The 31 most beautiful towns and villages in France

– Have you been in France?
– Yes!
– Which places have you been in?
– In Paris
– Oh! So you haven´t been in France then!

Paris is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, full of history, art, gastronomy, culture. But knowing Paris does not mean knowing France. Paris is a small world apart. France is located in its charming villages with its cobbled streets, colorful houses, flowery squares, cheeses, and slow pace. The unjust bad reputation of the Frenchman is nothing more than a reflection of the rhythm of Parisian life, so accelerated, so big-city-like. The small-town French inhabitants are charming, warm, cheerful.

I invite you to visit the France that everyone should know. I want to take you around the country with this gallery of photos for what we consider to be the 31 MOST BEAUTIFUL TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN FRANCE. There are more, of that I am sure. But these are the ones we were lucky enough to visit and that made us fall in love with this unforgettable European country. So without further ado, I want you to walk through their streets, their corners, and aromas. I hope you enjoy it and that you are encouraged to leave the touristic circuit apart and discover the soul of each place. And remember that it is always better to Slow Travel.

These are…

 

THE 31 MOST BEAUTIFUL TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN FRANCE

 

There are 155 villages that are members of “The Most Beautiful Villages in France” according to the website Les plus beaux villages de France. But we chose only 31 as if fantasizing that all could be covered in one month, one per day. Of course, it is impossible since in some cases the distances would make it necessary to incorporate more days into the itinerary. But let’s fantasize together.

For a simpler reading, we are going to divide the towns by region and in a circular order starting from Paris towards the north and traveling anti-clockwise. And we will give you an estimate of toll and fuel costs considering that you would travel by car with gasoline (at an average of 1.37 euros per liter) along the highway (hence it is easier to calculate a lower price if you choose a diesel vehicle and prefer to avoid motorways). Prices are obtained from the ViaMichelin website, so we can not assume responsibility if those prices are not correct, although they are not usually wrong.

Not all the villages we choose are on the official list of the most beautiful villages in France because this selection is according to our tastes and experiences. Some were chosen for their architecture, others for their natural environment, others for a particular museum and others simply for the experience lived while visiting. In this article we will explain why we choose each one.

We also invite you to add others to your comment below so that we are able to take them into account for an upcoming trip to France!

 

1: GIVERNY

Giverny

The Monet house museum, a must-see when visiting this Norman town

Giverny

The pond of the house Monet, place of inspiration for his famous painting The Water LiliesGiverny

Giverny

Ideal for a first approach to the French countryside

HOW TO GET TO GIVERNY?

Giverny is located in Normandy, just 72 kilometers away from the French capital on the A13.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

According to the ViaMichelin website, the route Paris-Giverny by motorway costs a total of 18.49 euros: 11 euros for tolls and 7.49 for gasoline.

THE BEST OF GIVERNY

We chose this place in France for its wonderful House-Museum of Claude Monet, home of the renowned French artist, one of the fathers of Impressionism. It was there where the painter moved in 1883 along with his two sons, his wife, Alice Hoschedé, and her children. He created this beautiful garden where he found inspiration for his famous series of The Water Lilies.

 

2: LES ANDELYS

Les Andelys

The streets of Les Andelys are pure tranquility

Les-Andelys

The ruins of Gaillard Castle on top of the village

HOW TO GET TO LES ANDELYS?

Les Andelys is in the Normandy region 25 kilometers away from Giverny (half an hour by car by toll-free D1)

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

Being a toll-free route, you only have to calculate the cost of fuel that would be 2.92 euros.

THE BEST OF LES ANDELYS

We chose to visit this town after seeing a photo on the internet of the viewpoint that dominates the heights and from where you get a wonderful view of the town and the Seine river. And we were not wrong. Up there you can visit the ruins of Gaillard Castle, a medieval fortress of more than 800 years with enviable views of the region. The castle was built in 1196 by Richard Lion Heart and its construction only took two years-although today you can hardly see a small sample of what was the majesty of the castle that blocked the river and prevented the passage of ships-. In 1862 it was declared a Historical Monument of France.

