine industry, there are several covetable certifications with two being: Master of Wine and Master Sommelier. “The Master of Wine program is more academic as compared to the Master Sommelier program,” says master sommelier Mathias Camilleri in a Michelin article. “The Master Sommelier program focuses on the dining experience in restaurants and trains sommeliers to understand, recommend and serve the guests in the most optimal conditions.” 

Regardless of the MW or MS titles, both require multiple exams, which prove to be no easy feat. It takes a minimum of three years to earn the Master of Wine certification, and only 417 people have earned this title since its inception in 1953, according to the organization’s site. There are four levels to becoming a master sommelier. Fewer than 300 people have earned the MS title since the creation of the Court of Master Sommeliers in 1969, per CMS.

With wine harvested all across France, there’s much to be explored and tasted in the French wine industry. French Side Travel offers a smorgasbord of wine-related activities and would be delighted to organize your trip. Here is just a smattering of our favorite wine activities in France:

An Evening of Rosé Tasting Paired with Nice Street Food 

Spend the soirée with a sommelier and cookbook author as you discover the refreshing rosé wines produced in Provence and the French Riviera. Taste several types of rosé and pair them with local street food. Bon appétit !

Wine Harvest Morning 

person cutting grapes from vineyard

Roll up your sleeves because this activity will put you to work as you discover the intricate wine-making process. Grab your boots and some pruning clippers, and head out to the vineyards where you’ll pick from the vines. Then return to the cellar and discover how they will be fermented and transformed.

Picnic at Château des Jacques 

Savor a glass of French wine in the midst of its terroir. Spend the afternoon over a picnic at the Château des Jacques, which is located in the Beaujolais region. Snack on sausages, bread, fruit and, of course, a bottle of Beaujolais.

Bordeaux Grand Crus Workshop

summer highlights in the bordeaux region

Delve into the world of Bordeaux wines and their gradation techniques. From Saint Émilion to Pomerol, you’ll learn the ins and outs of these world-renowned wines with an oenological expert. Your private workshop will include tastings of three Grand Crus. Santé ! Check out our Guide to the Bordeaux Wine Region.

Private tasting at Philippe Le Bon Tower 

city Dijon and its church

Located in the Burgundy wine region, Dijon is home to the Philippe le Bon tower. Enjoy the panoramic views of this town from this tower as you sip on a glass of white from the Domaine de la Cras. Your exclusive evening will also include a sampling of apéritifs and appetizers.

Where to Stay in France

Hotel Villa La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade
Calling all wine lovers and art aficionados. Hotel Villa La Coste is a luxury hotel in Provence boasting five stars and 28 villa suites. You could spend hours wandering this luxury hotel grounds with its spa, library, vineyard, bar and restaurants. The hotel is situated in the Château La Coste domain, which also boasts various art exhibitions. We’re sure you’ll be tempted by its Pool Villa Suite, complete with a private patio and pool. This luxury hotel also offers an art and architecture tour and wine tasting during your stay.

Les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux
Tucked south of Bordeaux, les Sources de Caudalie is a five-star palace hotel located in the Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyards. Escape from the city center with a stay in one of these 61 rooms and suites in Martillac. You can’t miss a visit to its Vinothérapie Spa where you can enjoy a Crushed Cabernet scrub. Not only will you drink well, but you’ll also dine well at its Michelin-starred restaurant La Grand’Vigne.

France’s various wine regions offer an array of activities to be savored and enjoyed. French Side Travel is ready to help you plan the perfect trip to experience the best of the French wine industry. You might enjoy: Burgundy’s VIP Wine Tour Experience or Luxury Gourmet & Oenological Trip to Beautiful Provence. Need some help planning your trip?

Epic France Bucket List: By Air, Land and Sea

From strolling the historic halls of the Louvre to marveling at its Renaissance castles, France offers endless dreamy experiences. But perhaps you’re craving even more adventure for your trip to France than the typical tourist experiences. If you’re pining for the most luxurious activities for your trip to France, look no further. From hot-air balloon to helicopter rides, we’re sharing our epic France bucket list – by air, land and sea.

Epic France Bucket List: By Air, Land and Sea

France Bucket List Experiences by Air

Sure, wandering French village cobblestone streets is enchanting, but the views from up high aren’t too bad either. Here are some of our favorite bucket-list experiences for those who’d like to see France from the air.

Take a Hot-Air Balloon Ride Over Champagne

Nope, it’s not just for the movies. With French Side Travel, you can enjoy the hot-air balloon ride of a lifetime over the wine region of Champagne. Float above the idyllic vineyards and see France from a perspective most never have. Our pilot will pop open some champagne for you as you bask in the beauty of this region. You’ll even have the opportunity to prepare the canvas or even fire up the balloon if you so choose. This bucket list hot-air balloon ride will allow you to indulge in a special moment as a couple, family or friends. 

