5 Exquisite Wine Routes in France

As Europe’s peak travel season winds down and most people are returning to work and school refreshed from their summer vacation, the sleepy vineyards sweeping the French countryside awaken for the annual harvest. Foliage begins to turn, days and evenings become pleasantly cooler, and the picturesque back roads call out to be traversed, beckoning in one of the best times to visit France. There’s no better time than autumn to channel your inner wine connoisseur and rent a car in France. The following list is a compilation of five lovely wine regions and scenic routes fringed with vineyards that beg to be explored. Each of these destinations is sure to make for an unforgettable experience.

Alsace Wine Route

Alsace Wine Region

The Alsace region is situated along a narrow plain, which is bordered by the Rhine River to the east and the Vosges Mountains to the west. Why not rent something special for your trip, like a Mercedes SLK Roadster in Strasbourg? Put the top down and leisurely make your way south along the Route des Vins d’Alsace (Alsace Wine Route). This 170 km stretch of roadway begins in Marlenheim and ends in Thann. Take your time and discover the Alsace vineyards, castles, and charming villages that dot the way.

Bordeaux Wine Route

Bordeaux Wine Region

Six distinct wine producing territories branch out from the heart of the Bordeaux region. The beauty of visiting this location is that you can create a unique tour of the wineries based on your specific taste. Sample the fine red wines north of Bordeaux, and the sweet or dry white wines south of the city. Offering an excellent array of grape varietals, colors, and tastes, you won’t be disappointed when visiting this southwestern area of France.

Provence Wine Route

Provence Wine Route

South of the Alps and north of the cliff-lined Mediterranean Sea is the Provence region, a part of France that is celebrated for its rosé wine. Start your journey by driving west along the coast with your rental car in Nice and making frequent stops to appreciate the villages and scenery, follow the 200 km course to Camargue, a town just east of Montpellier. The Provence vineyards are divided into eight appellations, and there are about 350 winemakers along the way.

Burgundy Wine Route

Burgundy Wine Route

A two hour car-ride southwest of Paris leads into the rolling hills of France’s Burgundy region. Renowned for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the vineyards here yield some of the country’s finest wines. Burgundy has five territories, and Route des Grands Crus (road of great wines) takes you through Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. It is the area’s most popular drive and is close to 60 km. Clearly marked road signs make this itinerary very easy to follow.

Champagne Route

Champagne Wine Route

Only 160 km east of Paris, yet seemingly worlds away from the city of light, is the highly regarded Champagne region. Sparkling wine can’t claim the name Champagne unless it originates from here. There are five circuits that wind their way through each of the appellation territories. The Coast Bar route is the longest at 220 km, and the shortest courses are Montagne de Reims and Massif of Saint Thierry, each of these is 70 km.

Before setting off on any trip in France, it is important to note the country’s new driving law, which requires every vehicle to have a breathalyzer on hand. Avoid the possibility of needing to use one of these devices by staying at a lovely Chateau when choosing to indulge in a few glasses of regionally produced wine.

Enjoy the wine and enjoy France!

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7 Things To Consider Before Travelling

7 Things To Consider Before Travelling

Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

Getting out there and seeing what the wider world has to offer is something that everyone should do in their lives. We do like the comfort of our own homes and our own areas, so it can be a difficult prospect for many, but it’s completely worth it. You may think you’ve seen a lot in your life, but if you venture out onto the other side of the planet, you’ll see how wrong you were.

On earth, there are a vast amount of cultures and traditions that you couldn’t even fathom as you sit in the comfort of your lovely home, and your mind is truly broadened by experiencing them. Earth is also home to some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes and monuments you could imagine.

If you’re seriously thinking about dropping everything and heading on a long-term trip around a particular continent (or two!), then it’s not just a case of hopping on some public transport and haplessly heading on your merry way – it takes a bit of thought and some real commitment.

You’ve gotten this far, so you probably have a vision in your mind of hiking through unknown areas and feeling the goosebumps as you gaze upon some of the views. Want to do it? Well, before you make a move, you have to get a bunch of things in order. Let’s go through some now.  

Make Sure You’re Ready Mentally

The first point isn’t exactly one of the formalities, but it is vital. It’s a big step and a big commitment, and if you’ve never done anything like this before, then it may be more and more nerve-wracking and overwhelming as the time draws nearer. It’s hard to battle your inner thoughts, but just know that this experience will better your life!  

