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Beaujolais Nouveau Day – An Unmissable Wine Event in France

Imagine a day dedicated to wine, when the whole of France celebrates with a glass in hand. The Beaujolais Nouveau Day takes place on the third Thursday of November each year and is an event

Image of outdoor view of the Château de La Chaize

Imagine a day dedicated to wine, when the whole of France celebrates with a glass in hand. The Beaujolais Nouveau Day takes place on the third Thursday of November each year and is an event deeply rooted in French tradition and history. It’s one of the most widely celebrated wine events in France and attracts travelers from all over the world. 

The History and Tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Beaujolais Nouveau Day started as something small. Originally, it was an informal celebration for locals to enjoy the first wine following the harvest season. As years passed by, the day expanded and became a national affair. The chosen day of the year became formalized in the 1950s, and today, it’s a country-wide event accompanied by fireworks, music festivals, and food events.


The wine itself from this region is unique. It’s made from Gamay grapes and involves whole grapes being fermented before they’re crushed, a process called carbonic maceration. Unlike many other French wines that are aged over months and years, Beaujolais wine is ready to drink just weeks after harvest. Its difference and uniqueness sets it apart from other wines and is one of the reasons why this day has grown in prominence, both in France and around the world.


On a typical Beaujolais Nouveau Day, you’ll find people all across France indulging in tastings at local bistros or participating in any of the more elaborate events, including parades adorned with colorful floats. The closer you get to the Beaujolais region, the bigger the events get. The town of Beaujeu likes to celebrate each year with Les Sarmentelles, a five-day party dedicated entirely to unveiling the season’s new vintage.


Image of Villié-Morgon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, FrancePhoto credit: Pexels

Beaujolais – The Heart of the Celebration

Another great way to experience this event is to travel right into the heart of the Beaujolais region. With Lyon to the south and Burgundy to the north, it’s an extremely picturesque area with a long winemaking history and plenty to see and do. As you can imagine, this all goes up a gear during November.


You may be drawn to Beaujolais primarily for its famous young wine, your visit can encompass far more. The village of Oingt is famed for its local crafts and art galleries and is one of the most beautiful villages in all of France, while Cluny is filled with scenic natural beauty and was previously a significant region in the Christian world. Both villages have wine tasting options.


If you’re eager to learn about what makes Beaujolais wines so special, there are plenty of vineyard tours available. Many famous wineries like Chateau de La Chaize open their doors for guided tours where you can wander around through vast amounts of grapevines before indulging in a curated tasting session afterward. This hands-on adventure often includes sampling limited-edition cuvées alongside newly released bottles. You’ll get to hear exactly what goes into their process, and this is a great way to make your Nouveau Day trip truly unique.


lamppost near buildings during day in Village d'OingtPhoto credit: Unsplash

Traveling to Beaujolais

If you decide that your Beaujolais Nouveau Day adventure is going to include the Beaujolais region itself, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s easy to travel to. You just need to get to Lyon, France’s third-largest city, and booking companies make this easy. When viewing flights to Lyon with eDreams, you’ll be presented with a mixture of direct and indirect flights from the US, from many well-known carriers like United Airlines and Lufthansa. 


Once you’ve made it to Lyon, it takes less than an hour to drive to the heart of Beaujolais. If you’d prefer not to drive, the route is serviced by rail. Regular train services depart Lyon Part-Dieu station and take you to different parts of Beaujolais, while buses are available, even if the journey takes a little bit longer.


You’ll find accommodation options across all price ranges in both Lyon and Beaujolais, so it just comes down to what your specific preferences are. Staying in a hotel in the city center of Lyon will give you a lot of flexibility, while on the other hand, choosing a bed-and-breakfast closer to the vineyards could provide an even more authentic experience. Either way, try and make a decision early as accommodations of all types can quickly fill up during this period.


Beaujolais wines might not have the same prestige as Bordeaux or Burgundy, Beaujolais Nouveau Day is certainly an event that wine lovers in the country look forward to each year. Given its success, it makes a lot of sense for any wine-loving traveler to make this trip a priority. After all, any excuse to visit France is a good one.

Greetings, wine & travel enthusiasts! Allow me to introduce myself. I am a lover of life's finer things - an avid appreciator of the intricacies and subtleties of wine, a curious explorer of exotic cuisines, and an adventurer at heart. As a natural storyteller, I take pleasure in sharing the knowledge and experiences gained from my travels around the world. So, sit back, relax, and let my words take you on a journey to exciting new destinations!

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