Welcome to Wednesday and today we are exploring the Beaujolais region with the help of Magali from Celebrate Agency, a wedding planning agency in the Rhone Alpes area of France. Planning a wedding in an area of France that you are not familiar with then check out our Wanderlust series or why not explore Nantes here from previous weeks.
Exploring the Beaujolais region
Beaujolais is a historical province and a wine-producing region situated in the north of Lyon and the south of the Saône-et-Loire department (Burgundy). The region is known internationally for its long tradition of winemaking. This hilly region, between the Saône Valley to the east and the Loire Valley to the west, is where the Gamay grape thrives as nowhere else.
The region can be divided into 4 destinations : Vineyards, Pierres Dorées (Golden Stones), Nature and City.
Beaujolais Villages, together with 10 vintages, draw visitors into the heart of the Beaujolais vineyards to experience the mellowness of the area and the mood of the landscape.
From Clochemerle to Saint Amour, here you are in the heart of Beaujolais vineyard. The melodious landscapes punctuated by the rigorous geometry of the vineyards follow one another. Every surprises you with a mansion or a chapel, every turn reveals an unexpected panorama. The villages are settled in the beautiful surrounding scenery made of golden and purple colors at autumn time. In some places, you will find lookouts that offer breathtaking views over the hills and even Mont Blanc.
Near Lyon, southern Beaujolais is a lively and luminous land that is remarkable for its yellow ocher stone built villages playing with sunlight glare, giving this area the nickname of the French Tuscany.
Each village in the southern part of the vineyard originally had a stone quarry from a limestone and ferrous soil, and easy to work. The yellow ocher stone offers a range of warm colors, as if it was sunlit, and gives its originality and charm to this Beaujolais region. Everywhere, used in building houses and castles, but also churches, wash houses, wells and walls, it dominates the landscape. Don’t miss the Château de Rochebonne in Theizé !
West of the region, change of scenery: the vines give way to pines and outdoor activities. With its mountains and valleys, green Beaujolais promises surprising gustatory pleasures. Beyond the mountain passes overlooking the vineyard is a completely different Beaujolais to be discovered: vast coniferous forests covering the mountains of over 1000m above sea level, a green landscape dotted with tranquil villages, and narrow valleys drained by the river.
“Beaujolais Vert” is a land of textile tradition that lived for several centuries to the rhythm of the looms. Breeding today is very present and several associations of producers offer to visit their farm, tasting and selling their products. Ideal destination for nature lovers, walkers, horseback or mountain bike riders, and tranquility, Beaujolais Vert offers full-scale surprises.
A stopover on the road heading south of France and the economic capital of Villefranche offers a cultural diversity within it historical heart. Villefranche-sur-Saône reveals its surprising nature, both urban and rural.
Treat yourself first with a surprising stroll along Rue Nationale and discover the heart of a unique city. Here you are in the heart of Caladois heritage, a succession of courtyards and Renaissance houses lining the Rue Nationale, the caladois heritage arouses your curiosity and gives you a cultural break.
THINGS TO DO
Beaujolais is one of the best-known wines from France. Remarkably, it sends its roots down into the granite soil, producing rather fruity wines, often of a superb violet colour. In addition to the popular Beaujolais Nouveau, ten vintages -Beaujolais, Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côtes de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent, Régnié and Saint-Amour- are to be found in the Beaujolais Region.
The new Beaujolais wine route, which was established in 2010, is located in the extension of the Route des Vins de Bourgogne. It extends over 140 km, from Chânes to the gates of Lyon. Real thread between the main places of tourist attractions of the vineyard, the new route guide visitors in their discovery of Beaujolais in the heart of the 10 vintages.
In order to best promote its landscapes and its wines, the Interprofession des vins du Beaujolais has implemented several GPS audioguided tours, designed around the Wine Road and going through charming villages.
Also a guide book is free on request from [email protected].
Many cellars and wine cooperative offer wine tasting. You can find them all on the Beaujolais vignoble website.
Châteaux – Reminders of the nobles who crossed the Beaujolais during the Middle Age…
The Beaujolais region has so many castles to be discovered it would be a pity not taking a chance to visit at least one while you enjoy this beautiful region. Whether you are looking for a place to stay, to get married or to taste wine, these remarkable landmarks might all meet your expectations. The challenge will be to make a choice in the long list of these fabulous castles.
Hôtel Dieu in Belleville – A treasure of hospital heritage…
Opened in 1733 with 14 beds for poor people and then enlarged over the years up to 19th century, Belleville’s Hôtel-Dieu was in service until 1991. It has been perfectly preserved and is a faithful reminder of hospital life. Here you will find the apothecary and its rich collection of earthenware, porcelain and glass, the council chamber with its precious archives, the chapels with exhibitions of sacred art and the three wards that are still fully furnished. Get an authentic
glimpse of the past from heaters to linen cupboards…
The Priory of Salles-Arbuissonnas-en-Beaujolais – The last Romanesque cloister of the Rhône…
Discover the Priory, friendly museum that traces the beautiful history of Salles-Arbuissonnas. The Priory invites you to discover its rich history, from its occupation during the Neolithic period to the arrival of Benedictines, through the construction of a Romanesque cloister in the tenth century and its evolution up to the eighteenth century.
It traces the life of canons countesses, powerful noblewomen, between social life and religious life, which deeply marked the history of the town. The chapters of noble women are not common things in the region, which gives the Priory its originality. This historic monument presents numerous works of art, representative of different eras and morals. It’s a small gem of Beaujolais, a site not to be missed.
The Trade Guilde Museum of Romanèche-Thorins – UNESCO registered masterpieces of carpentry…
The museum explains the concept of special guilds for the building and construction trades, by showcasing the collection of Pierre-François Guillon (1848-1923), a Master carpenter of the guild known as “The Duty of Freedom”. Pierre-François Guillon founded a school for construction design arts in 1871 in Romanèche-Thorins. There he taught carpentry, joinery, and stone work to apprentices, from all over France and from abroad, for 52 years.
The Beaujolais is a very welcoming region with a wide range of accommodation, from the simplest to the most luxurious for an unforgettable stay.
For honeymooners, we highly recommend these places :
- 5* Hotel Château de Bagnols
- 4* Hotel and spa Château de Pizay
- The perfectly named Auberge du Paradis in Saint-Amour
- B&B Château de Tanay
WHERE TO EAT
Very close to Lyon, the capital of gastronomy, the Beaujolais region will please every french cuisine lover thanks to its numerous Michelin-starred restaurants.
The prestigious 2* Meilleur Ouvrier de France Guy Lassausaie
With an exceptional view over the vineyards La Table de Lachassagne
In the highly renown vineyard of Juliénas Restaurant Chez La Rose