Do A Little Research

It goes without saying that you should know what you’re getting into – you’re about to head into places very much unlike what you’re used to. It can be a fun little session, however, as you get to look into all of the exciting places that you could potentially visit. If you’re not in tune with the travelling scene at all, then this is a good time to soak up as much knowledge as you can. There’s no real set way of doing things, so you can absolutely come up with your own method after learning a thing or two.

Plan Your Entire Trip

As we mentioned before, you can’t just book a flight or a train and go walking around without first having a set plan of doing things – you need to have everything set out, and it will need to be as airtight as possible so that you don’t manage to make a mess of anything. It may be a little boring but preparation is key.   

Make Sure You Have The Money!

Another obvious point here, but if you don’t have the funds to get yourselves successfully around then you’re going to be in a bit of a pickle. Look into your budget and see what you can and cannot do – you might think you have the money, but there may be some costs that you haven’t taken into account, so be careful.

Find Places To Stay

As you make your way around, you’ll need places to rest and rehabilitate before you get out and do more exploring – you’re not just going to sleep on the streets. A lot of people on their travels aren’t exactly made of money, so they’ll find cheaper overnight stays like couch surfing at places or staying in hostels. There are, of course, more luxurious ways if you’re that way inclined – if you’re travelling through some Asian countries, you could, for example, research some monthly rental in Singapore or Malaysia and see if that fits your criteria. Having a place to sleep at night is vital if you want to have some energy for the days and weeks ahead.      

Vaccinations

When you enter certain parts of the world, you’ll find that they differ from your home. Unfortunately, on the other side of the planet, there are some serious diseases that can be spread around, and if you’re not protected against them, then they could do some serious damage. It’s wise to go to your doctor and let them help you. You should get vaccinated about four to six weeks before travelling.

Remember To Take Photos!

Finally, and this one is less of a stress, bring your camera or keep your phone charged up! It’s nice to have the memories stored in your mind’s eye, but having tangible proof of being somewhere is lovely too. You’re bound to make wonderful memories and capturing them forever would compound the delight! Also, if you’re a bit of social media person, then your friends and followers may get a kick out of your jollies!

Turkish Hammam Experience Is One Of A Kind

Turkish Hammam

You have likely heard of the Turkish hammam even if you have not traveled to Turkey. Hammam is a unique public bath and has been a part of Turkish social culture for hundreds of years. The concept was largely developed during the Ottoman Empire inspired by Roman baths. There are similar concepts in other cultures such as Finnish saunas, Russian baths or banyas but the Turkish hammam is unique in many ways. In Turkish hammams, the air is steamy. In hammams, you will be washed by washers called tellak who exfoliate, massage and wash you! Tellaks are usually of the same sex as the person being washed. While your tellak is preparing to wash you, you are given a hammam bowl to fill with hot water from marble sinks and pour it over your head to start your bathing experience. You can leave the rest to your tellak!

Turkish Hammam

The architecture of hammams is also very unique. A traditional hammam has three interconnected rooms. The first one is the hot room, then the warm room and finally the cold room. The hot room usually has a large dome with glass windows. There is usually a large heated marble table in the middle of the room and fountains in the corners. In this room, you get exposed to steam and get exfoliated. The warm room is for washing with soap and water after the exfoliation and finally the last room is to relax and perhaps sip a Turkish tea.

Going to a Turkish hammam is not only a unique bathing experience but it is also a social one. People of the same sex get together in Turkish hammams and share intimate stories. It is almost like a therapy session where the bathgoers open up to each other. An environment where people let their guards down and relax like nowhere else! Think about it, you are half naked with a group of strangers in a hot steamy environment wrapped in your Turkish towel also known as the peshtemal. Wouldn’t you let your guard down?

Turkish Hammam

This is a physical and a spiritual awakening. By the end of this experience, your body and your skin are rejuvenated and purified or, at least, that’s how you feel! The exfoliation and the massage are probably stronger than what you experience in North American spas and can sometimes be a bit painful but you can tell your tellak the intensity you prefer.

If you’re planning to visit Turkey anytime soon, you should definitely add the hammam experience on your list of things to do. Istanbul probably has the most gorgeous hammams you will find in Turkey but other cities such as Edirne, Bursa and Eskisehir also have renowned hammams to discover. Cagaloglu and Cemberlitas hammams in Istanbul, Saray hammam in Edirne, historic Eski Kaplica hammam in Bursa, Ferah hammam in Eskisehir are some of the most traditional ones but your hotel might even have a hammam within their facilities!

This blog post was provided by Shopping Blue. They share a passion for travel and  connect the Mediterranean with those who are passionate about this region and its products.