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Help Planning: France & Belgium

I've got the bug again. After 5 months in Italy & exploring all Europe has to offer, I really want to go back. Hopefully i'll be studying again this summer in either France, Belgium, or possibly Italy again.

Regardless, i'll be doing some solo traveling and i'd like to really focus on wine countries, as I hope to pursue the master court of sommelier's after graduation. Problem? I'll be there in July and August, is it really that hard to travel in France during these times? I've explored all of Tuscany while living in Florence, so I want to really focus on France. I was in Paris and Nice briefly during mid August of last year and it didn't prove to be a huge problem (except for a few restaurants).

Does anyone have previous experience with travel during these times?

Posted by
10344 posts

Hundreds of thousands of travelers visit France in July and August. Yes, there will be crowds and prices will be their highest. For wine, you couldn't pick a better country. As you probably know, two of the top wine regions are Bordeaux (reds, mainly what we in the US call cabernet sauvignon and merlot), Bourgogne (Burgundy) for both reds (what we call pinot noir) and whites (what we call chardonnay).

Posted by
174 posts

My only worry was getting to visit the vineyards. My parents are in the restaurant business and 3/4th of our wine cellar are French & Italian wines. My goal was to visit these chateau's in Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Rhone (Chateauneuf du Pape), and Champagne as well. When I was in France in August we only visited Paris and then spent a few days in Reims & Epernay. While a few champagne houses were closed, the ones we planned to visit were open.

I'm just wondering if it'll be worth my while to visit these areas during these times, or if everyone will be gone.

Posted by
3237 posts

I would contact some of the wineries that you most want to visit to check on their availability during that time. It seems to me that if they're open, they would be pleased to share their knowledge with someone in training. Also, local wine shops in larger cities may have contacts in the wineries in the region that you want to visit.