 

3: ÉTRETAT

Etretat

The village of Étretat from the top with its famous rock formations

Etretat

The little church of Notre Dame at the top of the cliffs

Etretat

The beautiful rock formations by the sea

Etretat

The famous Monet painting and its real location

 

HOW TO GET TO ÉTRETAT?

Étretat is located in the Normandy region, 134 kilometers from Les Andelys (just under two hours by car on the A13 and the A131)

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

You have to calculate about 17.81 euros: 5.50 for tolls and 12.31 for fuel.

THE BEST OF ÉTRETAT

Why do we choose Étretat to be part of this list? It is not for the town itself, beyond that it is a charming place, but for its imposing cliffs and rock formations that can be enjoyed both from the top and from the beach.

Both for one side and the other can be accessed by an easy climb to the top of the cliffs where you can contemplate the sea and the strange shapes that the erosion of water and wind have drawn on the rocks. If you turn your back on the town and look towards the sea, the ideal thing is to go towards the cliffs on your left to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in France.

The beauty of the place is so great that Étretat was able to attract great artists such as Eugène Boudin, Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet, who were inspired by their nature for some of their works of art, such as the famous painting “Étretat, l’aiguille et la falaise”, painted in 1885 by Monet.

Nothing better to end the day than a meal in one of the many seafood restaurants on the seafront with views of the sea and the cliffs. We chose the restaurant Le Homard Bleu, the last before the stairs that go up to the cliff.

 

4: HONFLEUR

Honfleur

The typical Normand houses

HOW TO GET TO HONFLEUR?

Honfleur is in the Normandy region 47 kilometers from Étretat (less than an hour’s drive by the D940 and the A29)

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

Between toll (5.40) and fuel (4.95) you need to calculate about 10.35 euros.

THE BEST OF HONFLEUR

Undoubtedly the best thing about Honfleur is its marvelous harbor with its houses lined up watching the comings and goings of ships and boats, reflected dozens of times in Impressionist paintings by Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, and Johann Jongkind. It is there where the Seine empties into the ocean. This river that runs more than 750 kilometers from its source in the commune of Source-Seine, flows in the form of an estuary in this picturesque Normand port, which was one of the most important ports in France, a great protagonist during the Hundred Years War and during the French expeditions to Canadian lands.

 

5: SAINT-MALO

Saint Malo

The elegant streets of Saint-Malo

Saint Malo

The Petit Bé Fortress, in front of the fortified city

Saint Malo

Saint-Malo is a very windy place, scenario of pirates battles

HOW TO GET TO SAINT-MALO?

Saint-Malo is in the Brittany region 233 kilometers from Honfleur. Therefore for this day, it is better to get up early to drive the two and a half hours that separate these two destinations. Everything is done on the A84, and if we have a spare day, we could make a stop in Caen, almost halfway.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

This long trip will mean 23.24 euros, between 3.50 of the toll and 19.74 of fuel.

THE BEST OF SAINT-MALO

Saint-Malo is perhaps the most “touristic” destination of these 31 elections, but because of its enormous beauty, we could not leave it out. Undoubtedly the most attractive part of Saint-Malo is its intramural area, which, despite having been devastated almost entirely during the Liberation of Saint-Malo in World War II (the Germans had taken refuge there after the Normandy landings), It has been rebuilt for two decades to its original state. Touring its walls or visiting the 1424 Castle are some of the things that can be done in this beautiful French town city. The two islands that appear in the furious sea can be visited on foot at low tide.

 

6: SAINT SULIAC

Saint Suliac

The street that goes all the way down to the water

Saint Suliac

This bridge will be soon surrounded by water

Saint Suliac

The boats stranded at low tide

Saint Suliac

Walking while the tide quickly begins to rise

 

HOW TO GET TO SAINT SULIAC?

