Have a Spectacular Vino con Vista Wine Weekend in Southwest France

Plan a Spectacular Vino con Vista Wine Weekend where you can explore vineyards, enjoy the celebrated regional cuisine including foie gras and duck confit, shop at local markets, fish in the Pyrenees, tour hilltop castles, admire prehistoric cave paintings or the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, or hike the Lot River valley.

The Atlantic coast offers 100 miles of beach, ending at the luxury resort city of Biarritz. You can find Cahors, Gaillac, and other areas north of the Pyrenees in Southwestern France to sip and savor elegant wines.

 Southwest France is on the Way of St. James, a medieval pilgrimage route that ran on a diagonal line down through France and over the Pyrenees, before heading west to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela near the Spanish coast where the remains of the apostle James were buried. Since the 10th century, pilgrims from across Europe used this route to reach the sacred site.

Toulouse is the capital of the Midi-Pyrenees region and the region’s largest city. Built on the banks of the River Garonne,  It is home to several museums and cultural institutions, the University of Toulouse, and Europe’s leading rugby club, Stade Toulousain.

Here are some tourism highlights.

  • Wine tasting in local wine cellars. From one end of the region to the other, Southwest France is dotted with vineyards run by families who have often been in the wine business for generations. Visitors are graciously welcomed; just follow the signs posted throughout the countryside.
  • Special events. Southwest France is a festive place. Each year wineries across the region host festivals, fairs, picnics, and parties – including Festival Musique en Vignes in Fronton, the Vinovalie Jazz festival, and the internationally renowned Jazz in Marciac festival. Many vineyards also sponsor dinner concerts, where guests can enjoy a wonderful combination of wine, food, and entertainment.
  • Vineyard exploration. Several winegrowers invite guests to explore their extensive grounds – on foot, bike, horseback, or mule. Geocaching is encouraged in some vineyards.
  • Hiking. Hundreds of hiking routes and trails are marked in the region, including the GR10 long-distance footpath, which runs from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
  • Religious pilgrimage. At the foot of the Pyrenees is the Roman Catholic pilgrimage town of Lourdes, which sees hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Southwest France is also home to the ancient pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
  • Architectural charm. With their Old World appeal, the countless villages of Southwest France offer a glimpse into centuries past. Visit fortified towns, medieval castles, Basque Country villages, market towns – all rich with history and character. The area boasts dozens of villages that have been labeled France’s loveliest (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France).
  • France is loaded with Vino con Vista Wine Opportunities:
  • Image result for wine map of southwestern france

Tourism Links


Understanding the Terminology

Each appellation (geographical area) listed on this site is tagged with either an “IGP” or an “AOP.” These designations come from the European Union’s new system of wine regulations, which all French wine regions are in the process of adopting.

Both of these designations indicate that a wine is from a protected, certified wine-making zone and is made under strictly defined production conditions, under the supervision of a certifying body. Each designation is a 100% guarantee of origin.

Here’s a quick guide to help you understand wine bottle labels from Southwest France and other French regions:


AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée)

  • The European equivalent of the French wine classification category AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée)
  • Applies to wine produced following very strict specifications and tied to a defined origin and terroir
(Protected Designation of Origin)

IGP (Indication Geographique Protégée)

  • A wine produced according to strict specifications and certified as having been produced in a defined geographical area
  • Enables producers to bring out the typicality of the place of origin in their wines
(Protected Geographical Indication)

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