By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: My husband and I are planning a trip to France in 2004 to tour some Wine regions. We will be away two weeks. Could you possibly suggest which regions to visit? What time of year would be best?

A: About the size of Texas, France celebrates 17 wine producing regions which has captivated the tastebuds of the ancient greeks, royalty, farmers and of course the entourage of tourists. One of the best times to visit I'm told is from May to the beginning of September before the wine harvest. You can descend to the ancient cellars and inhale the specially blended aroma of the precious fruit of the vines.

Some of the more popular regions include the Loire Valley (Chinon, Montlouis, Vouvray, Bourgueil), the Chateaux in the vicinity of Bordeaux (Sauternes, Margaux, Medoc), the Champagne region in Northern France, Languedoc Roussillon, and of course Provence particularly for the flavorful wines from Chateauneuf du Pape.

You have many options from which to choose. But if you have 10-14 days in France, the best bet is to begin the wine journey through the Loire Valley which is roughly one hour from Paris via the high speed train, proceed to Bordeaux and discover the caves of St Emilion and Monbazillac. Or you could rent a car and drive from Paris to the Champagne region and afterwards, visit Burgundy and the Beaujolais areas, famous for its red wines.

For more details on the different vineyards, wine routes and itineraries, visit the France Tourism web site at and click on the Art de Vivre section. The office also has a specially designed map on the vineyards of France. You can obtain a complimentary copy when you call (514) 876-9881 or e-mail them at

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All text & photos 2004.