by Laura Crotet, Senior Trip Planner at France Just For You

Fall has always been my favorite season. When I lived in the United States, it meant football (Go Packers!), cute sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes. Fall continues to be my favorite season now that I live in France, even though there is not much football going on. Each region is great to visit during this wonderful season.

What I love about fall in France is:

the vineyards explode in color

...turning the countryside into a true wonderland. And since so much of France is covered in vineyards, no matter where you are, you can enjoy this exceptional scenery.

On the weekends, we love to pack a picnic (with a thermos of hot cocoa) and head out to take in the beauty. There is a sort of excitment in the air around the time of the vendangesAs the grape harvesting date approaches, you can watch the winegrowers keeping a vigilant eye on the bunches, deciding on the precise moment the grapes should be picked. Just before the harvest is a great time to visit wineries and discuss if this year looks promising, learn how the growers decide when to harvest, and of course, taste some of the previous years' bottles.

Grapes before the harvest

These beauties are being closely watched, ©Pixabay

the Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated

...on the third Thursday of November. Although it is not the best of French wines, the Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated everywhere and is quite a big event. You will see "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!" signs everywhere - bars, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Even most company restaurants offer a glass to their employees at lunch.

It is somewhat of a joke every year to hear how they decribe the year's bouquet (a wine's aromas or fragrance). I always just say "Banana!"

la Bernache comes out in Touraine

...and is a local specialty (Touraine is the area around Tours). Bernache is made from the first juice of the freshly-harvested grapes and has only just started the fermentation process. It is slightly sparkling and a little cloudy. It is still fermenting in the bottles, thus a little hole is pierced into the cap of the bottle to let the air out. Just make sure you keep the bottle upright, or it will explode. I learned this the hard way when a bottle tipped over in my car and literally covered the whole interior in Bernache (plus it smelled like wine for years in my car).


Bernache in la Touraine

Bernache is good, but you've been warned, it can be dangerous! ©My Little Big World


You can hunt for mushrooms

...and almost every French person has their favorite spot. But don't expect them to share it with you! You cannot go on private property, of course, but along hiking trails or in public parks with forests, it is fair game. Just make sure you know if they can be eaten or not. You can bring any mushrooms you find to the pharmacy and they will tell you if you can eat them.

New vegetables and products appear at the market

...including potimarron and other varieties of squash, chestnuts and walnuts, black radishes and of course tons of different mushrooms. With these new products making their way to the stands in the open air markets; the rich colors make you want to buy and cook everything. On a cool fall day, try Emilie's Red Kuri squash recipe - it's sure to warm you up!

You can start eating great hearty French dishes again

After months of salads, I can't wait to start eating cold weather food again, which is what I truly love. Cassoulet, boeuf bourguignon, strong cheeses, . . . do I need to go any further? Give me some Roquefort and a glass of Côte-Rotie and I have gone to heaven.

Roquefort cheese

Roquefort is not a light summery cheese, thank god! ©FranceCulture

The kids are back in school

...and parents, be they from France or anywhere else in the world, are very happy. Oui!!!

If you would like to experience fall in France, contact us to help you plan your colorful trip.

France Just For You

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