Today I’m going to tell you about my 10 favourite villages in France.
I usually prefer smaller villages as they are easier to get to know in a few days. Big cities need longer to delve into.
So ……. In no particular order
- Cotignac in Provence. I’ve been here twice to stay with good friends in their house in the village. It’s a beautiful village – almost perfect when it comes to French villages. Big enough to have a good selection of businesses – bakery, cafes and great markets on Wednesday and Saturday. It is a good base for exploring nearby villages Aups, TourTour, Salernes as well as the Gorge de Verdan. It’s about an hour to the coast and lovely seaside towns like Cassis. Also an hour to Aix en Provence.
- Avignon Also in Provence this is a great base for exploring the area. It’s a good size to be interesting on it’s own – it has the amazing Palace of the Popes, so lots of history and is a driveable distance from the charming St Remy, L’isle sur-la-Sorgue, Arles and many other little villages. As an alternative stay in St Remy visit Avignon and other little villages.
- The Loire Valley: This is a gorgeous area and you can choose any number of little villages to base yourself. We picked Amboise. It has a wonderful Castle and is also home to Chateau du Clos, the house and garden of Leonardo da Vinci. We stayed at a great little house directly opposite the castle. Not expensive and very comfortable. it can be found on http://www.homeaway.com.au/holiday-rental/p258188vb The Chateaux in the area are magnificent.
- We’ve also been to the Champagne area and stayed one night in Epernay and then in Hautville, a small village nearby and for me a better option. Only 15mins away so easy taxi ride in to do a Champagne House tour. The B&B was very good La Chevalee. We also visited Reim but I wouldn’t stay there…..
- We travelled south into Burgundy and stayed at Noyers-sur-Serein. A really lovely medieval village. We had 3 nights and explored the area. Our B&B was called Cote-Serein – Chambres de la Tour and was in the village.
- Strasbourg Not a village but a charming small city. I had a week here on my own and loved it. Its only 2 hrs by fast train to Paris and easy to get around. A car might be handy to explore the Alsace Lorraine wine trail but there are trains and buses to get you around. I took a great wine tour .
- Carcassonne on the west is a lovely walled town (we stayed in the Best Western inside the walls). A great place to base yourself to explore the area.
- St Emilion, Biarritz and Bordeaux are all lovely places to explore. Biarritz is good in summer for a swim. Its a lovely village with good food and a not so lovely Casino. A half day drive to St Emilion for a few days to explorethe wine region and easy to get into Bordeaux for the day by train. Stay in the lovely Des Chambres l’Ovaline B&B right at the entrance to the town. The town has a wonderful underground Church and a tour of the vineyards is good to do.
- Bayeux You must go to Bayeux to see the tapestry. It’s a must. Also as a base to explore the beaches famous for the Normandy invasion. Stay at La Villa a great B&B.
- St Malo: The book ‘All the Light I cannot see” by Anthony Doerr is set here and it’s a charming seaside village (surrounded by a large modern town). Its a port and you can sail from here to the Channel Islands.its also close to Dinan another lovely village.
For more information on these places check out the rest of the blog.
Please put the names of your favourite villages in the comments box. Love to get some of your suggestions.
Watch out for my next post: Paris. Where to stay, what to do.