Picturesque French villages you (probably) never heard of


France is quite large as far as European countries go, and in addition to well-loved and popular tourist destinations such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille and other large cities, there are lots of smaller towns and villages that are so-charming in a typically French fashion that it would be a crime not the visit at least some of them. Each French village has its charm and own personality, and discovering their particular quirks is one of the most pleasant activities that you can get up to while in France. So here are some picturesque French villages you (probably) never heard of.

Beynac-et-Cazenac, Dordogne

Beynac-et-Cazenac in south-western France is a commune in the department of Dordogne, and a fair contender to the title of France’s most beautiful village. Beynac-et-Cazenac can boast of the lovely Château de Beynac, one of the best preserved medieval castles in the region. The imposing structure was built on the banks of the Dordogne River, perched atop some jagged cliffs, overlooking charming houses and winding streets.

Aiguèze, Gard

photo by Vi..Cult...

The charm of this village lies in its simplicity and inspiring natural setting. The medieval village overlooks the lush vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône on one side, and the Ardeche Gorges on the other. The Romanesque cathedral of the village dates back to the 14th century, and there are other designated historical monuments in the village.

Gordes, Vaucluse

photo by Luc Viatour

Gordes is perched on one of the sides of Vaucluse plateau, and like other villages on this list, it dates back to medieval times. The winding roads of the village lead up to an impressive Renaissance chateau, and a beautiful church. This small village is also one of the cultural centers of Provence, and prominent French artists like Marc Chagall, Victor Vasarely or Pol Mara have celebrated it for its picturesque views.

Minerve, Herault

photo by TouN

Minerve is probably one of the most amazing members of our list of picturesque villages you (probably) never heard of. Used as a defensive stronghold in the Middle Ages, Minerve has a strategic position, on top of the gorge of the River Cesse. It used to be a Cathar fortress destroyed in 1210 by Simon de Montfort, and of the original buildings only a slender tower, named Candela, survives.

Riquewihr, Haut-Rhin

photo by Mschlindwein

Riquewihr is a popular tourist attraction among Europeans due to its wonderfully preserved medieval architecture, but also for the delicious wines produced in the region. Riquewihr looks like it hasn’t changed at all since the 16th century, and the cobbled streets and colorful houses haven’t suffered any damage during WWII, luckily.


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