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Top 8 Beautiful Villages and Small Towns to Visit in France

Top 8 Beautiful Villages and Small Towns to Visit in France

The simplicity, peace, and quaint French country life are the unseen gems that make it so beautiful.

The old-fashioned stone homes and the slow-paced lifestyles are the signatures of simpler times, and this emotion infuses the way of life in the French countryside today.

These charming, ancient villages make perfect beginnings for exploring rural France.

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The most picturesque villages, nestled in the Alps and neighboring valleys, give visitors an opportunity to relax and indulge in the customs and way of life there.

In this article, you will get to know about the following villages and small towns you can visit in France,

  1. Bonneval-Sur-Arc
  2. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
  3. Auvillar
  4. Piana
  5. Montrésor
  6. Eguieshem
  7. Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei
  8. Riquewihr

Let’s see each of these places in detail…

1. Bonneval-Sur-Arc

Bonneval-Sur-Arc, France

Bonneval -Sur-Alps is a highland settlement in the Maurienne valley of the Alps, and it is accessible by a short mountain trek.

It displays an idyllic beauty distinctively in the summer and winter.

This savoy village at the foot of Cold’lseran is entirely made of solid stone houses with enormously thick walls, stone roofs, and narrow lanes. Many of the houses have pretty wooden balconies.

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Bonneval also houses a 16th-century church with a traditional Savoie steeple and an ancient stone bridge.

Apart from the gorgeous stone chalets, this place is known for the best ski resorts or ski areas, and a variety of year-round activities to fully appreciate the joys of the mountain.

2. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France

This typical and lovely Basque community is located further south, between the Basque coast and the Spanish border.

Saint-Jean is a well-known destination on the Santiago de Compostela road and was formerly a bastion of the kingdom of Navarre.

It was founded during the 12th century.

Located at the foot of the Pyrennees one can overlook the north of the beautiful location and the borders with France.

Its close proximity to the mountain peaks makes it an ideal place for potholing and canyoning. There are also many hiking trails to reach the Arradoy Peak and the Irouleguy vines.

You can also visit the Roman Urkulu Tower and Harpea Cave.

Its architecture and cultural assets convey the story of its history throughout the ages.

This lovely location is rich in history and you should not miss it.

3. Auvillar

Auvillar, France

Auvillar, another significant destination along the way to Santiago de Compostela, is worth a visit while you’re still in the south of France. It is located halfway between Toulouse and Bordeaux.

Although it is a small village, the impressive and unique architecture makes it a must-recommended village to explore.

The spectacular 17th-century clock tower’s majestic door made of red bricks, and fortified walls lead to the Occitanie-style circular grain market.

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It serves as the entry to the main town square.

There is a beautiful view of the Garonne and its valley from further up. With all of this, Auvillar is a deserving recipient of the “Plus Beau” label.

The chapel of St. Catherine at Auvillar, which has a lovely red-brick entrance and some medieval murals, is another significant religious structure.

Before starting on a voyage, the boatmen would offer up prayers for protection in the chapel.

4. Piana

Piana, France

Piana is a beautiful destination in France and one of the most picturesque locations which are aptly titled as “Isle of Beauty” itself. It is located in the Mediterranean.

The appeal of the village is due to its fabulous location.

In the Corsican village of Piana, the array of houses is arranged in the shape of an amphitheater with views of the breathtaking Gulf of Porto.

The village’s Baroque church, which has a large square bell tower and interior Corsican-style frescoes, is the primary historic attraction.

You may admire the renowned UNESCO-listed pink granite “Calanques” (creeks).

Piana is a perfect place to enjoy many outdoor activities and recreational sports.

5. Montrésor

Montrésor, located in the Loire Valley, is one of the picturesque villages in France. Here you may enjoy quiet walks along the Indrois river, which runs next to the small rustic bucolic community.

You can view the half-timbered homes and the Renaissance chateau of this old castle in Montresor.

The village of Montrésor offers stunning views of nature, a chapel, and majestic architecture and heritage.

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Situated in the Touraine area, the village soaks in the tranquil murmur of the River Indrois that flows through the settlement (along with Candes-Saint-Martin and Crissay-Sur-Manse).

You can also walk up Rue du Marché (Market Street) where you can see an impressive building of the Halle des Cardeux.

Many visitors also bike through the trails of the roads of the green countryside, Dame De Nounans.

You can also see fine edifices and alabaster statues in St John Baptist Collegiate Church and have some tasty macaroons at the bakery.

6. Eguieshem

Eguisheim is an amazing village with panoramic scenic landscapes and therefore is ranked as “one of the most beautiful villages in.

It is home to one of the vineyard landscapes and is a hallmark of the area’s architecture. It is located near Colmar.

The village has half-timbered facades typical of Alsace, vibrant colored houses, and enticing flower gardens that have won numerous national and international honors.

It is almost perfectly arced in shape.

The medieval village draws a large number of visitors due to its architectural elegance, and authentic charm of the Christmas markets, Castles, alleys, and colorful houses with inscriptions.

7. Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei

Saint Céneri is an unexplored hamlet discovered by an Italian monk in the seventh century, on the Sarthe river in the Mancillas Alps.

He also established a monastery in the village.

The Normans later burnt it down but the 11th-century church still stands there with its saddleback roof and tower protruding through the trees.

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A wonderful chapel from the fifteenth century has also been maintained in the same way as the charming homes beside the church and along the river.

Many well-known painters, like Camille Corot and Eugène Boudin, were enchanted by the village. The Auberge des Soeurs Moisy (now a museum) is where they often stayed, and painted charcoal portraits of the villagers.

Visits to La Mansonière’s gardens can offer fun activities like river canoeing too.

8. Riquewihr

Riquewihr, France

Riquewihr is a stunning village located 65 kilometers from Strasbourg. It is well-known for its aromatic wines and characteristic Alsatian architecture.

Half-timbered buildings from the 16th century with carved window frames and flower-decorated balconies add more charm to the winding lanes.

There is a museum dedicated to the work of Alsatian illustrator and caricaturist Jean-Jacques “Hansi” Waltz (1873–1951), whose illustrations can be found on several of the store signs.

You can visit the Musée du Dolder in its 13th-century tower for knowing the local history.

The Thieves Tower museum, which features dungeons, and the Maison de Vigneron, which houses antique winemaking tools, are also close by.

The Grands Crus wine route can be traveled by foot or bicycle from this settlement.

These are some of the popular villages and small towns that you can visit in France.

The pretty, picture-perfect lakeside hamlets surrounded by flower-filled meadows and snowcapped mountains in France are a beauty to cherish until a lifetime.


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