There’s something poetic about drinking wine at its source. It’s not just the vine-covered landscape or the thrill of a new place – it’s the history, the years of labour and love, the cultivation of the soil over thousands of years.
And the past isn’t only in the land. France’s winemaking regions are famed for their monumental châteaux, many of which have been converted into extravagant hotels. Now you can sleep in a castle located right in France’s famed vineyards – what could be more romantic?
Château de Valmer – La Croix-Valmer, France
Château de Valmer
Palm groves, the smell of the sea, a chilled glass of Côtes de Provence rosé… Château de Valmer is like a bubble bath for your soul. This seaside castle has all the trappings you’d expect of a five-star resort: a spa, private beach and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Split your days between the sea and the countryside, strolling through vineyards, vegetable gardens and ancient hilltop towns.
La Chartreuse du Bignac – Saint-Nexans, France
La Chartreuse du Bignac
La Chartreuse du Bignac sits on a hill surrounded by plum trees and vines, in the heart of Bergerac. This region is known for full-bodied reds and fruity whites, and the hotel’s on-site wine bar gives you the chance to sample the best vintages. A small library, stone fireplace and 12th-century vaulted cellars add to the countryside elegance.
Château du Tertre – Arsac, France
Château du Tertre
Red wine lovers rejoice: the vineyards of Margaux produce some of the best reds in Bordeaux. Overlooking this landscape is the stately Château du Tertre. It was built in 1865 and is architecturally commanding, with exposed beams and French oak ceilings. You can tour the wine cave and wander the grounds, revelling in the beauty of the vines as you sample their wares.
Hostellerie du Château des Fines Roches – Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France
Hostellerie du Château des Fines Roches
The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape precedes itself. This famous red is beloved for its ripe juiciness, and there’s no better place to try it than in its hometown. Opening onto these vineyards is the Château des Fines Roches. This 19th-century castle was once inhabited by the Marquis de Baroncelli and visited by many Provençal poets – for inspiration, no doubt. Nowadays it’s a place for a wine-fuelled relaxation: think sunbathing, terrace dining, and swimming in a pool beneath princess-style turrets.
Château de Mercuès – Mercuès, France
Château de Mercuès
The vineyard of Cahors is known for producing deeply coloured reds made from Malbec grapes. Such a rich wine also has a rich history – the bishops of Cahors used to reside in the Château de Mercuès during the 13th century, overseeing the vineyard. This same castle is now a four-star hotel, complete with a swimming pool surrounded by cedar trees.
Domaine de Verchant Relais & Châteaux – Montpellier, France
Domaine de Verchant Relais & Châteaux
The architecture of Domaine de Verchant Relais & Châteaux embodies the South of France: 200-year-old white stone walls, orange tiled roof and palm-tree-covered terraces. This grand villa also houses a 10,000-bottle wine cellar. The region is known for crisp white wines that echo the sea, and the hotel’s Mediterranean menu is the perfect complement.
Château de Berne – Lorgues, France
Château de Berne
Head down to the end of a narrow lane deep in the Provençal countryside and you’ll find this magnificent 18th-century château. This palatial castle is located in Lorgues, the oldest wine-growing region of Provence, famous for pale, dry rosé and spicy, full-flavoured reds. In between wine tours, you can relax in the massive spa and Michelin-starred restaurant, or go on walks through the olive groves.