This week on Join Us in France we welcome Elyse back and talk about the many things that happen in France as soon as school vacations roll around. Every year it’s the same: most French people go into vacation mode and many things change all around the country. Does that change anything for visitors? Yes, it certainly does! To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, let us say that an ounce of vacation planning is worth a pound of cure. We touch on summer traffic jams, how French people return to family homes, the difficulties of finding a restaurant open on a Sunday night, and the general ambiance in various regions along French coasts, and much more. Enjoy the show!
Being in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language well can be a challenge for anyone, but in France it doesn’t have to be. Yes, you heard me! There is no good reason to have a hard time in France just because you don’t speak French.
What’s the secret? There’s only one thing you need to know: You must learn a few words of French and you must use them! It’s not very difficult, there are really only 4 that are mandatory, and our list only contains around 20 total. You can probably master those by the time you’re done listening to the podcast. We discuss those magic words and more on today’s show with Todd Newman, author of the wonderful blog Newmans of Leguevin. You will find the list of “magic words” and link to Todd’s blog after the fold 🙂
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Today on Join Us in France we talk about French wine regions and give you some background information on each of them. We’re not sommeliers or oenologues, we’re just a couple of women who enjoy wine and have had a chance to try lots of different ones. We have our favorites and we’re sure you do too! Listen to the show right now or subscribe below so you never miss an episode.
If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.
Brief history of the production of wine in France
Some (rare) parts of France do not produce any wine
There are 3240 different types of wines in France
Quality control for French wine regions
How to read labels in France
The meaning of the term AOC: Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée
Bordeaux: very large production numbers, goes from exquisite to terrible.
Beaujolais: young wines, Beaujolais nouveau is a big deal, but it’s not our favorite.
Burgundy: very large and wonderful wines.
Bugey: white, not as famous as most of the other AOC wines.
Champagne: major wine-growing region.
Corsican: large French island in the Mediterranean, makes very distinctive wines.
Juras: mountainous region in the Alps, Besançon is the major city there. The produce a “yellow wine”, mostly sweet.
Languedoc: used to produce low-quality wines and have since cleaned up their act, they now make some great ones. It includes Minervois and Corbières. This is a very large area called Languedoc-Roussillon.
Loraine: small region that produces mostly white wines.
Valley de la Loire: the Loire River is a large river that crosses France east to west.
Provence: the best rosés produced anywhere are from Provence, but they also produce some red and white. Bandol wines have their own AOC.
Vallée du Rhône: the Rhône is a large river that runs north to south. This is where you’ll find Côte du Rhône in the south, Beaujolais a little more to the north, and to the north of the Rhône area, Burgundy. These are three different OAC groups in the same region.
Savoie: somewhat similar to the wines found in the Juras and Bugey. This region produces white wines that go very well with Cheese Fondue and Raclette, famous dishes of the area. Those are hardy, winter dishes. The wines are fruity and somewhat sweet.
South-Western: includes wines that are not exported very much, Cahors, Madiran, Jurançon, Gaillac, Fronton.