Beautiful villages in France: In the French countryside you will find many charmingly beautiful and quiet towns where you can relax, immerse yourself in the atmosphere and enjoy the slow pace of life. From artistic adventures and fairy tale scenes to fortified hilltop fortresses, here are nine of the most stunning and little-known villages in France.
The 9 most beautiful villages in France
- Guarded by a Star: Moutiers Sainte Marie, Provence
This beautiful village, which serves as the gateway to the Verdon Gorge, is nestled at the foot of impressive cliffs on both sides of the Adu River. It is famous for its decorative faience pottery and the 14th-century Notre Dame de Beauvoir chapel, which sits at the top of a steep path. Between the rocks hangs a shining golden star protecting the village. They say it was hung by a knight-errant.
- Fairy scene: Riquewihr, Alsace
The location is rumored to be the inspiration for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Riquewihr is a charming village with winding streets and secluded courtyards. The colorful 16th-century houses that line its streets are immersive with their traditional architecture and flower-decorated balconies. Riquewihr is also known for its outstanding wine, so check out one of the many tasting rooms during your visit.
- Artisan’s Refuge: Pigna, Corsica
A tiny medieval hillside village, Pigna is a charming mix of cobbled streets, honey-colored stone houses, and blue-shuttered windows, surrounded by sun-drenched olive groves. Today it is known for its traditional crafts and music, with potteries, art galleries, and craft shops that create music boxes and glassware.
- Perfume Wonderland: Grasse, French Riviera
Tucked away in the hills north of Cannes, this city is actually the center of the French perfume industry, producing over two-thirds of the country’s natural fragrances used in perfumes and food flavors. There are about 30 perfume factories in Grasse, three of which offer guided tours and perfume workshops where you can hone your skills.
- Historic fortress: Dom, Dordogne
This striking bastide (fortified village) has panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from a hilltop 150 meters above sea level. Built in 1281, the majestic ramparts and gates of the medieval cityscape are among the best preserved in the region. The ruins and underground caves are interesting to explore, and you can even see the drawings that were engraved on the walls by imprisoned Templars in the 14th century.
- Red: Roussillon, Provence
Roussillon is an old mining town located on one of the largest deposits of ocher in the world – it is this pigment that gives the area its characteristic reddish tint. All the buildings and streets are painted in different shades of crimson, but one of the best ways to enjoy this natural hue is to hike along the Sentiers de Ocres trail, where you can see the cliffs turning red up close.
- Artistic canvas: Auvers-sur-Oise, Val-d’Oise
It was in this humble village that Vincent van Gogh spent his last days, and making a trip here is like stepping into one of his paintings. This rural landscape, located on the Oise River and surrounded by rolling wheat fields, inspired several works of the artist. Today you can follow in his footsteps and admire real-life conditions side by side with reproductions of his images.
- Escape to the Sea: Villefranche-sur-Mer, Côte d’Azur
Set around a deep, shimmering blue harbor, this quaint fishing village retains an authentic charm despite being easily accessible from Nice. It’s perfect for lazy days to watch the boats rocking in the bay while sipping coffee or just take a stroll in the sea breeze. Don’t miss the 14th century chapel, whose interior is covered with frescoes by the artist Jean Cocteau.
- Flower Festival: Rochefort-en-Terre, Brittany
Every piece of Rochefort-en-Terre looks like it’s on a postcard. Among the cobbled squares with historic stone buildings, art galleries, pancake shops, and craft workshops, you’ll feel like you’re walking through a storybook. And since the windows below the windows are filled with bright flowers that proudly decorate almost every house, it is not surprising that the village has been voted one of the most beautiful in France.
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