In the north of the Rhône department, not far from Lyon, is a region known all over the world for its vineyards: Pays Beaujolais. This lush green territory, whose vineyards cover nearly 16,000 hectares, is made up of four zones: Vineyard Beaujolais (Beaujolais Vignoble), Countryside Beaujolais (Beaujolais Vert Nature), Golden Stone Beaujolais (Beaujolais des Pierres Dorées) and Town Centre Beaujolais (Beaujolais cœur de ville). Lovers of fine wines will be delighted to learn that introductory tasting sessions are available, with 10 wines such as Brouilly, Chénas and Saint Amour.
But Pays Beaujolais also has many charming places to visit, forming a wonderful heritage. Among them is Beaujeu, the historic capital of the Beaujolais region, with its picturesque half-timbered residence where the House of the Beaujolais Terroir is now based. There is also Villefranche-sur-Saône, the main town in Beaujolais, with its Rue Nationale lined with historic façades. Salles-Arbuissonnas-en-Beaujolais, which has preserved a superb Romanesque cloister from its past, is well worth a visit. Not forgetting the villages in the Land of Golden Stones, such as Bagnols, Oingt, Ternand and Jarnioux, where the lovely ochre and golden colours of the houses add considerable charm. Lovers of old buildings will enjoy visiting the castles and churches.
When it comes to countryside, Pays Beaujolais has countless marked paths in a landscape of valleys and hills, where meadows alternate with forests and vines. A treat for hikers! Essential rambles include one on Mount Brouilly, offering a splendid view over the vineyard of the same name and the Saône Valley. You can also hike up Mount Saint-Rigaud, the highest point in Beaujolais, for an equally spectacular 360° view.