These are not hot spots in tourist destinations for the rich and famous, but rather those villages with a certain ” Je ne sais pas…” charm…
The Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (meaning “the most beautiful villages in France”) is an independent association created to promote the tourist appeal of small rural villages with a rich cultural heritage.
In my opinion, there are a few other villages which also deserve to be named as one of the “most beautiful villages in France”. Here is a list of the villages we think deserves a top spot on any tourist list. The photos will do the talking:
People often ask, what is:
Our answer? There are thousands. Too many to mention in one article, but we can give you a few fabulous ideas for your next trip to France.
As mentioned above, this article is not about those French Riviera destinations, it’s about those small hidden gem villages, that you might have only seen in photos before. We can recommend that you visit each of these places as they all have their own charm and they are definitely worth visiting.
Domme is situated on a hilltop and offers the most beautiful views of the Dordogne Valley. In my opinion, the Dordogne Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. Therefore, with the Dordogne River meandering through the valley, you will definitely grab your camera to capture the panoramic views. This bastide (a fortified medieval town) will offer you a lot if you love history. Below the village square, there are caves called the Grotte de Domme, which were used as shelter during the war. You can explore these caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
Picture a French Chateau in a very lush green village and you basically have an idea of what this little village is made of. Overlooked by the Montresor Chateau, and sitting quietly on the banks of the Indrois River, this beautiful village has traditional cobblestone streets and beautiful homes. The Loire Valley is definitely worth a visit and then you have to stop at Montresor to explore the cobblestone streets.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a Provencal town in the Southeast of France. If you like antique stores and town markets, this is the place for you. The antique fairs are world-renowned and offer a great variety. L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is also known for its waterwheels on the Sorgue River as well as the Collégiale Notre Dame des Anges, a baroque church. With lots of waterside cafés and restaurants, there are more than just a few things to keep you occupied.
Grasse is situated on the French Riviera, in the hills north of Cannes. (OK so we had to include one village on the French Riviera LOL). The village is known to be the perfume center of France and factory tours are available at the bigger perfumeries. This is the perfect place to shop for fantastic soaps and perfume. Grasse has those famous sand-colored buildings and beautiful streets. Read more about this destination.
I struggle to describe this beautiful town near the border of Germany. Although the town is quite big, there are certain parts that have that beautiful old town feeling. The houses along small canals are like something from a fairy tale. You will definitely find those Cobblestone streets here. Make sure you take a spare external hard drive or that you have access to cloud storage because you will take way too many photos and then more. I’ll let the photos do the talking… But did I mention that Colmar is on the Alsace Wine Route? You can easily do a day trip from Colmar to Strasbourg which is near the border of Germany, so why not stay a night or two in Colmar to experience this lovely village.
I just have to mention, that Colmar at Christmas time is just so pretty with beautiful decorations everywhere, but so is the whole of Alsace.
Another picture-perfect little town. Also referred to as a “Petite Cité de Caractère” (Small city full of character), it looks like something from a children’s storybook. If I tell you that photos from this town become the object of many jigsaw puzzles, I think you will understand. It might be the cutest, quaintest village you’ll ever visit and has lovely shops and restaurants. Take your time to walk and explore.
Only 10 kilometers from Colmar is this very charming village with cobblestone streets and beautiful unique houses, nestled against a hilltop with vineyards. The most beautiful little shops and winemakers’ tasting rooms line the streets. Beautiful houses with flower boxes overflowing with colorful flowers decorate the streets of Riquewihr. It is a famous and favorite stop of travelers to the Alsace region and once you’ve been there you will agree: It is definitely a must-see and travel bucket list stop.
The Dolder Belfry (Watch Tower) in Riquewihr, Alsace, France houses a unique museum that tells the history of the town from the 12th to 17th centuries.
Also, remember to make a stop at Au Petit Délice Bakery and spoil yourself with a sweet treat.
And here is one of the reasons I would go back thousands of times: Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Shop. Oh you must must must stop here and you just have to buy a souvenir. A magical Christmas stop on a wonderful tour. (Photo below from her website – there is simply no other photo that can explain what I want you to see.) Absolutely beautiful.
Eguisheim is a medieval village in France’s Alsace wine region. The old town is lined with beautiful half-timbered houses. Homes decorated with flower baskets make for beautiful photo opportunities.
When in Equisheim, make sure to visit these castles: Château Saint-Léon, Husseren-les-Châteaux and Hohlandsbourg Castle.
The A. Edel House (Butcher & Delicatessen, Catering & Restaurant) is a beautiful spot overlooking the town fountain – perfect for a stop after sightseeing.
Located on the Adou River, Moustiers is a beautiful village that became famous in the 17th century. A monk from Faenza then introduced the secret of enameling. The village has lots of shopping opportunities and restaurants to also try out the local cuisine. This village rich in history is nestled against the mountains and has pretty little shops to explore.