Olarques
Vezelay
Sainte Agnes
Yvoire
Eguisheim
Castelnou
Brousse-le-Chateau
Blesle
Barfleur

France’s towns, with exceptions along the Atlantic and Med coasts, are frankly not all that exciting. France’s real strength lies in its villages of which there is an enormous variety as you move from north to south, and from Atlantic west to the Germanic east of Alsace. We’ve already shown you a selection... and maybe whetted your appetite!

We headed this site "France’s Favourite Villages" and not without cause. French TV launched a campaign to get viewers’ votes on their favourites, and the Top Twenty each had a programme to itself.

Here are the Top Nine, listed from Nine down to Number One – Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. It really does qualify, but so do many of its close competitors. I guess one should mention a warning here – the closer you get to Number One, the more you should try to visit out of season (the season being the school holidays, mainly July and August). And remember, the more south you go, the longer the warmer weather!

09      MAROILLES
08      LES BAUX DE PROVENCE
07      BEYNAC-ET-CAZENAC
06      RIQUEWIHR
05      YVOIRE
04      SALERS
03      BARFLEUR
02      SAINT-GUILHEM-LE-DESERT
01      SAINT-CIRQ-LAPOPIE

One more thing. If you’re coming from outside the European Union, don’t rent a car, lease it from Renault or Peugeot. You get a brand new car, and absolutely full insurance – none of those naughty collision-damage-waiver extras which can add considerably to the total.

Byways Travel

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