Their setting alone is sufficient of a cause to go to France’s lovable villages. Whether or not spiraling up steep rocky outcrops or rising gently above rolling vineyards and manicured fields of lavender, these perched oases of bucolic beauty blend seemingly into the magnificent landscapes surrounding them. Like portals to the previous, they mix charming medieval structure with oodles of cultural intrigue and a sprinkle of je ne sais quoi, offering a fascinating journey via the France of occasions passed by.
If a romantic rural escape is in your agenda, then daydream not and begin packing for a trip to the Hexagon! From the idyllic hilltop hamlets of Provence to the half-timbered stunners of Normandy, these are probably the most lovely villages in France:
- 1 Eguisheim, Haut-Rhin
- 2 Beynac-et-Cazenac, Dordogne
- 3 Kerhinet, Loire-Atlantique
- 4 Yvoire, Haute-Savoie
- 5 La Roque-Gageac, Dordogne
- 6 Moustiers Sainte-Marie, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
- 7 Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Lot
- 8 Ménerbes, Vaucluse
- 9 Collonges-La-Rouge, Corrèze
- 10 Locronan, Brittany
- 11 Gordes, Vaucluse
- 12 Saint Paul de Vence, Alpes-Maritimes
- 13 Saignon, Vaucluse
- 14 Eze, Alpes-Maritimes
- 15 Ménéham, Finistère
- 16 Flavigny, Côte-d’Or
- 17 Les Baux-de-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône
- 18 Coaraze, Alpes-Maritimes
- 19 Beuvron-en-Auge, Calvados
- 20 Vézelay, Yonne
Rolling vine-carpeted hills encompass the picturesque village of Eguisheim on the Alsatian Wine Route. Its concentric slender streets lined with colorful half-timbered homes and pretty floral blossoms curl like a snail’s shell around a medieval citadel, while pointed gables, tithe courtyards, and fairly historic fountains add to the fairytale feel.
Constructed into the cliffs along the River Dordogne, Beynac-et-Cazenac is a cluster of ochre stone houses and quaint slender lanes begging to be explored. Dominating the village, the 12th-century Château de Beynac is likely one of the greatest preserved medieval castles in France and provides magnificent views over the encompassing valley.
Getting into Kerhinet, an lovable little hamlet of 18 thatched-roofed cottages in the Loire Valley, is like stepping again in time. Lovingly restored by the Brière Regional Nature Park, the pedestrian village can also be an open-air museum the place guests can admire the world’s typical structure, study concerning the park’s rich wildlife, or purchase local artisan items like cider, honey, pâté, and jewelry.
A member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France), Yvoire attracts hundreds of tourists every summer time with its idyllic flower-bedecked streets and spectacular Garden of 5 Senses. Otherwise, its fortified historic middle is replete with medieval treasures, and winding cobblestoned alleys result in the serene shores of Lake Geneva, where fishing boats bob gently in the water.
La Roque-Gageac, Dordogne
Sandwiched between towering limestone crags and the meandering Dordogne river, the peculiar village of La Roque-Gageac is house to prehistoric cliff dwellings, a 12th-century troglodyte fort, and a bewildering unique garden crammed with palms, agaves, fig timber, and bamboos. All over the place else, grandiose chateaux and typical honey-colored houses with Lauzé roofs vie for area alongside the cobbled labyrinthine streets.
Moustiers Sainte-Marie, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
For old-world Provençal allure in a dramatic setting, head to Moustiers Sainte-Marie. Tucked in between two rocky slopes proper in the guts of the Verdon Regional Nature Park, the village makes a superb base for exploring Europe’s Grand Canyon or the lavender fields of Valensole, but it’s also nicely value a go to of its personal.
Wandering by means of the slender stone streets, rimmed by pastel traditional houses with red-tile roofs, you’ll come across fantastic ceramic workshops, exceptional medieval churches, and gourmand eateries spilling out onto petit sunny squares.