Saint Suliac is located in Brittany just 12.5 kilometers from Saint-Malo so it is a journey of just 20 minutes by the D137 and the D117.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

This trip will cost us approximately 1.67 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF SAINT SULIAC

Beyond its thirteenth century church, the most charming thing about this town is its journey towards the sea, crossing its streets and its stone houses, and colorful windows. It is very interesting to be able to reach the shore at low tide when the boats seem stranded in the sand, and to stay there, sitting in one of the bars, drinking something while the tide quickly begins to cover all the sand and the landscape changes completely.

 

7: DINAN

Dinan

The river Rance

Dinan

Houses of typical Breton style

 

HOW TO GET TO DINAN?

Dinan belongs to Brittany and is 20 kilometers from Saint Suliac, which is equivalent to 25 minutes on the N176.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

This trip will cost us approximately 2.29 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF DINAN

What is most enjoyed in this well-preserved Breton village is its Jerzual Street that links the port with the city. It is a street with a strong slope (the descent to the river has to be walked with the “brakes on”) but it is worth the effort since the views from the port to the hills, the town, the viaduct, and the river are totally worth it.

 

8: JOSSELIN

Josselin

Iron details in the balconies

Josselin

Josselin Castle

Josselin

Flowery details and behind, the Notre-Dame du Roncier Basilica

HOW TO GET TO JOSSELIN?

Josselin, in the Brittany region, is 78 kilometers from Dinan. It’s an hour and a half by the D766 and the D129.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

This trip will cost us approximately 8,19 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF JOSSELIN

Beyond the charm of the town itself, the most attractive is its Castle. Its first stone was placed in the year 1008 but between wars, acquisitions and several demolitions, its current construction dates back to the year 1520. During the 18th century, the castle was uninhabited and it was not until 1832 that the Duchess of Berry, during a tour of visits, convinced the Duke of Rohan to restore the castle. Nowadays, the castle is still inhabited by the fourteenth Duke of Rohan, Josselyn de Rohan, senator from France. Built on a rocky ledge overlooking the Oust River, the castle’s surroundings are what makes it more interesting.

 

9: ROCHEFORT-EN-TERRE

Rochefort-en-Terre

One of the most beautiful towns in France, winner of 4 floweres in the villes et villages fleuris contest

Rochefort-en-Terre

In spring, the town is an explosion of colors

HOW TO GET TO ROCHEFORT-EN-TERRE?

Rochefort-en-Terre belongs to Brittany and is 48 kilometers from Josselin (43 minutes by the N24 and N166).

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

This trip will cost us approximately 4.56 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF ROCHEFORT-EN-TERRE

When we visited the town, during the end of April, the plants were not yet in bloom. But undoubtedly the most attractive thing of this town happens during the spring already advanced when all the stone houses and squares are covered with flowers of all colors and give it the appearance for which Rochefort-en-Terre obtained the price of four flowers during the “Villes et Villages fleuris” contest (flowery cities and villages). In 2016 it was chosen as the Favorite Village in France for the French in Le Village préféré des Français.

 

10: AMBOISE

Amboise

The beautiful castle of Amboise, part of the Loire castles declared a World Heritage Site in 2000

Castillo de Amboise

Leonardo Da Vinci, the most important person that lived (and died) in Amboise

HOW TO GET TO AMBOISE?

In the heart of the Loire Valley is this beautiful town, 335 kilometers from Rochefort-en-Terre by the A11 and the A85. To shorten this trip of 3 and a half hours, you can add days to stop at Angers, Saumur, Chinon, and Tours, to enjoy this beautiful French region and its dream castles.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

This trip will mean an expense of 48.56 euros: 20.80 of toll and 27.76 of fuel.

THE BEST OF AMBOISE

Beyond its beautiful castle, the most interesting thing about Amboise is the castle-mansion of Clos-Lucé, home of the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci during his last three years of life. Besides being able to visit his room, the basement and the gardens of the mansion keep the most spectacular thing of the visit: numerous models drawn by Leonardo himself and models of his most incredible engineering creations that were a fantastic breakthrough during his time.

