As many of us are aware, France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Its combination of art, culture, history and stunning back drops has helped cement itself as a dream location for many of us to visit, but in many cases, this is to experience the more well known areas of the country such as Paris and St Tropez. Many are not aware that along with these well-known locations, France is filled with exquisitely beautiful villages which to those who finally discover them, are seen as gems of France. But what are some of the most beautiful villages within France?
Euguzon is a charming and peaceful village which offers its visitors the tranquility and beauty of calm lakes, rivers and cool streams which provides many opportunities to partake in some leisure and sporting activities. Whether you are looking to swim, sail, water-ski or canoe, the Lac d’ Eguzon can offer a fantastic backdrop for your activity. However, one can also enjoy archery, mountain biking and horse riding while exploring this stunning village. This is a truly traditional village of which hosts a chestnut and apple fair every year during October. While you are welcomed by the aroma of grilled chestnuts and caramelized nuts, you will thoroughly enjoy the sights you see from the live music and folk stories which will fill your ears as you explore.
Saint Gaultier is a small, quaint village situated on the banks of the river Creuse. It is know as one of many fortified villages in France, with many historical buildings and towers which date as far back as the 1500’s. In fact, many of the remains from buildings past can still be found and enjoyed by history enthusiasts. This is a village which is packed full of culture and history, in particular the Abbey which has been renovated many times throughout the years, but still stand proud within the centre of the town on the edge of Brenne National Park which also acts as a great day out for those who enjoy nature as much as history.
Situated 15 kilometers south of Domme is the stunning village of Monpazier. The origins of the village date back from the 13th century and it is this fantastic history which has helped it remain a remarkable town today. With an original market hall still standing, many ancient buildings and a stunning church, there is plenty to be left astounded by here. Due to much of the town’s originality still being intact, this is the ideal location for those who are looking to soak up some real history regarding the towns of France.
This however, means that there are not as many modern facilities typical of many areas within France, but this does not take away from its beauty in any way. Many of the 30 buildings within Monpazier are seen as national monuments so you know that what you do see is something which is certifiably a beautiful landmark. As you explore the town you will also notice many quaint cafes and shops which have stood the test of time, with many dating back centuries.
East of Figeac is the beautiful village of Conques. With a beautiful landscape comprising of the River Dourdo and magnificent mountains and forests, the village itself houses many medieval buildings and narrow village streets which give it s great sense of character and charm. Here, you will find a stunning abbey which was built between the 10th and 12th centuries and stunning views for miles which will leave you feeling breathless. The village was once home to a monastery which was partly destroyed during the 16th century by Protestant uprisings and has been constantly undergone renovations ever since. Along with this fantastic piece of history, you can find many famous pieces of treasure including the renowned golden status of St Foy of whom the abbey was named after. For those looking for history mixed with some spectacular scenery, this is a village not to be missed from your itinerary.
Finally, there is Carcassonne which attracts over 3 million visitors every year. While perhaps it is more of a town than a village, its historical uniqueness definitely merits inclusion. There are numerous interesting and enchanting areas to explore within this perfectly preserved Medieval walled town, along with more modern delights to enjoy such as shops and restaurants. There is plenty to see and do here from visiting the castle and the museum of Carcassonne, to the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire which boasts some exquisite stained glass and carvings.
For those who enjoy nature and wildlife, there is also Les Aigles de La Cite which is a great exhibit which features the largest collection of birds of prey in the world. These birds are trained within the Medieval methods of flying freely and is something which you cannot experience just anywhere. The village’s location also allows for many excursions out of town where you are free to explore and learn more about the French culture and history.
For those who already know France, many will have their own favourite villages. Why not spend some time in France and discover your own personal gems.