By bike, in a hot air balloon or on horseback... 6 off the beaten track experiences to discover the vineyards

Want to explore the French vineyards? Why not do it in a different way, at a gentle pace, since the beginning of time. On horseback through the vineyards carpeted in the Dentelles de Montmirail, on a bicycle along the great classified vintage routes of Bordeaux or in a hot air balloon over the Climats of Burgundy? Here are six ways to discover the French vineyards in a way that is closest to nature.

Discover the vineyards of Provence on horseback

In the shadow of the Ventoux, its immense neighbor, the Dentelles de Montmirail massif, is a treasure for lovers of vast open spaces. Today, you can discover it on horseback during a ride with the Rhonea winemakers. Between sharp ridges, villages clinging to the rock like La Roque Alric and vines in tight rows, the land gradually reveals its secrets, both wild and tamed. Three appellations share the vineyard territory: Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes-de-Venise. The latter also produces Muscat, the famous natural sweet wine grown on the southern slopes of the Dentelles.

Ventoux-Provence Tourism (External link)

Driving a combi at the gates of the Champagne region

What about exploring the vineyards in a VW T2 combi? In Barzy-sur-Marne, at the gateway to Champagne, the Lévêque Duhan estate offers trips through the vineyards aboard one of these vehicles once used by the current owner's grandfather to deliver barrels to merchants in Epernay and Reims. A beautiful transformation of the seventies' favorite truck. Through the panoramic windows, you can see the steep hillsides that form the heritage of the vineyard: Thibaud IV, Count of Champagne, was already cultivating vines here in the 12th century!

Champagne-Ardenne Tourism (External link)

Cycling in the heart of the Bordeaux vineyards

At the crack of dawn, we get on our bikes: it's the perfect time to pedal in the vineyards! Between the vines, the winegrowers are already at work, the horses are ploughing at the foot of the precious grapes. On the estate of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, the grapes are harvested by hand and chemical products are banned. Making this Grand Cru Classé, considered as the "most important of the Graves" is an art in itself! One can meditate on the incredible evolution of the vine for centuries while walking through the nearby forest of the Senses: 10 hectares of perched cabins, sculptures and gardens of plants used for phytotherapy, also a great artwork...

Château Smith Haut Lafitte (External link)
Bordeaux Tourism (External link)

Ascending the hills of the Scherwiller in Alsace

Are you curious to discover biodynamic viticulture? Climb up to the Achillée estate on the hillsides of Scherwiller in Alsace! The Dietrich family will show you around their bioclimatic cellar, which is also the biggest building made of straw and wood in Europe. The estate also offers tastings of its wines accompanied by organic cheese and cold cuts or small meals prepared by local chefs. Riesling Scherwiller bio or "Quetsches alors", made from biodynamically grown quetsches and Riesling, the vineyard sparkles with ideas in Alsace

Domaine d'Achillée (External link)
Visit Alsace (External link)

A Picnic in the vineyards of the Loire Valley

At the edge of the rows of vines, a table has sprung up in the shade of the fruit trees. In the heart of the Chancay vineyard in the Loire Valley, Myriam invites us to a delicious gourmet picnic. To accompany the wines of Vouvray and Chinon, a festival of flavors is proposed. Rillettes of fish from the Loire with saffron, quiche tourangelle with rillettes from Tours and rillons from Touraine, goat cheese and nougat from Tours, cake with almonds, candied fruits and apricot jam... It's hard to resist the products of the Touraine region!

Val de Loire Tourisme (External link)

Flying over the Climats of Burgundy in a hot air balloon

To know everything about the Climats of Bourgogne, there is nothing like a hot air balloon flight! At dawn or at the end of the day, you take off gently into the pure air, your eyes riveted on the vineyards below. The light gradually illuminates the leaves, the terroir and the parcels are revealed. For centuries, the human hand has been shaping Burgundy's landscapes, creating micro-terroirs that today merge with the wines. Don't try to count them; there are 1,247 all classified by UNESCO! And all associated with nectars, some of which are very famous.

Bourgogne Tourisme (External link)