 

11: CHENONCEAUX

Chenonceau

The wisteria adorns the walls of many of the villages of France and exudes an unforgettable aroma

Chenonceau

Chenonceau Castle is the most visited Private Monument in France

Chenonceau

The arcades of the Bridge of Diana, on which Jean Bullant built the gallery in 1576-1577

HOW TO GET TO CHENONCEAUX?

Just 12.5 kilometers away from Amboise (20 minutes by car) it becomes an ideal opportunity to enjoy a bicycle journey along the cycle path of the Loire Valle and leave the car for a day. You can get more information in this link: http://www.cycling-loire.com/

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

If you finally choose the car, this journey will only cost 1.68 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF CHENONCEAUX

Undoubtedly, the best thing about this town is its imposing 16th Century castle, the most visited Private Monument in all of France. Both its interior and its exterior with the gardens, the labyrinth, and the arches of the Bridge of Diana on the River Cher, are must-sees. If we had to choose a castle of all of those we visited in the Loire Valley (many!) it would be without a doubt the Chenonceau Castle (with the gardens from the Villandry Castle).

 

12: MONTRÉSOR

Zona de Picnic Francia

One of the thousands picnic areas next to the route, just before reaching the town

Montresor

Once again the aromatic wisteria covering the walls

Montresor

The Indrois River in its passage along the town, reflecting its houses and its castle

Montresor

The fields full of dandelions

HOW TO GET TO MONTRÉSOR?

Montrésor belongs to the Loire Valley and is 30 kilometers from Chenonceaux (40 minutes by car) on the D127 and D81.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

This journey would cost 3.43 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF MONTRÉSOR

The town is charming in itself, with its white tufa houses and its Renaissance castle. But what we enjoyed the most was the walk along the Indrois River that passes behind the town. On one side you have the houses and on the other, large extensions of fields. A beauty.

 

13: PERIGUEUX

Perigueux

The Cathedral of Perigueux looming in the middle of the city

Perigueux

Door details

Perigueux

The Cathedral was the inspiration to build the Sacred Heart of Paris

HOW TO GET TO PERIGUEUX?

This day we will have to move to another region of France: Aquitaine, so the trip will be the longest so far. It will be a little over four hours (282 kilometers) on the A20.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

Despite the length of the trip, this route has no toll. The cost of fuel is 25.88 euros according to the Michelin Guide.

THE BEST OF PERIGUEUX

The most interesting of this French city is its beautiful cupulate cathedral, consecrated in the year 1047 but rebuilt almost in its entirety (except for the bell tower and the crypts, both of the twelfth century) in 1852 and 1895 by Paul Abadie, famous for having led further on the construction of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre, inspired by the Cathedral of Perigueux.

 

14: SARLAT-LA-CANÉDA

Sarlat-la-Caneda

Once again, the wisteria giving life to the town´s walls

Sarlat-la-Caneda

Twice a week an organic market is held in Sarlat-la-Canéda

 

HOW TO GET TO SARLAT-LA-CANÉDA?

Also in the Aquitaine region, Sarlat-la-Canéda is only 65 kilometers from Perigueux, an hour and 15 minutes by the D47, without toll.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

The fuel for this section will mean 7.04 euros.

THE BEST OF SARLAT-LA-CANÉDA

This is one of those places in France where the most beautiful thing is the town itself, the wonderful preservation of its historic center of medieval character and embellished during the Renaissance. An additional attraction is its fresh and organic market that takes place twice a week: Wednesdays and Saturdays.

 

15: LA ROQUE-GAGEAC

La Roque Gageac

By the Dordogne River

 

HOW TO GET TO LA ROQUE GAGEAC?

Our last village in the Aquitaine region, the Roque Gageac is just 10 kilometers from Sarlat-la-Caneda (15 minutes by car on the Via Les Salcets La Servantie).

