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The 14 prettiest villages in France

It shouldn't be a surprise to hear this place is full of stunners. The prettiest villages in France? Look no further.

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott

Some places you go to for the food. Others you go to for the culture. You get all of this in France and more, but if you’re looking for a picturesque, postcard-worthy little town, that will make you feel like you’re in a rom-com? You have to choose one of its prettiest villages. 

France’s villages are full of peaceful river walks, sweet little trinket shops, jaw-dropping churches and towers and tons of romantic ruins. The likes of Paris and Lyon might take all the limelight, but don’t sleep on these smaller spots. Warning, things are seriously romantic here, so be prepared for true love to await you. Read on for our guide to the prettiest villages in France. 

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The best villages in France

1. Hunspach, Alsace

It isn’t difficult to see why Hunspach gets all the love it does. This tiny settlement near the German border is all historic timbered houses, neat shutters and technicolour flower boxes, dazzling and serene all at the same time. Some even have a special feature, curved glass panes that allow residents to see without being seen. Very handy, indeed. 


2. Cargèse, Corsica

Corsica’s prettiest village? Cargèse might just take that crown. The commune is home to two beautiful churches (one Latin, one Greek) that seem to be engaged in an eternal game of chicken, overhanging the Gulf of Sagone and making one of the most photogenic sights on an island full of the things. Throw in the three scenic Genoese towers, and you’ve got yourself something very special indeed. 


3. Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, Charente

A perennial name at the top of ‘Most Beautiful Villages’ lists, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is beloved for its beautiful houses, immaculately organised by some sort of architectural deity. Aubeterre is a conveyor belt of stunning wooden balconies, although curious visitors should be sure to head underground to the fascinating Church of St Jean, the biggest cave church in Europe.

4. Pierrefonds, Oise

Sat proudly above the commune of Pierrefonds is its eponymous Château, a stunning medieval castle rebuilt on the site of an even older castle by Louis I de Valois. Unsurprisingly, it suffered serious damage during the Hundred Years War, only to be bought for a pittance centuries later by Napoleon, at which point it became one of France’s most romantic ruins. Many films and TV shows have filmed scenes here, for obvious reasons. 


5. Les Anses-d'Arlet, Martinique

A teeny-tiny town and commune on the tropical island of Martinique, Les Anses d’Arlet is dictionary definition postcard-perfect, with its sandy beaches, verdant backdrops and charming architecture. The Church of St Henry of Les Anses d’Arlet is one of the most picturesque churches in the French world. 


6. Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, Haute-Garonne

Originally established as a Roman colony by General Pompey no less, Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges has seen plenty of history over the years. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is more interested in welcoming visitors than warding off invaders. A visit here is as close to a trip through time as you can find, as a perfectly still village goes about its beautiful business in stunning surroundings.


7. Chablis, Yonne

Many readers will be familiar with the magic of Chablis wine, but did you know that the village from which it emanates is a little stunner in its own right? Sure, the wineries take centre stage, but those who make the trek to this small town in north-central France will find no shortage of beautiful surroundings to sip the day away.

8. Batz-sur-Mer, Loire-Atlantique

Located on a former island that used to be separate from the mainland, Batz-sur-Mer is now the idyllic jewel in the crown of the wild Guérande Peninsula. The salt ponds museum is one of the oldest in the country and offers a curious insight into the importance of salt in the development of, well, humanity, while the commune itself offers quaint views around every corner. 


9. Giverny, Normandy

When talking about Giverny, the chatter immediately turns to the famous work of Claude Monet. The famous impressionist lived and worked here for the last 40 years of his life, drawing inspiration from the serene nature and glistening beauty of this tiny village. In many ways, it is an artist’s paradise, a cavalcade of gorgeous sights just begging to be rendered in paint. 

10. Ménerbes, Provence

Fewer than 1,000 people are lucky enough to call Ménerbes their full-time home, and oh my, are we jealous of those lucky ducks. A walled village at the foothills of the Alps, this Provence pearler makes the most of its dramatic location with stunning views and tranquillity that belies its often turbulent history. Picasso’s muse lived here, which shouldn’t be a huge surprise. 


11. Trôo, Loire Valley

St Martin’s Church is the dominant feature in Trôo, although you could just as easily say that the general surroundings of this partially troglodytic village are the real charmer. Never has the word troglodyte been as aesthetically pleasing. The pedestrian streets are an adventure in themselves, while the deep-talking well is as stunning as it is scary.

12. Montpeyroux, Auvergne

With an unbeatable location on a mountain's edge, Montpeyroux is a tiny village with millennia of history and gorgeous views for days. Looking up towards the village is a stunning sight while looking out from the medieval stone buildings offers the lucky visitor a world of vistas unlike any other. Montpeyroux has become a magnet for arts and crafts in the modern age, adding extra charm to one of the most beautiful villages in France.


13. Montfort-l'Amaury, Île-de-France

Sat just 20km north of Rambouillet, the important and influential have been building castles, mansions and fortresses in Montfort-l’Amaury for as long as the history books allow. The English destroyed the castle during the Hundred Years' War, but thoughts of obliteration are far from the minds of visitors today, such is the beauty of this darling village. 

14. Pont-Aven, Brittany

Artists flocked to Pont-Aven in the late 19th century, and it only takes a brief moment to work out why. Because it is incredibly beautiful, that’s why, and creatives such as Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin came here in search of inspiration. They found it in spades. It used to be the centre of milling on the Aven river, and it retains a picturesque charm today that has visitors busting out the easels. 

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