The Most Beautiful Cities in France Travel Blog

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We love traveling anywhere and everywhere in France. It’s probably one our favorite countries to travel in Europe. We’re enamored by it all, from the biggest, most beautiful cities to the smallest, underrated and unknown towns and villages. Usually we plan a week’s stay in each place, because we’ve learned that finding that perfect local brasserie or artisanal boulangerie can take some time. We don’t want to find it then leave; we want to enjoy it, savor it. We’ve learned a lot traversing this amazing country, so we want to share our favorite places and France travel tips with you. We just know, you’ll come, you’ll explore, and you’ll soon be addicted to all of it, just as we are.

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10 Charming Villages in France


10 Charming Villages in France

A couple times a year, we have to pack up the car and take a road trip through the countryside of France looking for more charming villages to visit. We love the local markets and patisseries where everyone stocks up on their daily baguettes. We love the castles, the vineyards, the canals, the many world heritage sites. We just can’t get enough. Who could resist a tiny white-washed stone cottage in the midst of the Loire Valley, waking up to a steaming bowl of café au lait to dip your crusty baguette or a warm croissant right out of the oven?

10 Charming Villages in France

One of our favorite pastimes is planning our road trip day to include a long, leisurely, distinctly French lunch. We order the “menu” which is usually two or three courses to include your appetizer, main, and a dessert from two choices and is reasonably priced somewhere around 20 Euros. Then we always ask the server to recommend us his or her favorite local wine. After luxuriating for a couple of hours, we hop back in the car and find the vineyard that produced the wine so we can take home a case or two.

In this way, we have discovered some amazing places that are not so well known and here is the list of some of the most beautiful places in France. Which one will you try first?

The Most Beautiful Cities and Villages in France

Paris

You can’t even think about France without thinking about here capital and largest city, the pearl of Europe, Paris. We’ve been there too many times to count. When the girls were still at home, and Paris was a mere four hours away, I had to stop asking them what they wanted to do on the weekend, because it never changed. They wanted to go to Paris again and again. I love Paris, but there’s more to France than just Paris, and in proving this to the girls we learned just how stunning this country is.

 

10 Charming Villages in France

Kientzheim

One of the many beautiful villages along the 170 kilometers Alsace Wine Route, and it just happens to be the place that Jim and I stay as often as we can.  We love its colorful half-timbered houses, its cobbled streets, old time guild signs, and the many flower boxes bursting with vibrant blooms from spring to fall.  

10 Charming Villages in France

Dinan

With its stone houses and bridges, beautiful river running through it and plenty of green space and views overlooking the valley, is a gem in the northern province of Brittany. We only spent one day here when we were visiting Mont St. Michel, but we’ve marked it down as a place to return.

10 Charming Villages in France

10 Charming Villages in France

Montady

We discovered this tiny gem completely by accident. We were looking for a week’s vacation rental and found one here. It was such a fantastically central location for visiting the coast, the Canal du Midi, and of course lots of vineyards.

10 Charming Villages in France

Carcassonne

One of the prettiest walled cities I’ve ever visited, Carcassonne is a world heritage site.  Cobblestone streets winding around to the center, there is something to discover on every corner, from a great little chocolatier to an intimate restaurant with just a few tables. We’re not sure how it happened, but even though it was the height of summer, there were few people around.

10 Charming Villages in France

Loches

Another surprise, this small city is located along the Loire river. We stumbled into their weekly market and loaded up on some fresh produce, homemade pasta, and fresh fish. It made a tasty dinner and great memory.  We loved this area so much, and if you are interested, check out these 7 things to do in the Loire Valley.

10 Charming Villages in France

Menton

This was our newest find. We were down in Menton over the winter, but it was still pretty warm. In fact, we only had to wear our coats one day. It’s a hilly town, but climbing to the top for the cathedral and the views was well worth it. We enjoyed its annual Lemon Festival replete with all kinds of lemon foods to taste.

