Real wine enthusiasts, when they come to France, may aim for other spots on the map: Bordeaux in the southwest or Burgundy in the center. But the terrain that produces the world's most refined wines in those regions often turns out to be, well, disappointing: nothing but long rows of vines marching along gentle river valleys. Beaujolais, on the other hand, is worth a journey and a stay. Most of its wine is merely fun, not quite distinguished. But the countryside is lovely: rugged hills and winding roads, villages with ancient stone churches, forest ridgelines touched at sunset by tendrils of fog. It's like the wilder parts of Napa, but with church bells and châteaux. And the foodthis being arguably the "foodiest" part of France, where people talk about the provenance of not only their wines but also their chickensis simply splendid. -- Doyle McManus Read more: Beaujolais' countryside may be France's prettiest wine region Pictured: The Chateau de La Chaize, near the village of Odenas.
Doyle McManus / Los Angeles Times