15 Best Villages in France for a Romantic Visit
France is home to some of the most beautiful cities in Europe, like the iconic Paris or the charming Nancy. However, I strongly recommend getting off the beaten path and away from the cities. Here are some of the best villages in France to make your trip even more romantic.
Whether they border the sandy beaches, are en route to vineyards or can be found at the end of a beautiful mountain walk, they are certainly worth a visit. In them you can often find beautiful medieval architecture and cute winding streets. Enjoy a drink at one of the many terraces or grab a delicious meal at one of the cute restaurants. Regardless of how you organize your holiday, these 15 beautiful places in France should not be missed!
The Most Beautiful Villages in France
1. Saint Cirq-Lapopie
The village of Saint Cirq-Lapopie, voted the most beautiful village in France in 2011, is still a beautiful destination. The village lies in the valley of the River Lot on a steep rock. It is therefore not surprising that this place is loved by many artists. The views are beautiful and the houses and alleys in the village are almost idyllic.
Car traffic is not allowed in the old center of Saint Cirq-Lapopie, so there is no other option than walking around the city. That’s a good thing too, because then you can better enjoy the beautiful landscapes and scenery. Stroll through the streets and descend to the nearby beach in the summer to rent a canoe. You also have a beautiful view from Lot over the village itself.
Conques is built on a slope of the River Le Dourdou, which immediately makes the village look like a fairytale. You can still see the medieval character when you walk through Conques because the village has been taking care of all buildings for centuries. Admire the old houses, local shops, and enjoy the food in one of the restaurants.
Conques is also best known for its abbey. The Abbey of Sainte-Foye is part of the pilgrimage route that leads to Santiago de Compostela. You can visit the abbey, but check the website for the latest information before you visit. Depending on when you visit Conques, it can be busy. For example pilgrims will come across more often outside the high season (less hot) and regular tourists will visit the village during the holiday periods.
Adjacent to Lake Geneva is the village of Yvoire. With the mountains in the background and a beautiful blue lake in the foreground, the town is very photogenic.
Walk through the streets where authentic buildings shape the street scene. The village is a famous destination which makes it lively in the summer months. Enjoy a drink on the many terraces with beautiful views during the warm summer months. There is also a lot to experience along the Yvoire Marina. Admire the passing boats and the people who discover Yvoire just like you.
You can visit Yvoire on this day tour with Chamonix.
The village of Vézelay is located on top of a mountain and is best known for being part of one of the Santiago de Compostela route. You can see it from far away, so you immediately can see why the climb to it is worth it. A beautiful view awaits you when you have climbed to the highest point of Vézelay.
The highest point of the village is the old abbey church that will delight every history and architecture lover. The route to and from the church has several cafés where you can catch your breath while enjoying a cold drink. Vézelay is also very popular with artists, and as a result you’ll regularly come across galleries and art shops. Definitely one of the most picturesque villages in France.
One of the more famous villages in France is Gordes in Provence. The views from Gordes are beautiful and will regularly surprise you. You’ll come across the vistas as you walk through the streets of the village. Because of tourism there is also enough choice of restaurants and many shops. One of the sights that you should not miss is the Sénanque Abbey. The abbey itself is beautiful, but the surroundings are just as good. It is surrounded by a lavender field.
If you prefer to visit Gordes at a quieter moment, head to the south of France outside the high season.
Visit Gordes on this day tour which also includes Avignon, Roussillon, and Lubéron
From Monflanquin you look out over the valley that belongs to the River Lède. Due to its favorable location, the village has had to endure a lot during various wars. For a long time it belonged to England, and you can still find the home where the English prince, also known as the Black Prince, stayed.
Monflanquin is still known as one of the most beautiful bastides, so you can also recognize the clear street pattern with a central square in the middle. Beautiful buildings border the lively square, and you will regularly find markets and other events there. The history of Monflanquin is best discovered on foot, just like in the other villages.
Just like Saint Cirq-Lapopie, Estaing also borders the River Lot. One of the most recognizable points in the village is the castle. Discover the castle of Estaing at your own pace or learn more about the special history during a tour. The castle was not too long ago in the news. The former president of France, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, bought the castle in 2004 for a relatively low amount.
During a walk through Estaing you will pass many historic buildings that show the village through the ages. In the atmospheric center you can enjoy the nice weather and the environment while enjoying a cold drink.
