When one mentions the beautiful country France, the first thing we naturally think of is its capital, Paris. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Champs-Elysées and the Louvre are famous landmarks that are well worth seeing, but what lies beyond the ‘City of Lights?’ A lot!
France is punctuated with myriads of enchanting and quaint little villages and towns, and each one has an alluring ambiance. The scent of centuries-old medieval villages with historic castles, medieval cobblestone streets, romantic and breezy seasides, ancient vineyards, and picturesque landscapes will change you forever.
I love visiting France. Seeing all of its whimsical and breathtaking corners would take a lifetime. The land, the cuisine, and the champagne will keep you coming back. Here are a few places that many deem the loveliest villages and towns in France. I completely agree with them!
Angles-sur-l’Anglin is a pretty little village that rests in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in western France. The Château d’Angles-sur-l’Anglin dates back to the 11th century and had significant alterations and additions in the 15th century. Today, the ruins sit like a crown 50 meters from the village. Sights to see are the Wizards Rock, St. Martins Church, high city, low city, and the castle ruins.
Beynac-et-Cazenac is a lovely medieval feudal village that dates back to the 11th century that’s situated in Southern France. Its chateau soars 500 feet about the Dordogne river with a view fit for a king. Stroll along the winding streets and explore the charming shops and pretty gardens as you take in the views of this photogenic village.
The fortified town of Domme is perched on a cliff that hangs arrestingly over the Dordogne valley. The Knight Templars were imprisoned in the Porte des Tours in Domme in 1307. Today hundreds of Templar graffiti carvings still bear witness to their brutal trial. Domme’s fortifications, 17th-century Palace de la Halle, stunning caves, and delightful promenade running alongside the cliff offer visitors an exceptional experience.
Kaysersberg is a graceful village with half-timbered homes and narrow paved streets. It also has an amazing 16th-century fortified bridge with a micro oratory and crenelated parapet from which you observe a panoramic view of the river. It’s complemented by 13th-century castle ruins overlooking the village.
Known as one of the finest wine-growing areas in Alsace, Kayersbers is recognized for its own delicious brand. The first vines are said to date back to the 16th century where they were brought in from Hungary. Wine production is an important source of income for the village to this day.
The beautiful village of Equisheim was built with their streets arranged in parallel circles all around its castle. How breathtaking it is to experience the stunning half-timbered houses decorated with pretty flower boxes filled with colorful geraniums, as you stroll the narrow paved streets. The heartbeat of the village is the central square. It has a magnificent fountain, the colorful Saint-Léon-IX chapel, and the Eguisheim castle.
Perouges is a very attractive medieval walled town situated on a quaint hill that overlooks the Ain River valley, about 35 km from Lyon, France. Nestled between two medieval gates, the old charm of centuries gone by with historic stone houses and narrow and wonky cobblestone paths have been very well preserved. With only 100 or so residents, there are still plenty of charming shops, restaurants, and hotels to accommodate guests. Saunter around the Rue des Rondes which encircles the center of the village and soak in the charm. Visit the Palace du Tilleuls and see the 200-year-old Liberty Tree, or check out Saint George’s church. The Three Musketeer movie was filmed here in the 1970s.
Yvoire is the most beautiful and romantic medieval town along Lake Geneva in France. It was built in the early 14th century and not much has changed. Thankfully they’ve taken care to preserve the castle, old town walls, gate, ramparts, and well-trodden cobblestone roads and have not imposed any modernization in their village. The village is decorated with lots of cheerful flowers making it utterly charming. Read my full review here.