Where are France’s best-loved villages? With 153 villages considered to be “the most beautiful in France”, we’ve picked ten from the collection that are among the most popular to visit or live in.
Inspired by the recent release of the Official Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages of France, which featured in a recent article in The Telegraph, here is a list of ten of the most picturesque villages in France.
With each possessing historical and cultural riches, these are some of rural France’s most attractive places to visit or to buy property in France.
1. Domme, Dordogne, Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes
Domme, situated in the Périgord Noir, is one of the most sought-after bastide towns by those looking to buy property in France.
It is positioned above the Dordogne river offering stunning views of the Dordogne countryside. Stone gateways and small turrets make up some of the town’s beautiful architectural features and there are plenty of 13th century buildings to admire, especially near the caves – the “grottes de Domme” – which are one of the area’s most popular attractions.
2. Gordes, Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
The area where Peter Mayle set his many books, the Luberon is probably the most famous part of Provence of which Gordes is one of the most coveted villages. A location famed for its beautiful hilltop villages, wonderful scenery, sites of interest, superb food, glorious weather and spectacular lavender fields, Gordes, and some of the surrounding villages, are in high demand.
3. Ars-en-Ré, Charente-Maritime, Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes
The île-de-Ré is a quaint, pretty island located off the west coast of La Rochelle that is connected to the mainland via a 3km-long bridge. Ars-en-Ré can be found on the north-west side of the island and is known as one of the jewels of the Atlantic coast.
With a charming harbour, which can accommodate more than 500 boats, a collection of cafes, shops and restaurants and windmills, this village is, with good reason, high on the “must-visit” list for holidaymakers in France.
4. La Roche-Guyon, Val d’Oise, île-de-France
Located in the Val d’Oise department, La Roche-Guyon is one of the most visited villages in the Seine Valley. It is particularly renowned for the 13th century Château de La Roche-Guyon, which is built at the side of the cliff. With many restaurants and gardens, this is a charming village which delights hundreds of visitors each year.
5. Monpazier, Dordogne, Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes
Monpazier is considered to be the model example of a bastide town out of the 300 that were built. Founded in the 13th century, it is home to some beautiful medieval architecture, and is just 15km south of Domme and 45km from Sarlat.
There are more than 30 buildings in Monpazier that are listed as national monuments and the centre is filled with picturesque houses and quaint side streets which take you back in time.
6. Najac, Aveyron, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées
Located 50km from Albi in the Tarn department, Najac is a magnificent village set along the Aveyron river. Renowned for its medieval buildings, it is highly popular with second-home owners and tourists, making it a busy destination during the summer months.
The village is dominated at its peak by its famous 13th century château, which offers sensational views of the area.
7. Roussillon, Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
While many villages in Vaucluse offer their own unique version of Provence, one not to be missed is Roussillon. Once part of the seabed, large, striking ochre cliffs make the approach to the town instantly recognisable – as is Roussillon itself, with its red, orange and yellow stone buildings. Unique and exceptional, a trip to Roussillon is an unforgettable experience.
8. Sainte Enimie, Lozère, Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées
Situated in the famous Gorges du Tarn area – some of the deepest and most attractive gorges in Europe – this riverside town is one of the most popular in this region. Home to a 10th-century abbey, a 14th century church and many limestone houses, it is also a perfect spot from which to explore the Gorges du Tarn, either on foot or by kayak.
9. Yvoire, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Not far from the property hotspot of Thonon-les-Bains on Lake Geneva, Yvoire is a fortified medieval village that is nicknamed “gem of the lake”. Must-dos include visiting the Garden of Five Senses, which is located in the centre, and the village’s iconic castle. Sampling some of the local seafood, which is served to a high standard in this old fishing village, is also not to be missed.
10. Montclus, Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées
Montclus is a small medieval village set along the Cèze river by woods and vineyards. With quaint, steep streets and ancient stone houses, this charming village is a delight to explore. Barjac and La Roque-sur-Cèze are other picturesque villages nearby that are also worth visiting.
Most villages listed here are in locations where Home Hunts has properties for sale. If one of these villages has caught your eye and you don’t see a property listed for this specific location, then we recommend you speak to a consultant directly.
There are many “off-market” properties for sale that consultants can give you access to, which won’t necessarily be included in the public online search. Finding the perfect property in a specific area for clients is Home Hunts’ area of expertise, so do not hesitate to get in touch.
If you are looking to buy property in France, visit www.home-hunts.com to view properties in Home Hunts’ online portfolio. To discuss your requirements with a consultant directly, call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.