Like any self-respecting winegrowing area, the Beaujolais region has its own wine route. It continues on from the Burgundy Wine Route, passing through the region’s main tourist attractions. All we can say is that there is nothing quite like this 140-km circuit (External link) across the ridges for tickling your taste buds and dazzling your eyes.
From Chânes nearly all the way to Lyon, you'll receive a warm welcome in dozens of municipalities from locals who will be only too pleased to help you discover their heritage, wines and delicacies.
In the North: set off to explore the 10 crus
Start by visiting each of the areas where the 10 emblematic Beaujolais crus are grown and produced. From north to south they are Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Côte de Brouilly and Brouilly. Discoverthe heroic wines (External link) boldly growing in the valleys and hills all around you. And it’s impossible to miss the iconic Mont Brouilly and its charming chapel.
This route in among the heart of the cru vineyards has plenty of other hidden gems such as Argigny Castle in Charentay. Keep this to yourself, but apparently the Templars’ treasure is hidden somewhere inside it… Not far off, the Tour de la Belle-Mère (mother-in-law's tower) was a perfect vantage point for the owner to keep an eye on her son-in-law!
If you likecastles (External link) , there’s plenty to interest you around here! In the north of the Beaujolais region, you’ll find La Chaize Castle in Odenas, Corcelles Castle and Juliénas Castle with its splendid vaulted cellars.
The Beaujolais Villages growing area
The Beaujolais Wine Route takes you through the Beaujolais Villages growing area with its picturesque villages and steeply sloping vineyards.
Stop off in Beaujeu, the historic capital of the Beaujolais region (External link) for a journey back into the history of the region with emblematic sites like Saint Nicholas Church, the Beaujeu hospices and the remains of Beaujeu Castle which was demolished in 1611.
A road running through steeply sloping hillsides takes you to the village of Vaux-en-Beaujolais, the birthplace of French journalist and TV presenter Bernard Pivot and the inspiration for Gabriel Chevallier’s novel Clochemerle. Then it's on to Salles-Arbuissonnas-en-Beaujolais to admire its magnificent priory, before continuing to the mediaeval castle of Montmelas.
The unusual villages of Pierres Dorées
To finish off your trip, the Wine Route takes you across Pierres Dorées (Golden Stones) country. 39 villages built in an ochre-coloured stone that light up with shimmering colours as soon as the first ray of sunlight touches them. Among the villages are Oingt, Ternand and its fortifications, Marcy, Charnay, Jarnioux, Pommiers and Bagnols.
Nicknamed “Little Tuscany”, Pierres Dorées country also has some pretty washhouses, castles and old churches scattered about in the hilly, vine-covered countryside.
The wine route guides you through the main wine tourist attractions in the Beaujolais region and for those who have never been to the area before, there are plenty of surprises in store. The route is also the perfect introduction for people who would like to explore the region further. So, when do you plan to take it?