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Autumnal France with P&O Ferries: what to see, what to drink


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As the summer heat begins to abate now is your best chance to taste the delights of France. A country famous for its gastronomy is by far one of the best places to visit now that the season of plenty is upon us. P&O Ferries makes multiple crossings from Dover to Calais each day so come with us across the channel to taste the delights of France.

To begin with it’s important to note that wine tours in France don’t have to be as expensive as they sound. Of course there are luxury tours and even cruises which may be what you are after but if you don’t won’t your trip to France to break the bank then there are some perfectly affordable options listed below.

Your best options when travelling with P&O Ferries are to stick to the Loire and Champagne regions, as they are most northerly; though you could reach Burgundy with just a little more time spent on the road. Depending on how long you intend to stay in France the other famous wine regions of France are further south such as Bordeaux,Cotes-du-Rhone and Savoie.

We would recommend you book ahead rather than show up at a winery hoping for the best, though it’s likely you’ll still be accommodated. You can book tours which pick you up from outside your hotel or selected locations and then bring you back. With the whole day planned out well in advance you have nothing more to do than enjoy it, especially if you’re going by coach and don’t have to worry about driving back.

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The Champagne region isn’t quite as closed off to the public as you might expect. The large international brands closely guard their secrets, in fact most wine producers have some closely guarded secrets. Some of these vineyards are centuries old and they all put out a fantastic product which you can sample with a tour of the facilities for a mere €20. Though there is plenty of competition in the sparkling wine industry with Prosecco growing in popularity from Italy and Cava in Spain the popularity of Champagne as a brand is undimmed. It can only truly be made in this region of France and therefore it’s a must see for anyone hoping to tour France for its produce.

The other major wine region in north France, the Loire valley ends its tour season towards the end of October since the busy season of harvesting bottling and exporting is just around the corner. You can take tours that vary in length from half days to four day tours with groups such as Loire Valley Tours . Who offer tours for groups of up to 8 people, these include tastings a show around the bottling facility and the vineyards themselves. Loire exports white, red and rose wines – you’ll be sure to find something to tantalise your palate and bring home to enjoy over the winter months.

September is an important time in France for the annual grape harvest. The internationally known brands are the namesake of most of the wine regions but actually you’d be hard pressed to find a part of France that doesn’t produce wine of some variety. A holiday to the french countryside is best done in Autumn, since grape picking can quickly become dull work the atmosphere whipped by local pickers is cheering indeed. In some towns the population grows vines on their own property compiling their harvest to create a local vintage. If you are touring the smaller villages late this September we highly recommend you stop by and try out the locals vintages.

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For a taste of something different one the largest beer festivals in Europe is taking place this year in Mulhouse. Right in the heart of Europe where France borders with Germany you can attend the beer event of the year this September from Thursday 17th right through the weekend ending Sunday 20th. For more information look up Mondial Beer of Mulhouse it is not just a large drinking event there will be exhibitions on the craft of beer making, award giving ceremonies to the best brews of the year and workshops on beer and cheese making.

The festival takes place at the Mulhouse Exhibition Park where over 100 breweries both national and international will proffer their wares and around 400 beers will be available. The close proximity to the German and Swiss border has some input on the event last year there were cooking demonstrations of sauerkraut in all its varieties as well as chocolate and cheese stands. Entry is free if you just wish to look about but a glass will cost you €4 giving you the option to taste whatever you please form the brewers for a €1 tasting coupon. Mondial is a weekend long event expect plenty of live entertainment and a lively atmosphere to go along with it. Accommodation for this festival will fill up fast but you’ll be in the heart of Europe so shop about to find the right place for you.

Book now for your get away to France this Autumn, P&O Ferries can get you there with its Dover-Calais crossing

Image Credit: Didriks , anne arnould , Hans Splinter

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