10 of France Most Beautifull Villages
10 of France Most Beautifull Villages
Perched high on a 760m cliff and offering panoramic views over the Mediterranean, the Gorges du Loup and even the island of Corsica on a clear day, is the extraordinary village of Gourdon. This medieval village is home to many craftspeople and some of the finest examples of well-preserved and restored houses in France. Visit Gourdon on our French Riviera on Foot.
Completely restored in the last century, the village of Apremont served as a strategic point on the Allier River, and its 12th-century castle, which still has five of its original 12 towers, is a testament to its place in Loire Valley history. The delightful gardens that surround the castle were inspired by Vita Sackville-West’s landscaped garden in Sissinghurst. Visit Apremont-sur-Allier on the classic Loire Valley Bike & Barge trip.
Nestled in lush green surroundings, the tiny village of Conques is a must-see highlight on the French Way of St James or Le Puy Way. Here you will encounter classic half-timbered houses as well as its main attraction, a golden statue covered in gold and precious stones in the Romanesque UNESCO World Heritage-listed abbey of Sainte Foy. Discover Conques on one of our walks along the French Way of St James.
Perched beside the Dordogne River in the shadow of a remarkable medieval fortress once besieged by Richard the Lion Heart, Beynac-et-Cazenac’s 'lauze' stone slab-roofed houses, with their creamy façades, are one of the finest examples of period architecture in the Dordogne region. See them for yourself on our Walking in the Dordogne trip or Highlights of the Dordogne by Bike.
#5 Les Baux-de-Provence
Set in the heart of the Alpilles, the region that captivated the Dutch impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, Les Baux-de-Provence is like perched like an eagle’s nest boasting views across the Camargue. The town was owned by the Grimaldi family until 1790 and Prince Albert of Monaco still retains the honorary title of Marquess of Les Baux. Visit it on our In Van Gogh’s Footsteps, Provence Backroads or Provence Bike and Boat trip.
With just over 650 inhabitants, this quaint village is one of the most beautiful walled villages in the French Basque Country and indeed France. Admire the typical red and white-fronted half-timbered houses that line its only street on our Basque Country Cycle trip.
Estaing’s name was derived from a family of Lords, one of whom saved the life of King Philippe-Auguste in Bouvines and as a reward allowed added the royal fleurs-de-lys to its coat of arms. Shale stone houses with 'lauze' stone-slab roofs surround its dominating castle, which dates back to the 12th century. Visit historic and picturesque Estaing at the foot of the Aubrac Mountains on our The Way of St James – Aumont to Conques walk.
A former stronghold of the Harcourt family, this village in the heart of the Pays d’Auge country on Normandy's famous Cider Route is picture postcard perfect, with fine examples of half-timbered, market and country houses in the village and surrounding Normandy countryside. Get there on our Normandy on Foot or Cycle Normandy tour.
The village of Piana in Corsica sits at the entrance to the red cliffs of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed “Calanques de Piana”, whose contrasting colours of red porphyry rocks against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea is a sight to behold. Its narrow streets, amphitheatre, carefully arranged white houses and the Italian-style church of Sainte Marie have secured it a place on this list. Visit Piana on the self-guided Crossing Corsica trip or Crossing Corsica Guided Walk.
is full of so many fairy tale villages that could all feature on this list, should be on the list, including Colmar and Turckheim, there’s something particularly special about Eguisheim. Considered the birthplace of the wine-growing tradition in the region, this gem of a village’s concentric cobblestone streets and 16th and 17th-century houses featuring pointed roofs, bright colours and half-timbering has helped it to win an impressive list of national and international awards. Explore it on our Alsace Mountains and Vineyards
or Alsace by Bike