French villages: top 10 you should visit

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France has a countless number of villages on its territory. This is due to the rich historical past of the country. Most of these villages possess beautiful architecture which often dates back a few centuries. These French villages are very interesting to visit, to learn about French culture and heritage. You will also love these places if you are interested in architecture or art. Indeed, some French villages live from the craft sector. Enjoy this selection of 10 of the most beautiful French villages

#1 French villages: Eguisheim, Haut-Rhin

Eguisheim is at the far East of France, in the Haut-Rhin department. It is near the German border, as its name suggests. The village is on the edge of the Ballons des Vosges Nature Park, a protected area of woodland, pasture, farmland, and more. Around Eguisheim, you will find vineyards that produce high-quality Alsace wine. This village was elected Favorite French Village in 2013. Indeed, this village has many interesting aspects. In addition to the beautiful architecture of the village itself, hikers and cyclists also like to stop by Eguisheim. There are also many castles to visit closeby. 

Eguisheim, France. Image from Flickr

#2 Beynac-et-Cazenac, Dordogne

This village is in the Dordogne department and is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is in the South of France, a little West. Beynac-et-Cazenac is on the banks of the river Dordogne. The main attraction in this village is the Château de Beynac. This castle is well preserved and one of the best known in the region. It dates back to the Middle-Ages and you will find it perched on top of a limestone cliff. Fun fact: the castle has been a filming location for several movies, such as The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc directed by Luc Besson.

#3 French villages: Gordes, Vaucluse

Gordes is in the department of Vaucluse, in southeastern France. It is in the Vaucluse Mountains, less than two thousand people live there. A castle was built in Gordes in 1031, reinforced a century later. In 1525, the castle was adjusted to the Renaissance style. Unfortunately, the Second World War destroyed parts of Gordes. The village is very charming, with stone-paved streets called calades. You will find all the accommodations you need in Gordes, with hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, rentals, and restaurants.

#4 Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes-Maritimes

This village is in the Alpes-Maritimes department, completely southeast of France. It is a thirty minutes drive from Nice and fifteen minutes away from the Mediterranean coast. Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera. People know the village for its modern and contemporary art museums like the Maeght Foundation. While at Saint-Paul-de-Vence, you can simply walk around the beautiful ancient streets, go on a hike or participate in guided tours.

Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. Image from Flickr

#5 Èze, Alpes-Maritimes

Èze is also in the Alpes-Maritimes department on the French Riviera, by the Mediterranean Sea. Èze is composed of Èze-sur-Mer which is directly by the sea, and Èze-Village which is on the hilltop right beside it. If you go to Èze, you absolutely have to visit the botanical garden. You will find a beautiful collection of cacti and succulents, and the view from there is breathtaking. From up there, you see the two parts of Èze as well as the Sea and the surrounding hills. This magical village is perfect if you want to stay by the sea while discovering a little bit of French history.

#6 Les Baux-de-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône

Les Baux-de-Provence is in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône, south of France. The village is in the Alpilles Mountains, on top of rocky terrain. The village’s castle is in ruins and overlooks the plains south of Les Baux-de-Provence. The village receives approximately 1.5 million visitors every year, also it only has around 400 inhabitants. This location has a rich history, through Prehistory, Antiquity, as well as the Middle Ages. The flora and fauna are also very interesting around Les Baux-de-Provence, and you might enjoy taking hikes in nature there.

#7 French villages: Rocamadour, Lot

This village is in the Lot department, in Southwestern France. The sight of Rocamadour is a mystical one as the village is in a gorge above a tributary of the River Dordogne. Rocamadour attracts pilgrims from many countries with its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Before the houses built alongside the cliff, people lived in caves carved there as early as the Paleolithic period. Indeed, there are even cave drawings in Rocamadour. 

Rocamadour, France. Image from Flickr

#8 Pérouges, Ain

Pérouges is in the Ain department, in the East of France, 30 km northeast of Lyon. This village has a past closely linked to craftsmanship. Craftsmen such as farmers and linen weavers formed the village’s population back in the day. Until the end of the 18th century, the textile industry was very successful in Pérouges. However, people nearly abandoned the village in the next century, and the number of inhabitants was very low. Thankfully, Pérouges was restored in the early 20th century and the beautiful traditional houses are now a big tourist attraction.

#9 Yvoire, Haute-Savoie

Yvoire is in the department of Haute-Savoie, easternmost of France. It is also 24 km away from Geneva. People mainly know this small medieval town for the old medieval buildings as well as the floral displays. There is also a garden named Jardin des Cinq Sens in the center of Yvoire. This town, which was fortified in the 14th century, only has a population of around a thousand people. You will also be able to see the Yvoire Castle, by Lake Geneva.

#10 French villages: Pont-Aven, Finistère

Pont-Aven is in Brittany, in northwestern France in the department of Finistère. In Pont-Aven, you will be able to enjoy beautiful sights thanks to the Aven River with its water mills. This is an artist’s paradise, which is why several well-known artists like Paul Gauguin went there to seek inspiration for their works. As a result, you will find the Musée des Beaux-Arts or Museum of Pont-Aven in this village. In addition to the village itself, the woods around it called Bois d’Amour are also a great spot for artists.

Pont-Aven, France. Picture from Flickr

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