France is known internationally for its wine. The country has continuously produced some of the best wine in the world and attracts millions of people each year because of the wine. While the south of France gets most of the credit for being a great wine area, northern France also has some areas where the vineyards produce delicious wine. It’s harder to grow and maintain these vineyards in the north because of the weather, but, with the right amount of time and patience, the wine prevails.
The Champagne region of France is home to the most northern vineyards. Unlike wine, Champagne is blended to produce either non-vintage or vintage. The distinct taste of the champagne produced from this region is due to the chalky soil and continental growing conditions. The most highly ranked blends are Krug, Mumm and Bollinger.
A little further down and toward the west is the Loire Valley. This area produces a large amount of wines, but there are a few ranked among the best French wines. Some of the best are Muscadet and Gros Plant from Nantes, France. In addition, the region is known for producing grey wine, a very pale rosé made from black grapes. They are the second-largest producer of sparkling wines after Champagne.
On the other side of France, Alsace produces different wine than the rest of France. Its wine is steeped in the German culture and therefore the wines are more dry or fruity white wines. The most popular are Riesling and Pinot.
Barcelona’s insane popularity and large influx of visitors as of late may have some travelers steering away from the Mediterranean coastal city, but just outside the overpopulated center of the city, known as Ciutat Vella, are quieter neighborhoods that offer more of a local feel and don’t come with exorbitant tourist prices. El Poble-Sec is one such area that rests between the towering Montjuic park and the Old Town, making it a nice escape but still close enough to access the sights.
In food capitals like New York City, foodie crazes seem to rise and set as quickly as the sun, but one trend that has endured for awhile now is the city’s penchant for regional Chinese cuisine, and the East Village is home to some of the city’s top spots for sampling your way through several of these regions.
For most of us, time in the car is “me time.” You can listen to that podcast you’re captivated by, blast that pop song and sing along at the top of your lungs or listen to the next chapter in that biography e-book you’re almost finished. A road trip only amplifies those opportunities. So, next time you’re traveling by road, take the wheel and take control. Opt for a rental car on your next vacation, rather than a rideshare, taxi or public transportation, and enjoy the open road on your own terms.
Some places appear better to visit in the winter. For example, anywhere known for winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, will be less visited in the summer because those same people are going to spend their time at the beach or another destination. However, visiting these destinations during the off-seasons can show a side of the city or town that can’t be seen under piles of snow. It’s worth checking out a couple of these favorite winter destinations.