Pays D’Oc is not actually the name of a French region, but designates a French wine category. Of the seven “Vins de Pays” categories in France, the Pays d’Oc is the largest contributor. It’s name denotes the category of “country wine” made in the Occitanie region, a large area on the southern coast of France, which corresponds to the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region – one of the largest wine growing areas in France (see Day 9).
While the name designates the wine’s geographic origin, the category of a Vins de Pays means producers must follow specific production regulations and submit the wine for analysis and tasting. The Pays d’Oc is one of France’s largest and most popular – and most exported – wine producing areas, selling over 700 million bottles a year produced by 20,000 winegrowers.
photos courtesy of France 24, Regional Committee for Tourism and Leisure of Occitania
The Pays d’Oc wines can best be discovered via its wine routes, where Renaissance towns, gothic architecture and a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites exist among the Pays d’Oc vineyards. Four historic roads cross through the area: the Canal du Midi, the Via Domitia, the ways of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle and the seaside resort of Sète. The area makes for an exciting trip of exploring various periods of history, while discovering more than 100 estates, châteaux and cooperative cellars waiting to greet you with their wines.
The Pays d’Oc is home to a wealth of five-star wine experiences, luxury accommodations including grand châteaux and to cozy vineyard gîtes to boutique B&Bs. The culinary offerings of the region are excellent, and include Michelin-starred restaurants as well as notable estate-based restaurants. Visitors to this area can embark on gastronomic tours focused on the area’s wines, or foraging for the area’s famed black truffle, or other food and wine activities.
WHEN TO GO: March/April/May or September. Allow at least 3 to 4 days, or a full week for a more immersive experience.
POPULAR TRAVEL STYLES: Small Private Groups, Independent Travel, Canal Barge Cruises, Wine & History Themed Travel
IDEAL FOR: Culinary/Wine, Nature Vacation, Romantic Travel, Family Travel, Hiking/Biking/Boating, History Buffs, Regional/Multi-Regional Vacation
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