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

The fuel for this section will mean 1.41 euros.

THE BEST OF LA ROQUE GAGEAC

If the fact of the location of the village (under a huge cliff, surrounded by the green of the trees, and on the banks of the Dordogne River) is not enough, La Roque Gageac is inhabited by human beings since prehistorical times. The official occupation of the place corresponds to the ninth century with the arrival of the Normans to Périgord. There are still vestiges of the forts that were built on the cliff by the villagers to protect themselves from the Viking advance through the river with their feared drakkars.

 

16: ROCAMADOUR

Rocamadour

Rocamadour is one of those towns that seems to be floating

Rocamadour

Mingling with its natural environment

Rocamadour

Not even the rain could stop us

Rocamadour

A journey up that is totally worth it

 

HOW TO GET TO ROCAMADOUR?

In the Mid-Pyrenees region, 55 kilometers from La Roque Gageac, we reach the incredible village of Rocamadour via the D36 and D673 (just over an hour by car).

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

No toll. The estimated cost is 6.58 in fuel.

THE BEST OF ROCAMADOUR

The best thing about it is definitely its natural environment. Rocamadour is “hanging” from a cliff, surrounded by the green of the surrounding hills. The ascent on foot to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Rocamadour is an important pilgrimage for Catholicism. Up there you can see the famous Black Virgin, inside the Chapel of Notre-Dame de Rocamadour.

 

17: SAINT-CIRQ-LAPOPIE

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

The Saint-Cirq-et-Sainte-Juliette de Saint-Cirq-Lapopie church

 

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

The Lot RiverSaint-Cirq-Lapopie

 

HOW TO GET TO SAINT-CIRQ-LAPOPIE?

We continue in the Mid-Pyrenees region, 65 kilometers from Rocamadour by the D32 and the D662 (less than an hour and a half by car).

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

No toll. The estimated cost is 7.80 in fuel.

THE BEST OF SAINT-CIRQ-LAPOPIE

The town itself is a gem. For that reason, it was chosen as “the favorite village of the French” in 2012. The most attractive thing is to go up to the Saint-Cirq-et-Sainte-Juliette of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie Church from where you can get beautiful views of the village and its natural environment.

 

18: CORDES-SUR-CIEL

Cordes-Sur-Ciel

All the paths lead to the top of the town

Cordes-Sur-Ciel

The views from above

Cordes-Sur-Ciel

The views from below

 

HOW TO GET TO CORDES-SUR-CIEL?

63 kilometers from Saint-Cirq-Lapopie on the D40 and D24, also in the Mid-Pyrenees region (less than an hour and a half by car).

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

No toll. The estimated cost is 8.01 in fuel.

THE BEST OF CORDES-SUR-CIEL

The most beautiful thing about this town, chosen as “Favorite village of the French” in 2014, is to enjoy it from below, before entering, to appreciate its location on top of a hill; and then climb its narrow, cobbled streets to the top and enjoy a 180-degree view of all its surroundings.

 

19: MILLAU

Viaducto de Millau

The Millau viaduct, a marvel of modern engineering

HOW TO GET TO MILLAU?

At 137 kilometers from Cordes-Sur-Ciel on the N88 and D911 (2 hours and 20 minutes by car), in the Mid-Pyrenees region.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

They are 13.55 euros of fuel. The most expensive is the 7.5 euros of the toll that you need to pay to cross the viaduct. It is not necessary to do it. You can go there and go back, but it’s really worth going through.

THE BEST OF MILLAU

To be honest, we did not visit the town. But we put it on this list because the Millau viaduct is a marvel of modern engineering that is worth discovering. It was inaugurated on December 14, 2004, after three years of work. It crosses the Tarn River and until 2016 it was the highest bridge in the world (currently surpassed by the Beipanjiang Bridge in China).