Cascading down a sheer cliff high above the River Lot, terracotta-tiled Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is rather more than just a fairly face. Rich in history and heritage, the village is not any stranger to tourists, however by some means has managed to retain all the allure and character of yesteryear. There are nice paved alleyways to stroll along, cute flowery terraces to take a seat at and admire the view, in addition to fascinating Gothic façades, fortified gates, and artwork galleries to find.
As with most villages in Provence, the easiest way to find Ménerbes is by wandering its slender cobbled streets, bounded by elegant 16th and 17th-century architecture and plush views of the encompassing valleys. Standing proud on an extended, slender mountain crest 230 meters above sea degree, this is in all probability probably the most well-known of Luberon’s perched villages, due partly to British writer Peter Mayle’s who wrote A Yr in Provence whereas dwelling right here.
Whimsical conical turrets, cute little lanes, and climbing vines adorning the partitions – this distinctive hamlet in Corrèze is the stuff of medieval French fairytales. As its identify suggests, Collonges-La-Rouge stands out because of the rusty-red shade of its homes, all built from local iron-rich sandstone. The structure is delightful and there are cute, photogenic corners at every turn. Not only that, but the village performs host to some really delicious eateries and enchanting craft boutiques promoting regionally made items.
Quaint paved streets wind previous characterful granite buildings interspersed with purple wisteria in Locronan.
Well-known for its elaborate spiritual procession (Troménie), this quintessentially Breton village revolves round Place de l’Eglise, a stunning cobbled square framed by handsomely preserved Renaissance mansions. Also right here you’ll find an historic properly, as well as the 15th century Church of Saint Ronan, which is an excellent instance of flamboyant Gothic architecture.
Hidden in the aspect streets are all types of craft boutiques, candy crêperies, and alluring outside terraces to take a seat and unwind between promenades.
One in every of Provence’s most beautiful hilltop villages, Gorges has lengthy seduced artists and travelers from everywhere in the world with its rustic ambience and dramatic setting on the edge of the Vaucluse plateau.
With its previous dry-stone houses, quintessential terracotta rooftops, and romantic calades – slender, arcaded cobbled streets typical to the world, it offered the right backdrop for the movie A Yr in Provence starring Russel Crowe and Marion Cotillard.
Whereas from March to October colourful festivals breathe new life into the village, its spectacular views and vigorous Tuesday market stay favourite year-round points of interest.
Saint Paul de Vence, Alpes-Maritimes
Snuggled in the hills above Nice, on the glitzy Cote d’Azur, Saint Paul de Vence is an artwork lover’s paradise. Its storied labyrinthine lanes are awash with artists’ workshops, modern galleries, and illustrious museums, none extra so than the distinctive Fondation Maeght, which homes one in every of Europe’s largest collections of 20th-century art. Even inns, restaurants, and churches throughout the commune shelter works by the likes of Tintoretto, Matisse, and Picasso.
Not a fan of the arts? Take pleasure in la belle vie in St. Paul’s atmospheric cafés and classy fine-dining eateries, wander along its pedestrian-only cobblestone streets adorned with elegant fountains and vine-carpeted stone partitions, or take in outstanding views of the encompassing countryside, terraced vineyards, and glistening Mediterranean Sea from the imposing ramparts.
In Saignon, a chocolate-box Luberon village hanging precariously off a hillside above Apt, all roads result in the charming central placette (small square). A cluster of pretty ivy-covered shuttered homes intermingled with flowery squares and effervescent fountains, this peaceable, welcoming group is bursting with Provencal appeal.
Whereas right here, pay a go to to the imposing 12-century Romanesque church of Notre Dame de Pitie after which stroll up to the Rock of Saignon, regionally generally known as Rocher de Bellevue, for fabulous 360-degree views over the Luberon valley, mountains, and perfumed lavender fields.