10 Charming Villages in France

Chamonix

As you can tell, this is a winter town. Surrounded by the French Alps, Chamonix is the skiing capital of France. We couldn’t wait to try the snow on Mont Blanc, and between swooshing down the slopes, gorging on fondue and wine in the evening, I’ve got to tell you…it’s a fantastic place!

10 Charming Villages in France

St. Malo

This city on the northern coast really took us by surprise. It rained most of the time we were there, and yet we wouldn’t hesitate to go back. The walled old town is as addictive as we have found many other French cities, and being on the coast the seafood was amazing. Who can resist fresh mussels and scallops along with a glass of white wine? I know I can’t.

10 Charming Villages in France

Béziers

We didn’t even plan on stopping here, but just driving by on the highway it beckons you in with the view above.  There is no way to resist a beautiful city rich in history and home to amazing wines?

10 Charming Villages in France

Ribeauvillé

Again on the Alsace wine route, we have been to this small town more times than I can count. We love going during the Fiddler’s Fest in early September, but more than that we just love to eat at one of its many Alsatian restaurants and walk along its Disney-esque streets.

10 Charming Villages in France

Additional France Reading:
Captivating Corsica’s Scandola Reserve
Drive and Hike the Stunning Cap Fréhel

Conclusion

France is a wonderful destination. Enjoy these savvy France travel tips as well as a taste of the quaint, friendly and charming villages that you can find in every nook and cranny of France. I highly recommend that the next time you contemplate a trip to France, you do more than Paris. I love Paris.  Everybody loves Paris, but there is so much more to this amazing country. Now you can venture to the the sun-soaked villages of the south as well as the windswept towns of the very north. There is a reason that so many famous artists from Van Gogh to Monet lived in this country full of farms, medieval towns, fortified villages, and landscapes that simply ooze charm, so why not check it our for yourself?

Have you found any spectacular French cities or towns?  Please tell us about them in the comment section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Corinne Vail is a world traveler, writer, photographer, speaker, and teacher. Looking for the quirky and unusual as well as the best food around the world, she has traveled all her life. She’s lived in Turkey, England, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the Netherlands and visited over 90 countries with her family. Learn more about Corinne and Reflections Enroute on the About page.

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16 Comments

  1. Lovely pictures! I especially liked the field of sunflowers – so summery and cheery. I haven’t spent much time in France by any means, but I do have a soft spot for picturesque villages like these (in fact, I just blogged about a few over in Gran Canaria!). I am not too keen on France at the minute because two different groups of friends got their cars broken into (on separate occasions) while in Marseilles.. 🙁

  2. Charming is an understatement! These villages are exquisite and oh so French. Unfortunately I have only travelled to Paris, but have always longed to see some of the gorgeous French countryside and these quaint little villages. One day!!

  3. St. Malo is my favorite spot in France! We spent an afternoon there walking the walls and eating a leisurely lunch at a cafe next to a family and their dog. It might go on record as a perfect afternoon! I also like Honfleur – which is more of a city than town . It’s got a great coastal vibe. High on my list of places to visit is the Brittany region of France – France mixed with some celtic influence which seems perfect to me. And I never miss watching Le Tour de France every summer and not just for the bicycling – but also for the scenery!

  4. This was so beautifully written! As much as I love the bigger cities like Paris, Nice, and Lyon there is nothing quite like visiting a French village. I have been to Carcasonne and Saint Malo and absolutely loved them both- they definitely merit being on this list! This September I booked a trip to go hang gliding in Chamonix and I can’t wait to discover the village!

  5. Lovely post. We are lucky to live in a part of France, the SW, where there’s a high concentration of plus beaux villages. Within a 40 km radius of our place I can recommend Najac, Belcastel, Saint-Cirq Lapopie, Bruniquel, Puycelsi, Lauzerte to name just a few. Some lovely bigger towns, too – Cahors, Albi, Toulouse. Put all those on your list if you come down this way!

  6. You know how much I love my adopted country and I’d love to travel around it with you…I’ve been to hundreds of French villages but only 4 on this list (which I loved). Now I’ll have to get to the other 6 and then tell you my top 10! Thanks for linking to #AllAboutFrance

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