Sometimes travelers ask us about the best time of year to visit France’s wine regions. There isn’t a single answer to this question, because it depends on the kind of experience you want to have. Are you interested in being in France during the grape harvest? Is there a particular event or festival you’d like to attend?

The truth is, any time is a good time to enjoy French wine in France. Plus, it’s worth remembering that we never drink ‘the wine of this year’ in any case - that is always available the following year at the earliest.

Travelers Bev and Jeff at a wine-tasting in Burgundy
Travelers Bev and Jeff at a wine-tasting in Burgundy
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Bev & Jeff, USA

One thing to keep in mind is the seasons. From late October to mid March, expect the weather in France to be generally cold and wet, with more sunshine in the south of France than in the rest of the country. The days are also shorter. On December 21st (the shortest day of the year) sunrise in Paris is at 8.40am and sunset is just before 5pm. 

The hottest time of year is August, when it can be quite uncomfortable to explore the cities, but nice on the coast. The most pleasant times in terms of weather (when it’s not too hot nor too cold and wet) are May through mid-July and then September through mid-October. 

Here are a few more tips, dates and festivals that may help you decide when to visit France’s wine regions. Below each section we also suggest one of our self drive tours that will help you experience each region.

Traveler DeLana and her Mom visiting a French vineyard
Traveler DeLana and her Mom visiting a French vineyard
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DeLana, USA

January for the Saint-Vincent Tournante wine festival in Burgundy

Every year on the last weekend of January since 1938, the Saint-Vincent Tournante wine festival in Burgundy has commemorated Saint Vincent, the patron saint of winegrowers. Winegrowers from every wine-making village join thousands of visitors to celebrate Burgundy’s wine traditions, and pay tribute to the terroir and the region’s winegrowers. The festival includes holy mass, processions in the street, and of course, plenty of wine-tastings!

TOUR: Self-drive tours in Burgundy

Vineyards in the fall near Beaune in Burgundy
Vineyards near Beaune in Burgundy during the fall
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Olivier Colas, CC-BY SA 4.0

Ascension (40 days after Easter) for the Saveurs de Vignes in Burgundy

The beautiful town of Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, celebrates the beginning of the wine-growing year with the annual Saveurs de Vignes. This will fall on May 9th in 2024. You’ll enjoy a 5-mile walk through the Beaune vineyards and see them coming into bloom, and the six gourmet food stalls along the route mean you'll enjoy a full meal, from starter to dessert, paired with delicious Burgundy wines along the way.

Tours leave every fifteen minutes between 11am and 1.30pm from the Cuverie des Hospices Civils de Beaune on Avenue des Stades in Beaune.

TOUR: From Marseille to Paris, Away from the Crowds (10 Days in Provence, Burgundy and Paris) or browse our Burgundy tours

A view of a Burgundy landscape in the fall. The vineyards are a mix of yellows.
Burgundy in the fall
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Eve and Sebastien, Chemins de Bourgogne

Late June for the Bordeaux Wine Festival

The Fête du Vin takes place in June every year, along the quayside of the Garonne River. During the festival, which will be from June 27-30th in 2024, both tourists and locals can discover and enjoy a wonderful variety of wines from Bordeaux and the region. 

The famous wine-tasting tour takes visitors around pavilions dedicated to the many appellations, where they can enjoy a glass of wine and learn more from expert wine professionals. The gastronomic village is also nearby and offers a range of delicious local specialities to try.

The festival receives tens of thousands of visitors every year. In general, there are quite a lot of local wine festivals around the month of June.

TOUR: The ‘Tour de France’ (16 Days in the Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Dordogne and Provence) or browse our Bordeaux region tours.

Bordeaux vineyard in Gironde
Bordeaux vineyard in Gironde
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Michael Clarke, CC-BY SA 2.0

July for the Route du Champagne

The Route du Champagne is an annual event (and route) for tourists who would like to discover the region and learn more about the production of Champagne, and taste and buy it. Although, if you’re not especially interested in experiencing the festival, this may be a reason to avoid visiting the Champagne region at this time! We can still help you enjoy the best of Champagne - the region and the drink - at any other time of year.

The festival welcomes thousands of champagne enthusiasts every year along its 300-mile route, which passes through many of Champagne’s beautiful towns and villages, including Reims and Epernay. In 2024 the event will be on July 20th-21st.

TOUR: France for Wine Lovers (14 Days in Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Burgundy and Champagne) or browse our self-drive tours in Champagne.

