ChampagneThe name ‘champagne’ can only be applied to wines from this region, about 100 miles (160 km) east of Paris. It usually refers to sparkling white wines, though there are also authentic sparkling rosé and (non-sparkling) red wines to be sampled. Day trips to Champagne often also include a visit to Reims, which is famous for its gothic cathedral where several French monarchs were crowned. Most importantly, you’ll get to sample the region's wines, with several tours stopping off at the famous Moët & Chandon and Veuve Cliquot vineyards and cellars. The train to Reims can take less than an hour, but if you want to visit the more rural vineyards then you’ll either need to drive or take a tour which includes transportation. The drive will take about 2 hours in each direction, so you should definitely plan a full day if you intend to visit the Champagne region.
Loire ValleyThe Loire Valley is found southwest of Paris and is home to many beautiful castles as well as lush vineyards, including the Château de Chambord and the Château de Chenonceau. Tours usually focus on the castles rather than the wine, but you’ll find many options where lunch and a tasting of local wines are included. Wines that are usually included in the tastings include Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and red wines that use the Cabernet Franc grape. The region surrounding Saumur is also one of the largest sparkling wine-producing regions outside Champagne, and a more in-depth tour might take you there as well. The drive from Paris takes at least two and a half hours, so expect full-day tours to take at least 10 hours in total. Trains run from Paris to either Tours or Blois, from either of those towns you’ll need to transfer to local buses or take taxis to reach the castles or vineyards.
BordeauxThe region of Bordeaux is in the southwest of France and is the largest winegrowing region in France. It’s most famous for its red wines, which are usually made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot grapes, with the percentage of each grape used in the mixing process varying from vineyard to vineyard. The region is also famous for the sweet dessert wine called Sauternes, which comes from a village with the same name. It takes 6 hours to drive to Bordeaux from Paris, so most day trips will include return high-speed TGV train tickets. The journey by train takes between two and a half and four hours, depending on the route and departure station, so prepare for a long day with plenty of time spent traveling.
BurgundyWhile other wine regions favor white or red wine, Burgundy does both equally well! On a trip to Burgundy (also known as Bourgogne), you’ll taste wines which either use Chardonnay grapes or Pinot Noir and are grown in the valleys of the Saône river. The city of Auxerre is also full of sights to see, including the old town’s clock tower (Tour de l’Horloge), and the Abbaye de Saint-Germain, and it’s also known for making good Chablis. Driving from Paris to Burgundy takes between 2 to 3 hours in each direction. Direct trains depart from Paris-Bercy and take around 2 hours to reach the station at Auxerre St Gervais.