If you love wine and running, the Beaujolais Marathon is for you! Our local wine expert Caroline Conner tells us why you should run in this festive Marathon.
10 Unmissable Things to do in Beaujolais
Visiting Beaujolais? Check out our top 10 things to do in Beaujolais
The Beaujolais wine region is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Lyon, so make sure to get it on your radar! This gorgeous countryside is filled with charming villages, vine-covered hills, and epic panoramas. Discover the best things to explore and activities to do in our northern neighbor Beaujolais.
1. Visit the beautiful medieval village of Oingt
This delightful village is a perfect, picturesque medieval town full of tiny cobbled streets. Highlights include the old castle chapel and village church, and all of the buildings are made out of the classic Beaujolais pierre dorée.
This local stone is bright mustard yellow, and makes everything extra warm and lovely. The village also has gorgeous views out over the valley. To save you some trouble: Oingt is pronounced as a throaty “wah”, like describing a baby’s cry and sneezing at the same time.
2. Have lunch on the terrace at Château de Bagnols
Enjoy a Michelin star lunch overlooking the hilly vineyards of Beaujolais at this 13th Century castle. As with all Michelin star restaurants, lunch is always going to be your best value option.
This 5 star, Relais & Château hotel is a beautifully restored medieval fortress with a fabulous spa. If you’re the type for luxury and don’t mind a hefty price tag, this is the place to stay.
Château de Bagnols
Le Bourg, 69620 Bagnols
+33 74 71 40 00
3. Spend an afternoon at Hameau Duboeuf, a wine theme park (!)
Stop the car. Yes, friends, it’s a wine-themed amusement park. This kitsch experience includes a wine history museum, tourist train, and even has mini-golf for the kids.
Full of interactive experiences and even a few rides, this is a family-friendly wine outing. I recommend approaching this from an attitude of humor, since it is not exactly shiny and new, and appreciating it for what it is.
796 La Gare, 71570 Romanèche-Thorins
+33 03 85 35 22 22
4. Discover the local geology at Espace Pierre Folles
This cool museum and geopark is great for adults and kids alike, showing off incredible fossils and explaining the different geological features of the Beaujolais region.
This is a museum with lots going on, from an overview of the geological forces that created the earth, to the specifics of the local geology that influences the Beaujolais wine. The museum includes a park that shows off amazing geological strata, as well as a botanic garden.
Espace Pierre Folles
116 Chemin du Pinay, 69380 Saint-Jean-des-Vignes
+33 04 79 43 69 20
5. Seek an incredible view at La Chapelle de la Madone
Beaujolais is all gorgeous rolling hills, which means plenty of opportunity for views! This lovely chapel in Fleurie is an iconic spot for panorama viewers.
You can see all around the surrounding region and over the Saône, even getting a view of the Alps on clear days. Make sure to bring your camera, it’s selfie time!
6. Discover the highest quality artisan oils and vinegars at Huilerie Beaujolaise
Attention foodies: for something truly off the beaten path, make an appointment to visit the mill at Huilerie Beaujolaise, an artisanal producer of incredible oils and vinegars.
This is a top producer, and the shop itself is worth visiting even if you can’t swing a visit to the mill. Located in Beaujeu, a historic medieval capital of the region, this is a place worth visiting.
29 Rue des Echarmeaux, 69430 Beaujeu
+33 04 74 69 28 06
7. Explore Renaissance Villefranche with the Circuit des Trésors Cachés
This is a walking tour of Villefranche-sur-Saône, the big city of Beaujolais. It’s the “circuit of secret treasures” and takes you past gorgeous historical buildings.
Check it out at the tourist office for a guided tour, or a map to let you discover it for yourself. This walk includes lots of Renaissance courtyards, beautiful colonnades, windows, and more.
8. Shop at the covered market in Villefranche-sur-Saône
While you’re in Villefranche, take a morning stroll through the amazing covered market, where you’ll see farmers and vendors selling their wares.
This is a classic, authentic French experience. From fresh produce to fish, cheese to artisanal products like oils and jams, you can expect to find a huge array of wonderful things to eat. Beaujolais is an agricultural region, so you’ll find all sorts of incredible food to enjoy.
Villefranche-sur-Saône Covered Market
Place du 11 Nov 1918, 69400 Villefranche-sur-Saône
Open in the mornings every day except for Tuesday and Thursday
9. Take a Segway tour with a panoramic view and a wine tasting
Zipping up and down the vineyards by Segway is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With this tour, you can visit the Beaujolais Cru of Chiroubles and enjoy a wine tasting with snacks, as well as heading up to see one of the most stunning panoramic vistas to be found in the region.
If you’ve never been on a Segway, yes you will look like a dork, but it’s worth it because they are so incredibly fun.
10. Last but not least: Taste some amazing wine!
There are so many wonderful Beaujolais producers to visit. Don’t be fooled by whatever nasty reputation is leftover from the 90s, Beaujolais wines are amazing and incredibly good value.
You can organize your own wine tours following my advice, or get a tour.