There will not be many things in France fairly as magical as strolling the steep, secret alleyways of Eze. Tucked high on a hill above the French Riviera, somewhere between Nice and Monaco, this postcard-perfect mountaintop village is all about tiny tangled streets and wonderful stone homes converted into galleries, eating places, and boutiques. Every step leads to an exquisite sight, be it a comfortable courtyard, a time-worn wall draped in bougainvillea, or a brilliant blue glimpse of the ocean beyond.
Eze’s icing on the cake, nevertheless, is its hovering Jardin Exotique, from the place mesmerizing vistas of the coast unfold in all directions.
France is jam-packed with unique villages, but none more so than Ménéham. Although utterly deserted in the ‘90s, this peculiar little hamlet surrounded by spectacular coastal scenery has been thoughtfully restored to its rustic architectural glory.
Hidden behind otherworldly granite boulders on Brittany’s Finistère coast, its quaint thatch-roofed homes supply a glimpse into the lives of the peasant farmers and seaweed fishermen who lived right here through the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of those historic shelters home artisan studios and short-term exhibitions, and there’s additionally the village’s unique inn, where you possibly can gasoline up with tasty crêpes, recent seafood, and other regional specialties earlier than embarking on a tour around this magical website.
Sturdy medieval walls and imposing stone gateways body this good-looking monastic village in the Cote d’Or department of Burgundy. Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, or just Flavigny, was used as the setting for the 2000 drama Chocolat featuring Johnny Deep and Juliette Binoche, and it’s no marvel why. Centered round an 8th-century Benedictine abbey, it oozes history from each cobblestone of its romantic alleys, whereas a sweet scent of anise fills the air.
The village is especially famous for the anise-based candies manufactured in its medieval monastery because the ninth century. In truth, Les Anis de Flavigny manufacturing unit is the oldest model in the complete country, and considered one of its most beloved.
Les Baux-de-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône
Stretching along a steep hillside between Arles and Avignon, Les Baux-de-Provence is a gracefully preserved Renaissance village guarded by the in depth ruins of a Medieval citadel.
Beyond its apparent Provençal charms – pretty stone houses, sun-dappled squares, and lavender-scented cobblestoned lanes, this place can also be house to a Michelin-starred restaurant and the awe-inspiring Carrières de Lumières – an historic limestone quarry where artworks by Monet, Renoir, and other Renaissance giants are projected on the underground walls as a part of some really immersive multimedia exhibits.
Also referred to as Village du Soleil, Coaraze is blissfully sunny and impossibly picturesque. It sits on a rocky sandstone outcrop in the hills north of Good and scattered round it are colourful ceramic sundials created by John Cocteau, Ponce de Leon, and Henri Goetz, to name however a number of.
Slender serpentine streets open onto luminous plazas bursting with flowers, grand mansions in fairly pastels stand aspect by aspect with fantastic crumbling stone houses, and vaulted passageways contribute to the time-warp feeling.
Heaps of authentic Norman appeal along with magnificent examples of 17th-century half-timbered structure have earned Beuvron-en-Auge a spot in Les Plus Beaux Villages de France affiliation.
Situated in the guts of Pays d’Auge, alongside the Normandy cider route, the hamlet, which consists of hardly greater than an extended road with archetypal striped homes on each side, is as beguiling as they come. Brightly coloured flowers bloom all over the place and the quaint village sq. is filled with craft studios and enchanting boutiques promoting every part from pretty antiques to sweet cider to fiery calvados (native apple brandy).
A UNESCO Heritage Website in northern Burgundy, Vézelay is an architectural feast, with numerous characterful ochre stone buildings and historic monuments lining its steep, slender streets, in addition to ramparts, towers, and gates encircling its core. Overlooking the village, its 11th-century Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene is a masterpiece of Romanesque artwork and probably the most necessary stops on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim method.
However except for its historic, inventive, and non secular significance, pretty Vézelay lures lovers of food and nature in equal measure. Bistros around city serve melt-in-your-mouth boeuf bourguignon, and mountaineering opportunities abound in the nearby Morvan Regional Natural Park, or by way of the storied vineyards of Burgundy.