Updated: Aug 25, 2022
What better way is there to spend a sunny summer afternoon than driving out to a picturesque village in the countryside and getting that postcard view in person? I can't think of too many to be honest. In my latest video, I have been lucky enough to visit, according to the official ranking, one of the most beautiful villages in France: Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei. In this video, we go to a vide-grenier in one of the most scenic backdrops you could imagine. You can click here to view the video. The official guide called "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" meaning "The Most Beautiful Villages of France" in English, is a guide to promote tourism in the most stunning small rural villages that have cultural heritage, therefore allowing people to find the otherwise hidden gems. Consequently, the money from tourism goes towards the upkeep of the villages and helps out the small local businesses. You can click here to visit Les Plus Beaux Villages de France website. So, in the spirit of this guide, I have decided to create my own top ten list of the most beautiful villages in France. So without further ado let's begin.
We are kicking the list off with a bang here. Auvillar is a small village set in the hills of Occitania in the South-West of less than one thousand inhabitants - small but perfectly formed. Auvillar was first established during the Iron Age and has been invaded by the Normans on numerous occasions. It is a popular stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela thanks to the stunning circular grain hall, the clock tower, and the church of Saint-Peter.
Montrésor lies almost slap-bang in the geographical centre of the country in the Centre region. Sitting proudly on the banks of the Indre river, the village is dominated by the wonderful Renaissance Castle of Montrésor. Although the Castle is the main attraction, the rest of the village remains a really nice place to go for a stroll and grab a coffee. Who doesn't love a Chateau?
A completely different entry to the previous two, which showcases the beauty of diversity that France has to offer, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie seems almost too idyllic to be real. The village sits in the South-East of the country in the Provence region in France. The village is situated on the Western entrance to the Verdon gorge and has historically been the hub for the faience trade, which is a form of pottery that is painted. I couldn't think of a nicer place to enjoy a glass of red wine in the evening than this incredible village.
We are coming closer to home with this entry, at the opposite side of the country in the North-West, Sainte-Suzanne was the subject of a video I recently released, which you can click here to view. this charming village in the Mayenne boasts a spectacular Medieval Castle and its surrounding fortifications that are built upon a rocky cliff face overlooking the rolling green hills of the Mayenne. The Castle has a fascinating history that I highly recommend checking out if you like your french history.
Yvoire is a village that sits on the shores of Lake Geneva in the Alps, next door to Switzerland. But Switzerland's loss is France's gain because Yvoire is a sight of Alpine bliss and tranquillity. The village is reputed for its prize-winning colourful flower displays during the Summer and the gardens of "Jardins de Cinq Sens". It looks like a great place to enjoy a hot chocolate on a chilly Winter morning.
Excuse the pun but this village certainly is in vogue. Vogüé is situated in the beautiful Ardèche in Southern France characterized by its cobbled streets. You can kayak down the river, stroll through the woods, explore the narrow streets or climb up to the Saint Cerice Chapel build upon a rock overlooking the village offering a breath-taking view. There are also some great vineyards in the vicinity to do some wine tasting.
Barfleur is an endearing Norman fishing village on the English Channel, at the tip of the Cotentin peninsular, you can sit and watch the fishing boats bringing back their haul. The coastal village with its typically Norman granite houses is actually a port of historical importance during the Norman invasion of England. The Gatteville lighthouse just a stone's throw away is the second tallest in France. Barfleur is famous for its wild mussels, so if you visit be sure to grab a bowl of Moules-Frites.
You might struggle to find this village when you attempt to correctly type Euguishiem in on your GPS however it is well worth the visit. Located in the Alsace region, you would be forgiven if you thought this village was straight from a fairytale. One of the larger villages on this list, the unique architecture of Euguishiem, the dreamy 'colombage' houses and the layout of the streets will mean that you will have plenty to explore during your visit. Not to mention the Christmas market.
Montbrun-les-Bains is an astonishing spa town in the South-West. It is a Roman village characterized by its tall stone houses that were built upon the natural springs surrounded by verdant hills. And what a sight to behold! It is near Mount Ventoux and is a popular destination with cyclists and has some incredibly scenic routes. Not to mention the lavender that grows in the area. What could be more relaxing!
This Norman village is absolutely stunning. A small paragraph would not do this village justice. I was lucky enough to explore this dream of a place in my latest video so head over to my YouTube channel Sean's World to see for yourself.