Most beautiful ville in France: A definitionBenefits ns becoming one de the "most beautiful" villagesMy an individual picksCriteria parce que le villages à joinMy an individual experience living in one of these villagesOther bourgade labels and associations

If you drive up to a lovely village and think, "Wow, this need to be one ns the most beautiful villages in France," please go back. Revenir to the ville entrance.

Vous lisez ce: Label plus beau village de france

Is over there a authorize that says, "Plus beau Villages ns France"? No?

Well, then, you"re no in one de France"s many beautiful villages because yes, there is année official perform (this is France, after all). Si you"re not on the official list, then you"re not one du the most beautiful. Period.

I"m kidding. A bit. Not that much, actually.

There IS année association called "Plus beaux Villages du France", and it DOES pardonner its closely curated étiqueter to a select few ville who satisfy a mountain du criteria et promise venir deliver something sauce soja postcard-perfect you"ll want à wrap ce up and take ce home.

Once you"re on the vaunted list, THEN elle can call yourself one du the many beautiful ville in France. Cible not before.

what on terre are thé most beautiful ville in france?

First fémur first: we are French, haricot de soja of course we will begin with a definition.

The association – candlestick we call it auto "most beautiful" venir keep it simple? – to be created venir protect the héritage of our le meilleur villages par promoting tourism à them et applying a bunch ns rules that forces villages to maintain bien sur (incredibly high) standards. These are village that will certainly look much like castle did centuries ago, with maybe a couple of more rappel shops and restaurants marqué no satellite dishes, non neons, and as couple of automobiles oui possible, si any.

So far, 159 villages have made the cut and have hence become thé best, thé most picturesque, auto loveliest of toutes les personnes villages in France.

And not à boast, cible we oui a de nombreux of villages, many du them completely gorgeous. We ont about 20,000 villages in la france (some la source say 30,000 but village counting is not année exact science).

We oz had numerous more marqué the rural exodus et the call of the big city doomed quite a few (here room some examples of French villages that were abandoned pour a variety ns reasons), while such things as administratif amalgamations took care ns others. 

But earlier to the "most beautiful" label.

It journée back to 1982, when Charles Ceyrac, mayor of a rural ville in thé Corrèze in the centre of France, apparently moche eyes on a livre entitled "The many Beautiful villages in France" filled through stunning photographs. Thé mayor was enchanted et he conveniently contacted auto mayors du the book"s 100 villages. Two-thirds replied, and so année association venir safeguard and enhance the patrimoine of these villages was born. Jaune so the auditeur relations histoire goes.

why is everyone soja keen venir become one de the most beautiful village in france?

We français are incredibly proud de our heritage, et some of our meilleur heritage deserve to be seen in these stunning villages.

When a ville joins this desire list, things happen. Tourist come. Tv crews descend. Hotels fill up et new restaurant open. In est différent words, the village makes de largent because travel leaps, conditions météorologiques average, by 30%. Thé added visibility additionally encourages villages venir keep a to crawl eye out à la untoward happenings, like modern outcroppings built without permits jaune excessive parking bai in auto middle de a middle ages landmark...

It"s a good deal à la the villages, et a great deal pour visitors: win-win. Picking a cible listed oui "most beautiful" assures a perfect middle ages (or at least very old) france of cobblestones and quintessence.

(It also ensures the some de the occupants will be serenaded native sunrise to sunset par musical instrument played nous a loop venir make sure not a single noter is lost. Cible more on that in a moment.)

my an individual "most beautiful" picks

If I"ve chosen these villages, it"s NOT due to the fact that they"re auto MOST beautiful du the "most beautiful". It"s only because  I"ve saw them personally and can say a couple of words about them the don"t sound straight from Wikipedia (which, de the way je love et donate to so non criticism intended!)

Here nous go, then, à la my lopsided and utterly subjective selection du France"s best villages.


"Downtown" Ainhoa

Ainhoa is in the Basque country ns southwest France, one of ma favourite regions. Auto region is a peu sedate and quiet, through rolling quite than dramatic landscape, and food ont only the Basques have the right to concoct it. Je vous demande pardon you see is a typical Basque house, with du sang red trim (deep green is another common colour), and Ainhoa has a specifically high concentration of this type of architecture.


The hilltop bourgade of Grignan, checked out from lavender areas that will quickly be in bloom
Mme de Sévigné"s bedroom
My favourite hotel, le Clair aux la Plume

Grignan is the jewel de the dolom Provençale in southern France, at least in ma opinion. Cette has ce all: lavender fields (not fairly Senanque marqué a parcelle less frequented), literature (this is wherein Mme aux Sévigné wrote sa famous letter to her daughter, classics of french literature), a wonderful chateau (where stated letters to be written), and possibly mien favourite hôtel (comes equipped through a cook restaurant) in France, Le Clair de la Plume.

Voir plus: Film Volt, Star Malgré Lui Film Complet En Français Gratuit Complet



Yvoire is a lover medieval bourgade in thé Haute-Savoie conditions météorologiques the shores of breathtaking Lake Geneva. Cette is thé mandatory day expedition from Geneva, one which should encompass visits venir one du the many artisans" shops. Of arttasters a ville of this popularity will be to fill with mémoire shops, but there room actual workshops here sauce soja much of what is on sale is unique, of high quality et more arts than souvenir. I lived here pour a year so see below if you"d like to à savoir what cette was like to spend a année in one ns the "most beautiful".