Some data from the Millau Viaduct so that you become aware of its magnitude:

  • 2460 m: the total length of the viaduct.
  • 7: the number of pillars.
  • 70 m: the height of pillar 7, the lowest.
  • 336 m: the height of pillar 2, the highest (245 m at the level of the highway).
  • 270 m: the average height of the highway.
  • 4.20 m: the thickness of the highway.
  • 32.05 m: the width of the highway.
  • 127,000 m³: the volume of concrete used in the bridge.
  • 290 000 tonnes: the total weight of the structure.
  • 10,000-25,000 vehicles: estimated daily traffic.
  • 394 million euros: the total cost of construction.

 

20: MINERVE

Minerve

The views of the town from the parking lot

Minerve

Vestige from older times

Minerve

The stone bridge

Minerve

A small sleepy town

Minerve

With lovely colors

Minerve

According to the last census carried out in 2004, 112 people live in Minerve

 

HOW TO GET TO MINERVE?

In the Mid-Pyrenees region, 169 kilometers from Millau on the A75 (2 hours by car).

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

15,02 euros of fuel without toll.

THE BEST OF MINERVE

Minerve is an extremely small town that can be walked in less than an hour and without any hurry. But its natural environment makes it worthwhile to spend a day as you can walk its cliffs to get views of the beautiful town from different points. One of the most interesting views is the one obtained from the main parking lot, just before the descent into the town.

 

21: L’ISLE-SUR-LA-SORGUE

L´Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue

The famous windmills

L´Isle Sur-la-Sorgue

Lovely details on the wall

L´Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue

The Comtadin Venice

L´Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue

Another one of the beautiful water windmills

L´Isle Sur-la-Sorgue

The Sorgue River as it passes through the town

L´Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue

Why so serious?

HOW TO GET TO L’ISLE-SUR-LA-SORGUE?

We now enter the region of French Provence, one of the most beautiful places in the country. We are 228 kilometers from Minerve on the D5, the D11, and the A9. It is a little over three hours away.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

31.39 euros: 10.80 of toll and 20.59 of fuel.

THE BEST OF L’ISLE-SUR-LA-SORGUE

It is difficult to choose only one. We are facing one of the most beautiful villages in southern France (and perhaps the entire country). But let’s leave the obvious aside (its channels for which it deserves the title of the Venice of the region, and its nineteenth Century mills, full of moss and beautifully photogenic) to choose one of the things that highlight this town in a country where each place is more beautiful than the other: its antique stores. L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue is considered one of the most important centers of antiquities in the country. From furniture from other centuries to small ornaments, it is a delight to enter their different stores and simply spend the day wandering around items from different times and periods.

 

22: FONTAINE DE VAUCLUSE

Fontaine de Vaucluse

The beautiful village on the banks of the River Sorgue and a few meters from the source that gives it its origin

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

The cliff where the river is born

Fontaine de Vaucluse

The water fountain that gives name to the town

 

HOW TO GET TO FONTAINE DE VAUCLUSE?

We continue in the French Provence, and this time in the town that sees the Sorgue River born. We are just 7 kilometers from L’Isle Sur la Sorgue (10 minutes by car), so we could make a base in the previous town and get here by bicycle.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

If we decide for the car, the cost is just 0.80 cents of fuel.

THE BEST OF FONTAINE DE VAUCLUSE

The town is charming, with its houses on the edge of the river. But undoubtedly all the prices go to the mysterious Fountain of Vaucluse, the birthplace of the River Sorgue. Due to the tremendous amount of water that flows from the interior of the cliff (630 million cubic meters per year), this source is the most productive in Europe and one of the largest in terms of water volume in the world. The water is emerald and depending on the season it can be a calm pond (in winter and summer) or a fierce torrent (in autumn and spring). From this town, you can take canoe or kayak trips along the river.

 

23: GORDES

Gordes

The wonderful views of the town of Gordes

 

HOW TO GET TO GORDES?

