Ooh la la: the most beautiful French villages

Always wanted to know which of France’s villages are the most popular among the French? Then you’re in luck! Because since 2012, the television programme ‘Le village préféré des Français’ has been allowing French viewers to vote on their favourite villages. The results are very useful for foreign visitors and this year’s list (comprising 14 villages) is again full of little gems. Take a look yourself…

1. Saint-Vaast-La-Hougue

This year’s winner is Saint-Vaast-La-Hougue, a coastal commune situated in the department of Manche (Normandy). One glance at the photo below and you’ll instantly understand why Saint-Vaast has won first prize. Besides a beautiful chapel, this delightful village offers plenty of things to see and do. A few can be found on the small island just off the coast of Saint-Vaast, where a fort and maritime museum are located. And don’t forget to take a look in the incredible La Maison Gosselin shop, located in the charming village centre and packed full of local delicacies and many other fascinating products.

Saint-Vaast-La-Hougue

Great campsites in and around Saint-Vaast-La-Hougue:

4. Lauzerte

In fourth place is Lauzerte, a large village in the department of Tarn-et-Garonne (Midi-Pyrénées). The hill on which the village is situated has been inhabited for thousands of years. In the 12th century a castle was built on it, bringing trade and, in turn, prosperity to the area. This can still be seen to this day in the beautiful buildings. Lauzerte is located on one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela and a visit to the listed Pilgrim’s Garden is a must. Another highlight is the main square, which is flanked by old warehouses, nice shops and small restaurants.

Great campsites in and around Lauzerte:


6. Cotignac

In 6th place, and a most deserving runner up, is Cotignac in the south of France. This idyllic village is located in the department of Var (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur), at the foot of a cliff into which houses have been built. In the centre of Cotignac you will find romantic squares, narrow streets decorated with flowers and beautiful fountains offering cool drinking water. If you visit on a Tuesday, you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the market. And in July and August, there are all kinds of activities, including a potter’s market and a festival.

Great campsites in and around Cotignac:

8. Les Riceys

The last place that I think deserves a mention is Les Riceys. This sleepy commune in the department of Aube (Champagne-Ardenne) is famous for the quality of its key product: wine. Made up of three villages, Les Riceys boasts fourteen churches, two castles, a market hall and many magnificent houses. So, there’s plenty to see and do. The towers of the Saint-Vincent church stand proudly above the vineyards, which cover a total of 350 hectares. A visit to Les Riceys therefore isn’t complete without a wine tour or tasting. Santé!

Great campsites in and around Les Riceys:

Even more beautiful destinations

Would you like to know more about all the villages featured on the programme? Let us know which places you have visited and which you’d still like to see.

Jeroen Timmermans
  • Author: Jeroen Timmermans
  • From Calais to Cannes, and from Nantes to Nancy: Jeroen has definitely done his fair share of exploring in France. With his parents and his brother, he spent weeks at the most beautiful campsites in a trailer tent. Then, the family travelled around the rest of Europe in a motorhome. Now he loves his cultural city breaks. He particularly loves funiculars and cable cars.

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