Many of us realize that France is one of the most appealing countries on the planet. It is a mixture of art, culture, history and fantastic surroundings which have helped establish this place as a paradise location for many people, however, this often means going to more popular locations in the country like Paris, St. Tropez or Nice. Many people do not realize that in addition to these famous locations, France has a vast number of absolutely picturesque villages, which are rightly regarded as the jewels of France by those who do find them. So which are the loveliest towns in France? Many people have their own favourites but here are the 5 villages that we think you definitely should try and visit on a vacation in France.
Euguzon, a charming and serene village, is home to tranquil lakes, rivers and streams that provide a number of recreational activities. The Lac d’Eguzon is a superb destination for those who like swimming, sailing, water-skiing, or paddling in a canoe. This lovely town also has facilities for archers, mountain bikers and equestrians. This very traditional village has a yearly chestnut and apple festival in October. The aroma of grilled chestnuts and caramelized nuts will tantalize your senses, and the sights and sounds of folk stories and live music will add to your enjoyment.
2. Saint Gaultier
Located on the banks of the river Creuse, Saint Gaultier is a small, quaint village. It is one of the various fortified villages in France and features a number of historical buildings and towers built during the 16th century. Actually, a number of building remnants are still located here, much to the delight of history enthusiasts. Culture and history abound in this village, especially the Abbey that still graces the center of town even though it has undergone renovations many times over the years. Brenne National Park provides a wonderful escape for those who like taking time out from immersion in history to enjoy communing with nature.
The village of Monpazier is located just 15 kilometers south of Domme. Because the origins of the village can be traced back to the 13th century, its amazing history has helped it continue to be an outstanding town in modern times. Many ancient buildings remain standing, as well as an original market hall and a gorgeous church, so there is much here to amaze you. Since the town has changed very little over the years, it is the perfect place for history buffs interested in learning more about old French villages.
While this means that fewer modern facilities are available here as may be seen in other areas of France, this does not detract at all from its beauty. Everything you see is a certified landmark, since many of Monpazier’s 30 buildings are considered to be national monuments. As you wander through the town, you will see a number of quaint cafes and shops, many of which have been there for centuries.
The beautiful village of Conques is situated to the east of Figeac. The River Dourdo and spectacular mountains and forests comprise the gorgeous landscape, with the village offering a number of medieval buildings and narrow streets that give it charm and character. A beautiful abbey is located here. Built between the 10th and 12th centuries, it affords breathtaking views for miles that will leave you feeling amazed. At one time there was a monastery in the village, but it was partially destroyed during the Protestant uprisings of the 1500’s and it has continually been under renovation since that time. Included with this amazing part of history, you can discover a lot of famous treasure pieces such as the well known golden status of St. Foy, the person the abbey was named for. For people who want history combined with some amazing scenery, this village is a must on your French vacation itinerary.
Last but not least is Carcassonne which is visited by as many as 3 million tourists yearly. However, even though it may be considered more of a town than a village, it should be included due to its historical uniqueness. This Medieval, walled town is perfectly preserved and there are many areas to explore. Modern shops and restaurants are also available for your enjoyment. There is a lot to look at and many activities, such as going to see the castle and Carcassonne museum, plus the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, which shows off beautiful stained glass as well as carvings.
Nature and wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy Les Aigles de La Cite, a wonderful exhibit that showcases the world’s largest collection of birds of prey. The Medieval methods of flying freely are used to train these birds, so this is something that you will not see in many other places. The convenient location of the village makes it easy to make excursions outside of town to have fun or learn more about the history of French culture. Those who are familiar with France may have their own particular favorite villages. Why not stay in France for a while and discover your own personal jewels?