Just 14 kilometers from Fontaine de Vaucluse, 20 minutes by D100 and D2, is this beautiful Provencal village, the most visited town in the Luberon Regional Nature Park.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

The fuel for this trip would mean an expense of 1.78 euros.

THE BEST OF GORDES

The town as seen from the viewpoint that precedes the route that goes into the town. Having a beer in one of the diverse terraces within the town that allow to enjoy a beautiful sunset watching the surroundings from the top.

 

24: ROUSSILLON

Roussillon

The characteristic ocher color of the houses

Roussillon

Drinking water

Roussillon

The Ocre Trail

Roussillon

One of the most beautiful towns in France

Roussillon

The French Provencal Villas

Roussillon

The ochre color houses dominate the village

 

Roussillon

Ideal for a bike getaway

 

HOW TO GET TO ROUSSILLON?

9 kilometers from Gordes, and within the Regional Nature Park of Luberón, is this beautiful town. Lless than 15 minutes by the D2.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

The fuel for this trip would mean an expense of 1.08 euros.

THE BEST OF ROUSSILLON

It’s hard to compete with the beautiful village that rises with its orange houses on top of a green hill. But the wonderful Ochre Trail (Sentier des Ocres) takes first place. A few meters away from the town we find an incredible journey between forests and ocher cliffs. There are 17 nuances of this color that we can discover along this journey: from golden white to purple-red, through light yellow, yellow zaferán or terracotta, among others. These pigments are formed by clayey sand and iron oxide. The entrance to the trail costs just 2.50 euros and is free for children under 10 years.

 

25: MOUSTIERS-SAINTE-MARIE

MOUSTIERS-SAINTE-MARIE

The steep cliffs that surround the town

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

The imposing cliff and the beautiful Gothic Church below, with its incredible bell tower

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

The town as seen from above the cliffs

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Its natural surrounding

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

Tired, yet happy

MOUSTIERS-SAINTE-MARIE

Stairways to Heaven

 

HOW TO GET TO MOUSTIERS-SAINTE-MARIE?

At 102 kilometers from Roussillon, and within the Regional Nature Park of the Verdon River, is one of the most beautiful villages in France. It’s just over two hours by car on the D900 and the D6.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

The cost of fuel is 11.39 euros.

THE BEST OF MOUSTIERS-SAINTE-MARIE

There are many factors that come to mind when choosing this town as one of the most beautiful in France: its natural environment, surrounded by giant cliffs; its beautiful Gothic cathedral; the town itself; the view from the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir … But we chose this town because of the incredible waterfall that falls right in the middle of the historic center, surrounded by stone houses and the imposing cliffs from which it falls.

 

26: SAINT PAUL DE VENCE

Saint Paul de Vence

An extremely picturesque town

Saint Paul de Vence

And without the mass of tourists from the French Riviera

Saint Paul de Vence

With a delicious gastronomy

Saint Paul de Vence

And the sea

HOW TO GET TO SAINT PAUL DE VENCE?

At 120 kilometers and two and a half hours from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie by the D952 and the D4085. On the French Riviera.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

14,19 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF SAINT PAUL DE VENCE

The town is charming with its cobblestone streets and its small art venues. But what is most enjoyed is its typical charm of the villages of the Cote d’Azur but without the mass of tourists from the other localities of the region.

 

27: GASSIN

Gassin

The beautiful town on top of the hill

Gassin

The rain did not stop us from enjoying a nice walk

Gassin

The girl with the pink umbrella

HOW TO GET TO GASSIN?

120 kilometers and two and a half hours from Saint Paul de Vence on D952 and D4085. On the French Riviera.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

14,19 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF GASSIN

We arrived on a very rainy day so we could not enjoy the town to the fullest. But the views of the sea from the town already made it worthwhile. It is another of those typical towns of the Cote d’Azur but without the exaggeration of tourists from places like Saint Tropez, Cannes, or Nice.

