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Enjoying the French Vineyards Backpacker Style

Bordeaux: Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

Bordeaux: Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte (photo: Megan Mallen)

[O]n a European inter-rail trip France is one of the most popular destinations.

As well as the obligatory trip to Paris many backpackers also want to explore the famed French countryside.

Favored by a host of iconic artists and poets, rural France offers a unique landscape and color palate that is both charming and romantic.

The other big draw for backpackers in rural France are the vineyards where some of the world's most celebrated wine is produced.

Traveling on a shoe-string budget doesn't mean that you have to miss out on a wine tour of the country. Below you will find two ways you can appreciate French wine country backpacker style.


One of the most popular and rewarding ways to see France's vineyards is by volunteering at one.

By making use of websites such as WWOOF and WorkAway it is possible to find a number of vineyards that are currently seeking volunteers.

Help is predominantly needed during the grape harvest but it is possible to secure positions all year round.

By offering a few hours a day in exchange for food and board you can enjoy the classic wine regions of the Loire Valley, Bordeaux and Champagne on a modest backpacking budget.

Volunteering also presents the opportunity to get immersed in the French wine making culture and meet local people, adding to the truly authentic traveling experience.


If you don't fancy volunteering then that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the vineyard experience. Another fairly low-budget way to enjoy one of the wine regions of France is to book into a hostel and hire push bikes.

Cycling around the French countryside visiting vineyards for wine tasting makes for a highly enjoyable and low-cost activity for a few days or even a few weeks.

Package vineyard tours, by bicycle or otherwise, can be expensive. By planning your own itinerary and hiring bikes it is possible to enjoy all the same perks at a much lower price. Just make sure you don't get too carried away with the wine tasting before the cycle back to the hostel.

Try part of the EuroVelo6 route, which links the Black Sea to the Adriatic, to take in the vineyards of Southern Burgundy, as well as some intriguing historic sites and medieval towns dotted along the unbroken route.

Make sure you stop off at Provence and Languedoc for some excellent wine tasting, amazing honey, bread and olives in the south of France too.

However you choose to do it, exploring the wine regions of France is one of the most classically European activities to enjoy on a tour of the continent.


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Alex | Partial Parallax

Friday 4th of October 2013

Oh I didn't realise you could actually do WWOOFing in France I'll have to keep this in-mind for the next wine season would be a lot of fun to spend sometime out there!

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