The 11 Prettiest Small Towns in France

France, renowned for its stunning cities, rich history, and sumptuous cuisine, also boasts an array of charming small towns that seem to have sprung from the pages of a fairytale. If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful country, don’t limit yourself to just Paris and the larger cities. France’s small towns are hidden gems that will transport you to a magical world filled with picturesque streets, medieval architecture, and breathtaking landscapes. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the 11 prettiest small towns in France, with a special focus on the charming villages in the south of the country. So, grab your virtual passport, and let’s explore!

1. Eze

Location: French Riviera

Nestled on the French Riviera, Eze is an enchanting hilltop village that offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. Its cobbled streets, vibrant gardens, and medieval architecture make it one of the best small villages in France. The Jardin Exotique de Eze is a must-visit, as it showcases a stunning collection of exotic plants and offers the perfect backdrop for a fairytale experience.

2. Annecy

Location: French Alps

Dubbed the “Venice of the Alps,” Annecy is a picturesque town known for its scenic canals, charming pastel-colored buildings, and a crystal-clear lake. Stroll through the Old Town, visit the Château d’Annecy, and enjoy a boat ride on Lake Annecy to immerse yourself in the magic of this small town.

3. Gordes

Location: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Gordes, perched atop a hill in the Provence region, is a timeless beauty. Its stone buildings and narrow streets create an atmosphere of medieval charm. The village is also home to the striking Senanque Abbey, known for its lavender fields in full bloom during the summer, offering an idyllic and unforgettable sight.

4. Rocamadour

Location: Occitanie

Rocamadour is a unique village that clings to the cliffs of the Alzou Canyon. With its stunning architecture and religious significance, it has been a pilgrimage destination for centuries. Don’t forget to climb the Grand Escalier, a monumental staircase with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

5. Colmar

Location: Grand Est

Colmar, often referred to as “Little Venice,” is an Alsatian town filled with colorful half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and charming canals. It’s a place where you can truly immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of Alsace.

6. Cassis

Location: French Riviera

For a taste of the Mediterranean, visit Cassis. This small fishing town is known for its calanques, or narrow inlets, offering stunning azure waters. Enjoy fresh seafood at the harbor and take a boat tour to explore the breathtaking coastal scenery.

7. Sarlat-la-Canéda

Location: Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Sarlat-la-Canéda is a beautifully preserved medieval town with winding alleyways and a market that will transport you back in time. Explore the charming squares, indulge in regional delicacies, and admire the impressive Sarlat Cathedral.

8. Èze

Location: French Riviera

Not to be confused with Eze, Èze is another jewel of the French Riviera. Perched on a hill, it offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and boasts lush botanical gardens. The enchanting atmosphere of this town makes it one of the best small towns in the south of France.

9. Carcassonne

Location: Occitanie

Carcassonne is a fortified town with an awe-inspiring medieval citadel. The walled city, known as La Cité, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and transports you to a bygone era. Explore the cobbled streets and admire the intricate architecture.

10. Riquewihr

Location: Grand Est

Riquewihr is a charming wine village in the Alsace region. With its colorful buildings, vineyards, and local wineries, it’s a delightful destination for wine enthusiasts and lovers of picturesque small towns.

11. Bonnieux

Location: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Bonnieux, a hilltop village in the Luberon region, exudes the essence of Provence. Its narrow streets, ancient churches, and stunning vistas of the surrounding countryside make it a fairytale setting. Be sure to visit the centuries-old Cedar Forest for an enchanting experience.

These 11 small towns in France are more than just tourist destinations; they are windows into a world of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring the charming villages in the south of France or the hidden gems scattered throughout the country, you’ll find that each town has a unique story to tell. So, as you plan your next journey, consider adding these fairytale-like destinations to your itinerary, and prepare to be enchanted by the magic of France’s prettiest small towns.

The 11 Prettiest Small Towns in France
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