28: CROMARY

Cromary

Framing the landscape

Cromary

Another natural frame

Cromary

One of the best hikes of 2017

HOW TO GET TO CROMARY?

In the heart of the Franche-Comté region lays this almost unknown town. It is very far from the Cote d’Azur, but if we want to complete the circle to Paris, we must go back up. Between Gassin and Cromary there are 677 kilometers on the A7. But in the middle, there are beautiful natural parks to travel and lengthen the itinerary.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

106.48 euros: 54.58 in fuel and 51.90 in tolls.

THE BEST OF CROMARY

Why do we choose a town totally unknown even to the vast majority of French people? Because it gave us one of the most beautiful hiking trails of our whole 2017. From the villa, e there is a path that takes you through cornfields, forests, hills, and fields full of cows. That’s why we chose it in our top 10 of 2017.

 

29: EGUISHEIM

Eguisheim

In Alsace

Eguisheim

A beautiful bike ride

Eguisheim

Colors in every corner

HOW TO GET TO EGUISHEIM?

We enter here in the beautiful region of Alsace, characterized by its strong Germanic influences. It is 154 kilometers away from Cromary on the A36 (1 hour 45).

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

22.57 euros: 9.50 of toll and 13.07 in fuel.

THE BEST OF EGUISHEIM

Its squares full of flowers and typical architecture of Germanic influences give this town its enormous charm that was the reason for being chosen as the favorite village of the French people in 2013.

 

30: COLMAR

Colmar

The little Venice waterways

Colmar

The decoration on the facade of a restaurant and our son focused on a reading

Colmar

The colorful houses of German Gothic style

HOW TO GET TO COLMAR?

The Alsace region is ideal for cycling on its flat surface and its short distances. But if we choose the car, the distance between Eguisheim and Colmar is just 7.5 kilometers. They are less than 20 minutes by the D1, the BISII, and the D417.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

1.37 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF COLMAR

It is one of the largest towns on this list of the 31 most beautiful villages in France, if not the most. But in its historic center is where its greatest interest is concentrated, especially in its beautiful buildings of German Gothic style and the first Renaissance, and in the beauty of what is known as “Little Venice”, a series of interconnected canals where boats go by and colorful houses are reflected, and its overflow with life with the infinity of flowers and plants that hang from bridges and balconies.

 

31: RIQUEWIHR

Riquewihr

The beautiful architecture

Riquewihr

The town among vineyards

HOW TO GET TO RIQUEWIHR?

Our last stop is in the Alsace region with one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. Only 13.7 kilometers from Colmar (25 minutes by car).

HOW MUCH DOES THE TRIP COST?

1.96 euros in fuel.

THE BEST OF RIQUEWIHR

When you arrive at Riquewihr you do not know whether to stay outside contemplating the village from a distance, from the vineyards that surround it, or to enter to discover the wonderful narrow streets surrounded by the most beautiful Alsatian architecture, perfectly preserved, and decorated with flowers of all colors. A great ending to this extensive list.

 

Choosing the most beautiful villages in France is not easy. Or maybe it is because there are many and they all have their charm. What is not easy is to leave some of them out.

We recommend that if you have planned a trip to France leave the typical circuit away and visit some of these beautiful towns that make France one of the most beautiful countries in the whole continent. There are for all tastes, for lovers of architecture, nature, history, art. It would be very difficult to travel around all these towns in just one trip. But we wanted to give you an idea of what for us are the 31 most beautiful villages in France so you can choose some and start with a first trip.

Before finishing, let’s summarize all the numbers so you can have total distances and costs on hand.

31 TOWNS, 3819 kilometers (adding the return to Paris from Riquewihr), 480 euros (adding the return to Paris). This would average 123 kilometers per day and 15.48 euros per day between tolls and fuel. Thinking about it like that, it’s not impossible, right?

We assure you that once you start, you will not want to stop.

Safe Travels!


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Written by Pie & Pata
Happy is he/she who enjoys family travel.