Marville is located in the northeast of France. It once belonged to the Spanish Netherlands — a period in which there was a lot of construction, so that there are still houses in the Spanish Renaissance style. Marville, however, has been around for a while because the village was founded in the Middle Ages.
Stroll past the Renaissance houses through the streets of Marville to one of the other sights. Admire the Saint-Nicolas Church and the Saint-Hillaire Church and enjoy their beautiful details. The Knekelhuis, just outside the village center, is also a special place to visit. The Knekelhuis consists of more than 40,000 skulls. A crazy idea, but without a doubt an impressive (and somewhat creepy) sight.
Eguisheim is one of the villages in France surrounded by many vineyards. If you are a wine lover, then this village will appeal to you. Walk through the vineyards and reward yourself with a glass afterwards. In the village itself everything was built around a 13th century castle. However, you can only still find hte substructure today.
The streets are a cozy mess of houses that, if you look from above, form circles around the castle. The well-kept houses look beautiful and show immediately when you walk through Eguisheim. Moreover, Eguisheim is not too far from the German border, so you can easily make a trip to the eastern neighbors.
Visit Eguisheim on this day tour that also includes Kayserberg, Ribeauvillé, and Riquewihr
To stay in the wine world, another great village to visit is the beautiful Château-Chalon. Both cheese and wine play an important role in this village. A great combination if you ask me! The local wine, Vin Jaune, is produced in a special way and is only really tasty after 10 years. You can drink this wine, made from the Savagnin grape, in several places in the village.
Also visit the cheese museum near Château-Chalon, because they are also particularly good at this region. The village is part of the Jura, a diverse region in the east of France. There are many forests, lakes, caves and, of course, vineyards. Do not miss Château-Chalon when you discover this region.
With a well-kept historic center, Rochefort-en-Terre is a charming village to visit. Walk peacefully through the waking village if you start the day early. The first rays of sunshine that shine on the many flowers that give the city color create a magical effect. When Rochefort-en-Terre comes to life it is a pleasantly busy place where local artisans and boutique shops form the environment.
Rochefort-en-Terre is surrounded by a hilly nature area that is particularly suitable for walks. There are fixed walking routes to follow, but of course it is also possible to go exploring yourself. You will also come across the castle of Rochefort-en-Terre during your walk. The castle is open to the public, so be sure to walk in for a complete picture of this impressive building.
The village of Sainte-Agnès is built on a rock that is more than 600 meters high. It goes without saying that the view from the village is beautiful. You look out on the Mediterranean Sea. The whole has a fairytale feel to it and certainly when you’re there around sunrise or sunset.
Although it is a really beautiful village, there is also little to experience. Stroll through the streets, enjoy the characteristic buildings and the breathtaking surroundings. Make sure you have something tasty to eat and drink yourself, because there is not much choice when you visit Sainte-Agnès. A great short stop when you are passing through to other parts of France!
The village of Valleraugue is a great place to stay if you want to discover the surrounding nature. Valleraugue is in fact a short distance from Mont Aigoual, a popular mountain range in the Cevennes region. You can reach the summit of Mont Aigoual in different ways. There is, of course, the car, but for the really athletic it is also possible to do it by bike.
The best way to see the surroundings of Valleraugue, however, is by walking to the summit of Mont Aigoual. It is not an easy walk, because the mountains in the Cevennes are some of the steeper mountains in France. At the top of the mountain you will find a tower that offers you a spectacular view of the region. Then you’ll know why you made the climb.
Where we have named very quiet villages, Tourtour is one where you can go for a refreshing drink on one of the terraces. The lively village center has several cafés and friendly residents. In addition, there are also some places of interest to visit in Tourtour.
You will find various castle ruins and churches that can be visited during the day. On the way, travel through winding roads with lots of flowers and plants that color the streets. The special houses give character to the village and complete the picture.
Along the Ardèche is the village of Aiguèze. You’ll see why France is such a popular holiday destination when you see these villages, because the views here are also spectacular. The landscape around the Ardèche is wonderful to explore thanks to the versatile nature. Villages such as Aiguèze complete these walking tours.
Due to its strategic location on a high rock, the village has a rich history. Early in history, the first stones were laid that would form Aiguèze. In 1384, the French king decided to make the village but to the ground, leaving the village as we know it today dates from the middle of the 15th century.
What do you think is the most beautiful villages in France?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe and Tiqets for specific attraction deals.
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Header photo is from Rocamadour.