France has long had a reputation as the world's cultural and historic heartland of the wine industry. Several popular French regions are known to produce excellent wines. Due to its varied and unique geography each wine region produces wine with a different character, taste and colour. 'Terroir', the essence of a wine and how it's achieved by a mixture of the wine grower's experience and passion, is always at the forefront of the French wine producer's thoughts. Local weather, growing conditions and the soil that the wine grows in are also vital factors in the production of fine wines. The naming of wines, and the regions that produce them are strictly regulated to ensure that wines conform to certain standard to be called Champagne, Bourgogne or Saint Emilion for example.
Below we have highlighted some of the most important French wine regions and how they are linked to another one of France's most famous exports; the Tour de France. You can ofcourse enjoy both together, on one of our 'Tour de France' leisure cycling holidays this summer.
The Loire Valley is located about 200 kilometres south of Paris. Known for the hundreds of chateaux that were built here for the royalty and aristocracy of France, the area features architecture that dates all the way back to between 1400 and 1800. Like the castles, wine making also has a long and rich history in the Loire region.
The city of Orléans is famous for Gothic Sainte-Croix Cathedral and its history, including the legend of Joan of Arc. The region's capital, Tours is a busy university town with famous medieval quarter.
Although smaller than Bordeaux, France's biggest wine region, the Loire is home to a wide variety of wine growing land. Loire wine harvests can have very variable levels of success due to the very changable climate in this part of France.
The Loire region has three distinct areas where vineyards are located; Upper Loire, Middle Loire and Lower Loire. Each area focuses on different grape varieties. Loire wines are generally known for their high acidity, which accounts for a crisp, fresh flavor. It’s known for dry whites such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
VIP Tour de France Experiences
There will be 4 stages fully within Brittany followed by an individual time trial with a finish in Laval near Rennes. After Brittany, the route takes us into the Pays de La Loire with a finish in the town of Laval followed by a start in Tours.
- Finish Hospitality in Laval on the individual time trial - BOOK NOW
- Village Depart in Tours - BOOK NOW
Leisure Cycling Tours
The Loire region is a fabulous place for a cycling holiday. Quiet roads and amazing scenery with frequent stops to sample the local wines and visit the amazing chateaux.
- Loire Cycling path - St Nazaire - More info
- Orleans to Saumur - More info
- Briare to Nevers - Bike and Boat - More info
- Castles of the Loire Valley - Tours to Tours - More info
Bordeaux is the biggest, and by far most famous wine producing area in France. Some would even go as far as to say it is the best. Located in the Gironde department in southwest France the city of Bordeaux enjoys long warm summers and cool winters.
The most well-known wines that produced here are: Saint Emilion and Medoc. The soil, sunshine and proximity of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers make this area well-suited for wine production. The towns of Libourne and Saint Emilion will both play host to Tour de France stages in 2021.
Tour de France tours and VIP experiences
As in 2020, the 2021 Tour de France finishes with an individual time trial. There are two stages in the Bordeaux area. First up is a stage that comes into the Gironde from the Pyrenees with a finish in Libourne. We think this will be a great opportunity for a sprinter like Sam Bennett. Stage 20 is a relatively long individual time trial from Libourne to Saint Emilion.
VIP stage access
- Izoard Finish Hospitality 19 Friday 16th July Libourne (near Bordeaux) - MORE INFO OR BOOK NOW
- Village Depart 20 Saturday 17th July Libourne (near Bordeaux) - MORE INFO OR BOOK NOW
- Izoard Finish Hospitality 20 Saturday 17th July Saint-Emilion(near Bordeaux) - MORE INFO OR BOOK NOW
- A day in an official race car 20 Saturday 17th July Libourne > Saint-Emilion - MORE INFO OR BOOK NOW
Leisure Cycling Holidays on Bordeaux
- Bordeaux to Biarritz - Find out more
- Bordeaux to Toulouse 7 days - Find out more
- Toulouse to Bordeaux 7 days - Find out more
- Bordeaux Vineyards Bike and barge tour - Coming Soon