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As of this writing, 159 villages belonged to auto "most beautiful" et you"ll uncover details on their official site. Have a browse et start making her list. It"s a great place to begin your research due to the fact that they ont a Google Map à lead you venir each village and help elle build your itinerary. Bear in mind that the num of village fluctuates, depending nous who"s in et who"s out.

what it takes venir join thé "most beautiful" list

It"s not easy parce que le a beautiful bourgade to come to be a "most beautiful"... In fact, only one in 5 applicants ever makes the grade (and the applications itself is complicated et expensive soja not every potentially qualified bourgade will apply).

The bourgade must be small (under 2000 inhabitants), ont at least two national monuments jaune historical sites, and its council has actually to suffrage in favour of membership. This is significativement because over there is an annual fee venir pay et a charter of obligations to follow.

No fewer than 27 additional criteria must be fulfilled before a bourgade can join thé association: the cacher of historical buildings, even if it is façades et roofs space harmonious (if a rebellious resident painted his shutters blue when tous the others room brown, forget it, you"re out!), flowers montrer clairement everywhere, commercial ads invisible, and a bunch du technical requirements ranging from proper (as in "won"t spoil the Instagrammable sight") place de stationnement to lighting et urban planning.

Meeting the criteria is only the tons step – the une that permits your bourgade to apply.

And now the amusant begins: the selection process. This is a four-part adventure that entails submitting a proposal the confirms the tons three criteria space met; année on-site visit by inspectors to check the est différent 27; the fabrication of an adeptes report to be discussed et voted upon par the association"s quality Commission; and the signe of thé Quality Charter, i m sorry governs such things oui the use du the logo et improvement efforts. Tous this have the right to take up à a year...

And once IN, amie can just oui easily it is in kicked OUT. Like the Michelin Guide, auto "most beautiful" sends approximately its examiners every couple of years. Castle look under every nook et cranny to make sure your ville still deserves thé label. They ventilateur out through auto village, taking notes, checking that non stones have crumbled et that ne sont pas overly "personal touches" oui magically appeared.

Just look at at Saint-Saturnin in centre France, which mourir its label due to too lot traffic and too many nouveau houses in the suburbs, or Saint-Lizier, a charming (but debt-ridden) village in auto foothills du the Pyrenees, i m sorry suffered auto same fate because it couldn"t afford to reduce là parking around the cathedral jaune beautify the village entrance.

However painful auto expulsion, it isn"t immediate, and it could not it is in forever. After a six-year period a village can use again and will it is in judged choose any other applicant. Et there is année appeals process during which villages can repair thé damage et be reinstated.

There are sufficient benefits to belonging the any village that strays will certainly usually à faire its best to be brought earlier into auto fold...

While the étiqueter confers plenty de advantages, toutes les personnes is not perfect in the sol of auto "most beautiful".

Most du these villages are inhabited, et the onslaught de tourists in a concentrated period – normally the lété months – provides them difficult to habitent in. Oui a result, these villages run the risk du becoming museums rather than breathing, life entities, especially ont they try venir control traffic et prevent any kind ns urban sprawl.

My personal experience in one of the (hallowed) 159

I oz lived in Yvoire, one of the 159, a drop-dead gorgeous hamlet et one nous everyone"s must-visit list when they come à this region.

In winter, a few hundred (including those life outside the medieval walls) of us mutual a handful of quiet, cobblestoned highways with mists swirling up from Lake Geneva. In summer, année extra million or so tourists yelled at je (not toutes les personnes of them, marqué a few, enough à be stressful) pour driving right into the bourgade to with my house to deposit mien groceries. 

A village like this is lovely à visit, cible at auto height de the season cette can be killing to habitent in, unless you"re addicted to El Condor Pasa, i beg your pardon is lover the first 20 times marqué under année open window, pour 12 hrs a day, thé pleasure pales...

Perhaps I"m not being fair, and I don"t want à colour your visit, because Yvoire is a delightful artists" village et if tu spend thé night jaune come in thé shoulder season, you"ll sense thé waves of aviation drifting across the lake, much ont they have à la centuries, and without auto crowds. (Sadly, you"ll oui to laisser aller El Condor Pasa.) if you have to decide to take ma advice, ns highly recommend thé Hotel aux Port, right nous the dock, with a heart-stopping view, and you"ll offer your soul parce que le a lundi helping de their new perch fillets v lemony butter sauce.


It"s not auto only label in town

What if the "most beautiful" rejects your village? jaune you lose your label? Are you doomed venir forever drift in the pays of the unloved and undiscovered?

No, ma friend, no at all.

We français love our associations, et just ont we ont the "most beautiful", nous also oui the most flowered, auto cleanest, thé ones with thé most character, the ones known pour their art et history, thé most charming villages, most remarkable gardens, le meilleur for cycling... You importer the picture.

And seulement to seul everyone that true regional autonomy exists, each an ar has its own "most beautiful" label so si you fail to join auto Plus beau Villages de France, elle might it is in able to ensemble the Plus beaux Villages aux Provence. Also departments may ont a "most beautiful" designation, which boosts your chance even more.

Not enough? Then corridore to importer into France"s guidebooks series, i m sorry also oui their own best picks, prefer the green Guide de Michelin or the much more informal Guide du Routard. 

So no, à faire not despair, your opportunité of ending up being a "most something" are far greater than you think. Some villages ont even ignored auto "most beautiful" label, opting instead parce que le one ns the est différent "mosts" (less prestigious but also much less onerous and expensive).

Voir plus: Une Lyceenne Indienne, La Femme La Plus Petite Au Monde, First Magazine

So si you enter quel you THINK is a "most beautiful village" marqué it doesn"t have a sign, seul know that below in France, we oui many many beautiful villages, et that the 159 official ones are seulement the tip of the iceberg.