There's no denying the allure of the major cities like Paris, Lyon and Marseille but if you really want to discover and experience French culture, you'll find it in the villages - large and small.
1 La Roque-sur-Cèze, Languedoc-Roussillon
A charming village of stone dominated by the remains of an ancient castle and Romanesque chapel. Expect cobbled streets and views of the Sautadet waterfalls.
2 Eze, Côte D'Azur
It might lack the glitz of Cannes and St Tropez but the ancient village of Eze has fabulous views over St Jean-Cap Ferrat.
3 Gargilesse-Dampierre, Indre
A favorite destination of George Sand (writer and lover of Chopin).
4 Barfleur, Manche Normandy
The grey granite buildings of this fishing port spread along a spit that juts out into the English Channel (or Le Manche as the french call it.)
5 Rochefort-en-Terre, Morbihan
Half-timbered housei s, gothic monuments, Renaissance hotels, and 19th Century’s architecture cohabit happily in this Brittany village.
6 La Grave, Haute-Alps
A popular destination for walkers in summer and snow sports fans in winter.
7 Apremont-sur-Allier, Berry
This village is overlooked by its castle which is, interestingly, surrounded by a flower garden inspired by Vita Sackville-West’s landscaped garden in Sissinghurst, England.
8 Eguisheim, Alsace
A typical Alsatian village in the heart of the region's wine area.
9 Semur-en-Auxois, CÔTE D'or
An inspiration for artists who can often be seen sketching and painting the citadel.
10 Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Lot
Overlooking the River Lot, the village is a terrific showcase of medieval architecture.
11 Yvoire, Haute-Savoie
It's easy to see why the village is known as "the Pearl of Lake Geneva".
12 Parfondeval, Aisne
Set in an agricultural area, this Picardy village is a picture-perfect pastoral scene.
13 Saint-Benoît-du-Sault, Indre
As well as being picturesque itself, the village offers views of the lovely Portefeuille Valley.
14 Saint-Véran, Hautes-Alpes
In the heart of the "Parc Naturel Régional du Queyras" Nature Park, at a height of 2042 m, Saint-Véran prides itself on being the highest inhabited village in Europe
15 Noyers, Yonne
Visitors love to wander the narrow streets with their half-timberethe squares that once flourished with trade.
16 Beynac-et-Cazenac, Aquitaine
With its impressive castle and homes built on the cliffs along the Dordogne River, this gem is listed among the 'Most Beautiful Villages of France'.
17 Charroux, Auvergne
This pretty fortified village's claim to fame is its mustard.
18 Seillans, VAr
Everything a Provencal village should be and famoulsy where painter Max Ernst spent his last years.
19 Baume-les-Messieurs, Jura
The village sits in a deep gorge where three valleys meet.
20 Roussillon, Vaucluse
The ocher cliffs are the perfect foil for a palette of flaming colors and the village's narrow streets.
21 Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, Côte D'or
This Burgundian village is built around a Benedictine abbey that was founded in the 8th Century.
22 Monpazier, Dordogne
With no less than 32 listed buildings, Monpazier is regarded as the prime example of a "bastide" (fortified village) among the 300 in South-western France.
23 Sainte-Eulalie-d’Olt, Aveyron
In the narrow streets paved with stones from the Lot, the houses date from the 15th to 18th centuries and are lovingly bedecked with flowers.
24 Rodemack, Moselle
The village is surrounded by 700 m of ramparts dating from the 15th century.
25 Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval, Rhône-Alpes
Nestled in the Alps, the village's beauty is enhanced by the proximity to the Cascade de Rouget waterfall.
26 Piana, Corsica
With its traditional stone houses and a church that dominates the village, Piana has lots of narrow streets to explore.
27 Hell Bourg, Réunion
Not all charming French villages are in Mainland France or even Europe. This one is on Réunion island, an overseas dependency.
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