The 10 most beautiful villages in France

Hikers leaving Estaing on the Way of St James
Hikers leaving Estaing on the Way of St James

The Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, or Most Beautiful Villages in France, include 156 villages spread over 21 regions. Given that there are over 32,000 villages in France, this 'top 10' list might help you narrow down your dream French itinerary. Many of these villages are best explored on two feet or two wheels and feature in our France walking and cycling tours.

The beautiful village of Gourdon, FranceThe beautiful village of Gourdon, France

#1 Gourdon

Perched high on a 760m cliff and offering panoramic views over the Mediterranean, the Gorges du Loup and even the island of Corsica on a clear day, is the extraordinary village of Gourdon. This medieval village is home to many craftspeople and some of the finest examples of well-preserved and restored houses in France. Visit Gourdon on our French Riviera on Foot.

#2 Apremont-sur-Allier

Completely restored in the last century, the village of Apremont served as a strategic point on the Allier River, and its 12th century castle, which still has five of its original 12 towers, is testament to its place in Loire Valley history. The delightful gardens that surround the castle were inspired by Vita Sackville-West’s landscaped garden in Sissinghurs. Visit Apremont-sur-Allier on the classic Loire Valley Bike & Barge trip.
 
Walkers resting in Conques on the Way of St James, FranceWalkers resting in Conques on the Way of St James, France

#3 Conques

Nestled in lush green surroundings, the tiny village of Conques is a must-see highlight on the French Way of St James or Le Puy Way. Here you will encounter classic half-timbered houses as well as its main attraction, a golden statue covered in gold and precious stones in the Romanesque UNESCO World Heritage listed abbey of Sainte Foy. Discover Conques on one of our walks along the French Way of St James.

#4 Beynac-et-Cazenac

Perched beside the Dordogne River in the shadow of a remarkable medieval fortress once besieged by Richard the Lion Heart, Beynac-et-Cazenac’s 'lauze' stone slab-roofed houses, with their creamy façades, are one of the finest examples of period architecture in the Dordogne region. See them for yourself on our Walking in the Dordogne trip or Highlights of the Dordogne by Bike.   
 
The beautiful village of Les Baux en ProvenceThe quaint hilltop town of Les Baux en Provence, one of the most beautiful villages in France

#5 Les Baux-de-Provence

Set in the heart of the Alpilles, the region that captivated the Dutch impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, Les Baux-de-Provence is like perched like an eagle’s nest boasting views across the Camargue. The town was owned by the Grimaldi family until 1790 and Prince Albert of Monaco still retains the honorary title of Marquess of Les Baux. Visit it on our In Van Gogh’s FootstepsProvence Backroads or Provence Bike and Boat trip.

#6 Ainhoa

With just over 650 inhabitants, this quaint village is one of the most beautiful walled villages in the French Basque Country and indeed France. Admire the typical red and white-fronted half-timbered houses that line its only street on our Basque Country Cycle trip.   
 
Walkers on the Way of St James, France, leaving EstaingWalkers on the Way of St James, France, leaving Estaing

#7 Estaing 

Estaing’s name was derived from a family of Lords, one of whom saved the life of King Philippe-Auguste in Bouvines and as a reward allowed added the royal fleurs-de-lys to its coat of arms. Shale stone houses with 'lauze' stone-slab roofs surround its dominating castle, which dates back to the 12th century. Visit  historic and picturesque Estaing at the foot of the Aubrac Mountains on our The Way of St James – Aumont to Conques walk.

#8 Beuvron-en-auge 

A former stronghold of the Harcourt family, this village in the heart of the Pays d’Auge country on Normandy's famous Cider Route is picture postcard perfect, with fine examples of half-timbered, market and country houses in the village and surrounding Normandy countryside. Get there on our Normandy on Foot or Cycle Normandy tour. 
 
Beautiful Piana on the island of CorsicaBeautiful Piana on the island of Corsica 

#9 Piana

The village of Piana in Corsica sits at the entrance to the red cliffs of the UNESCO World Heritage listed “Calanques de Piana”, whose contrasting colours of red porphyry rocks against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea are a sight to behold. Its narrow streets, amphitheatre, carefully arranged white houses and the Italian-style church of Sainte Marie have secured it a place on this list. Visit Piana on the self guided Crossing Corsica trip or Crossing Corsica Guided Walk.

#10 Eguisheim

While Alsace is full of so many fairy tale villages that could all feature on this list, should be on the list, including Colmar and Turckheim, there’s something particularly special about Eguisheim. Considered the birthplace of the wine-growing tradition in the region, this gem of a village’s concentric cobblestone streets and 16th and 17th century houses featuring pointed roofs, bright colours and half-timbering has helped it to win an impressive list of national and international awards. Explore it on our Alsace Mountains and Vineyards or Alsace by Bike walk. 

 
>> Browse our full range of walking, cycling and boat-based itineraries in France
France, Villages, History

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