Explore Corsica by Helicopter

Start your journey by hopping aboard the Ecureuil AS350 B3 helicopter and prepare for a takeoff fit for postcards. You’ll begin your private ride at Porto-Vecchio and then glide over Massif de Bavella. Peel your eyes for the summit and the Trou de la Bombe, a well-known rock formation. Your pilot will guide you to the turquoise waters of the Bay of Fautéa and swing by Bonifacio, a Mediterranean city perched on rock. Your private helicopter ride can be a deep dive of Corsica’s sea views, mountain views or both. No matter which route you choose, your helicopter ride will enchant you with Corsica’s rugged nature.

Fly through France with a Former Military Pilot

wine harvest in a champagne vineyard

See the region of Champagne at low altitude from the perspective of former fighter pilots, who have embarked upon Rafale and Mirage jets. Start your aerobatic aircraft experience with a safety check and mission briefing. 

France Bucket List Experiences by Land

France’s various geographies intrigue you, and you’re searching for unique experiences to be had across the country. We’ve rounded up some of our top France bucket-list experiences by land.

Wander the Forests of Chambord

a fall getaway to the loire valley

Escape from the hustle of metropolitan France into the forests of Chambord in central France. French Side Travel will secure an exclusive visit where you’ll observe and hear the stags — all from a watchtower. This experience is best enjoyed between September and October in order to hear the stags’ bellows to attract mates and mark their territory.

Paint with Wine in a French Vineyard

Wine isn’t only for drinking; it’s also for painting! In this epic France bucket list experience, you’ll explore your inner artist with a paintbrush and wine-based paint. This domain offers an art center where you can find inspiration from the domain’s rolling vineyards.

Ski Courchevel’s Slopes in Exclusivity

Ever wondered what happens after a ski station closes for the day? At Courchevel, you can have exclusive access to the slopes with French Side Travel. You’ll start your evening enjoying a glass of wine during golden hour. Then as dusk sets in, you’ll get equipped for a night skiing adventure. Your ski headlight will be provided and allow you to admire the town’s lights from a privileged spot. 

Dine in a French Château

Treat yourself to a splendid meal at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in exclusivity. Dating back to the 1600s, this French castle and its gardens could have been pulled right out of a storybook. The same group of designers who created these gardens were later hired by Louis XIV to create the gardens of Versailles. Enjoy your meal fit for kings and queens in the castle all to yourself.

France Bucket List Experiences by Sea

From its Sunday morning markets to its snow-capped Alps, France offers endless nooks and crannies to explore by foot. But its water access is just as idyllic and promises unforgettable moments. Here are some of our favorite France bucket-list experiences by sea: 

Set Sail for Porquerolles

This idyllic island off the coast of Hyères is car-free and the perfect place to explore by foot or bike. But the journey there is an enchanting moment in and of itself. You’ll board a boat and see the Mediterranean from a new perspective. Your first stop will be at a wild cove where you’ll enjoy a French breakfast. Take a dip in the crystal blue waters or admire the underwater creatures by snorkeling. Later you’ll sail to an exclusive winery, which you can explore by e-bike or 4×4. You’ll have your choice for lunch: a gourmet picnic aboard in a deserted cove or in a restaurant in Port Cros.

Cruise the Calanques

overlooking the port pin calanque boats on tourquise water

Along the coast of Marseille and Cassis sits the multiple calanques, awe-inspiring rock formations that meet the sea. It’s possible to hike through the calanques, but if you’re looking for a luxurious experience on the Mediterranean, taking a private boat ride is the ideal choice. Head out at peak of day to take a swim in one of its creeks or opt for sunset departure for an apéro aboard.

Where to Stay in France

Courtesy of Four Seasons

Relais de Chambord
A mere four minutes from the Château de Chambord, this hotel is at the heels of royalty. With 16th century roots, this four-star hotel offers 55 unique rooms, including a boat suite. After a day of castle exploration, you can dine at one of the hotel’s restaurants. We’re certain that you’ll be tempted by its herb-crusted venison at Le Grand Saint-Michel or a café gourmand at Les Armes du Château.

Les Bords de Mer
A stay at this hotel is a bucket list experience in and of itself! Located at the feet of the Mediterranean Sea and on Marseille’s corniche, or its boulevard lining the sea, Les Bords de Mer promises a luxurious escape. Once a waterside villa in the 1930s, this retreat has been reimagined as a contemporary 4-Star boutique hotel. All of its 19 rooms boast sea views, and light pours in through its massive windows. 

Thinking about one of these France bucket list experiences? We’re ready to help you organize the trip of your dreams. You might enjoy: An Incredible Wine Trip to the Champagne Region or Luxury Escape to the Loire Valley. Need some help planning your trip?

