Top 6 Out Of The Way Villages in France
When visiting France, there seems to be an endless list of popular destinations, ranging from the capital of Paris, to smaller seaside resorts such as Etretat. If you’re seeking a hidden paradise situated off the beaten track, read on to discover six little-known French villages with plenty to offer.
Located at the edge of the Gorges du Verdon, Moustiers is little known outside of France, yet the French consider it to be one of their most beautiful villages. Built upon terraces upon the cliff face, the village is centred around a spring that flows out of the cliff, forming a waterfall. Wandering amongst the small winding streets, visitors will discover a plethora of cafes, creperies and pottery shops. Ensure that you time your visit to be in Moustiers as the sun sets, as the limestone cliffs cast a pink light across the village, and the gold stars suspended on a wire between the two cliffs shines in the dark.
Head to the west coast of France to discover the tiny village of Talmont-sur-Gironde, home to just 78 residents. The small and secluded beaches are worth a visit in the summer, to get away from the crowds at more popular resorts along the coast. If beaches aren’t your thing, wander up and down the pretty narrow streets, admiring the white-washed walls and colourful flowers.
Designated a Small Town of Character, this village in Brittany is small yet beautiful, showcasing a stunning floral display every summer when the locals all dress the exteriors of their homes with geraniums. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the village itself is filled with small arts and crafts boutiques, advertised on the stone walls with colourful intricate signs. During the summer months, the streets are illuminated at night and the locals sit outside the cafes and restaurants on terraces enjoying the fresh air.
France is famed for its wine, and many tourists flock to popular destinations such as Bordeaux to visit the vineyards. If you are a wine connoisseur, escape to Mittelbergheim to discover some of the finest wine in the whole of France in this small and little known village. Located in Alsace, this hidden gem also boasts beautiful scenery, a museum and an old mill to explore.
The Dordogne region of France is famed for its namesake river, epic landscapes and abundance of castles. Les Eyzies is located nearby the National Museum of Prehistory and the famed Lascaux prehistoric cave paintings, making it the ideal destination for anyone with an interest in archaeology. The village itself is only small, yet incredibly beautiful, set upon the banks of a smaller river and with several buildings built into the cliff face.
Anyone with an interest in history should visit the tiny village of Blesle in the Haute-Loire region of France. Barely touched by tourism, this settlement boasts the remains of a 9th Century Benedictine monastery, an array of medieval timber and stone houses and the ruined remains of the old village walls. If you fancy a respite from the historical buildings, pop into the museum dedicated to hats and bonnets.
If you are inspired why not also read Living in a French Hilltop Village.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.