Travelers Alex and Judy and family at a Champagne tasting at Taittinger Champagne house in Reims
Travelers Alex and Judy and family at a Champagne tasting at Taittinger Champagne house in Reims
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Alex & Judy

Summer may not be the best time for a wine-tasting tour 

If you are mainly interested in wine-tasting tours in France, you may find it too hot to really enjoy drinking wine during the summer months (mainly August). 

However, we know some extremely good wineries that offer wine-tastings in their cellars, which are cooler and a nicer environment for enjoying wine. They’re also a nice way to stay cool when the weather’s hot outside!

TOUR: Northeastern France (10 Days in Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne) or browse our France wine tasting tours.

Travelers Elizabeth & Majid Afshar and Moira & Ron Workman at a wine tasting in a Burgundy wine cellar
Travelers Elizabeth & Majid Afshar and Moira & Ron Workman at a wine tasting in a Burgundy wine cellar
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Elizabeth & Majid Afshar and Moira & Ron Workman

Late September to mid-October for the grape harvest

Going during the harvest season is nice to see people working in the vineyards but they are very busy, and it’s complicated to get full tours of the wineries…or the wine makers available for visitors…unless with a wine guide.

In Saint Emilion in Bordeaux, home to some of France’s most famous wines, they celebrate the official start of the wine harvest with the Ban des Vendanges de la Jurade de Saint Emilion. There’s a procession through the village, an announcement of new wine guild members, and fireworks. 

There are also plenty of wine-tasting opportunities. The event usually takes place in early to mid-October, although in 2024 it will take place on 21-22 September.

TOUR: Scenic Roads and French Cuisine (13 Days in the Loire Valley, Bordeaux and Dordogne) or browse our self-drive tours in the Bordeaux region.

Saint Emilion town and a vineyard in the foreground
Saint Emilion town and vineyard
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France Just For You

October and November, when the harvest is over

This is a great time to see the wine cellars at work and get some insider tips on whether this year’s wine will be a good one. You may also still be in time to enjoy some of the wine regions’ gorgeous fall colors.

TOUR: Southern France from Bordeaux to Avignon (26 days in Bordeaux, Dordogne, Basque Country, Carcassonne and Provence) or browse our France wine country tours.

Hunawihr vineyards in Alsace in the fall
Fall colors in the Hunawihr vineyards in Alsace, eastern France
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Tristan Vuano, ADT Alsace

Mid-November for the Beaune wine auction

The Hospices de Beaune auction is organized by Sotheby's and takes place on the third Sunday of November every year. The proceeds of the auction go to the Beaune hospices, to help improve the hospital's care facilities. The auction marks the end of the winegrowing season and the vinification of the 50 wines from the Domaine des Hospices.

The wines from the current year are sold ‘en primeur’ (as futures) at auction. These are very young wines that have only just been vinified in the Domaine des Hospices winery. After being bought at auction, buyers must entrust their aging to a professional who knows how to deliver the wines’ complexity and potential. The aging stage will last 12-18 months before being bottled and shipped.

There is very limited seating in the auction hall itself, but outside there are festivities that visitors from all over the world can enjoy, including special tastings and events in the town’s many wine cellars. These will run from November 15-17 in 2024.

TOUR: Romantic Paris, Burgundy Gastronomy & Loire Valley Castles (10 Days in Paris, Burgundy and the Loire Valley) or choose a wine tour of France.

The Hospices of Beaune
The Hospices of Beaune, Burgundy
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Pixabay

November for the Beaujolais Nouveau opening 

You may know that Beaujolais is a fresh-tasting red or white wine from the south of Burgundy. Historically, Beaujolais Nouveau was made to celebrate the end of the grape harvest, with a race to get the new wine to the global market, Japan, Germany and the US being the biggest importers nowadays.

By law, Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the third Thursday of November at 12.01 am, around two months after the “vendage” in September, when grapes are harvested. The exact release date is mandated by the French government, and in 2024 it falls on November 21st.

Nowadays, Beaujolais Nouveau Day has also become a celebration of the Beaujolais region’s history, culture and people, with the biggest celebrations taking place in Beaujeu. As well as tastings of the new wine, the village arranges visits to vineyards, torchlight parades and fireworks.

TOUR: France For Wine Lovers (14 Days in Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Burgundy and Champagne) or browse our France tour packages.

Beaujolais vineyards
Beaujolais vineyards
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Geoff Wong, CC-BY 2.0

If you would like to explore France’s wine regions by car at your own pace, with your full itinerary and accommodation bookings organized by us, we warmly invite you to contact us and tell us about your wishes for your trip.

France Just For You

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