The Beginner’s Guide to French Crêpes

Do French people really do that? Whether it’s wearing berets or eating escargots, French stereotypes abound. Some of these assumptions have more merit than others. One classic “Frenchism” is their love for crêpes. And truth be told, crêpes are widely eaten in France. Nearly four out of every five French people enjoy sweet crêpes, per Statista. We’re sharing all about French crêpes: the different types; their history; and la Chandeleur, a holiday known for its crêpe consumption.

The Beginner’s Guide to French Crêpes

The Origins of Crêpes

North, south, east, west: no matter where you travel in France, you’ll be able to find crêpes. But these French “pancakes” originated in the region of Brittany. The crêpe or galette can be traced back to the 1200s during the time of the Crusades, per Crêpes Recette. But long before then, cultures had been eating pancake- or crêpe-like concoctions. 

The recipe is simple: some flour, eggs and milk. Restaurants or vendors may have a special crêpe-making machine, but you can also make them in a frying pan on the stove. Our rule of thumb is: the more butter, the better!

Sweet Crêpes vs. Savory Galettes

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Not all crêpes are made the same. There are two main categories of crêpes: sucré (sweet) and salé (savory). The first type is traditionally made with wheat flour, the second with buckwheat (or sarrasin) flour. The latter is often referred to as a galette, instead of a crêpe. Typical toppings for crêpes sucrées include: Nutella, chocolate sauce, caramel, sugar, lemon and many more. Restaurant menus for galettes vary, but you’ll most likely see the complète, with ham, cheese and an over-easy egg. But just like sandwiches, chefs use their creativity on what they include in crêpes.

Some restaurants even offer a formule, or meal deal, where you nosh on a savory galette and then a sweet crêpe for dessert. You can find them at a sit-down restaurant or take it to go and eat it while walking.

French Crêpes and la Chandeleur

Crêpes are eaten year round in France, but there’s one day in France that’s particularly known for crêpes. February 2 marks la Chandeleur, or Candlemas. This holiday celebrates the day that Mary and Joseph presented baby Jesus at the temple. At the temple, a man named Simeon gave Jesus a blessing, saying that he was “a light for revelation” in the gospel of Luke. That’s why Chandeleur or Candlemas celebrates this light with candles, per Geo.

“The celebration is said to date to Roman times and Pope Gelasius I, who had pancakes distributed to pilgrims arriving in Rome for the festival,” according to an article in The Connexion. “Chandeleur symbolized the end of winter and the return of the sun and lighter spring days. Crêpes, with their round shape and yellow, golden color were seen to embody the return of the sun.” 

How to Enjoy French Crêpes in France

Finding a sweet crêpe or savory galette during your trip to France won’t be difficult. Whether it’s a street vendor or a restaurant serving up crêpes, you will have your pick. But perhaps the technique and art of French crêpe-making intrigue you. We have several delicious crêpe-making experiences that are sure to make you drool.

Private Crêpes-Making Class in Paris

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In between your stops at the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, spend an afternoon with a French chef as you perfect your crêpe technique. Whether it’s creamy chantilly or salted caramel, you’re sure to find a crêpe that suits your fancy. Try your hand at the famed crêpe Suzette, a sweet dessert with orange and flambéed. And the icing on the cake: you’ll enjoy this cooking class in an elegant Parisian suite. Bon appétit !

Private Crêpes-Making Class in Brittany

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Vanilla whipped cream, buckwheat crumble and roasted fruit… need we say more? During this private cooking class, you’ll try your hand at crêpes bretonnes, or crêpes from Brittany. Your chef will provide an array of seasonal products as you get to work in the kitchen. 

Where to Stay in Paris and Brittany

Courtesy of Four Seasons

Four Seasons Hotel George V
Located in the posh 8th arrondissement in Paris, Four Season Hotel George V promises a luxurious escape — and only a short walk to the Champs-Elysées. Admire the rooms’ style inspired by Louis XVI – think chandeliers, thoughtful decor and Eiffel Tower views. Explore the the charming neighborhood or enjoy a night “in” at one of the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurants. Treat yourself to a visit to the spa, perhaps with an individualized Haute Couture treatment.

Les Maisons de Bricourt
This luxury collection of villas near Saint Malo jumped right out a fairytale. Perhaps you fancy a stay in its Château Richeux in one of its 11 rooms or two apartments facing the bay of Mont Saint Michel. Or maybe you’d like to indulge in a stay in its boutique hotel, Les Rimains. This foliage-covered stone building feels more like a home than a hotel. You can wander the hotel garden’s pathway to the bay. And if you’re deeply longing for tranquility, enjoy a stay at one of its Seafront Lodges. Each morning, you’ll wake up to freshly baked French bread, fruit and milk products on your doorstep

It’s one thing to read about French crêpes, but it’s another to taste or make them yourselves. Looking to discover the best of French gastronomy? You might enjoy: A Culinary Experience in Paris or Lyon Wines & Culinary Delights. Need some help planning your trip?

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