The « Plus Beaux Villages de France » (France’s Most Beautiful Villages) label is awarded to picturesque villages not to be missed ! But there are many more villages that deserve your attention : with or without a label, our villages are outstanding !
Our villages, built century after century, each have a story to tell about our history, our nature and our daily lives.
Not so long ago, horse-drawn carriages drove through our towns, “gabarre” boats loaded with foodstuff travelled along our rivers and canals. In the fortified medieval villages of south-west France, traces of the Hundred Years War still remain. Try to imagine the clanging of the famous musketeers’ swords, in their Bearn hometowns, or live the life of a pilgrim, by walking on our routes to Santiago de Compostela !
Be sure to visit our wine villages : from Saint-Emilion to Jurançon via Buzet, vineyards are part of the scenery in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Discover our lively heritage by attending one of our many traditional yearly celebrations !
From the heights of Saint-Emilion, contemplate the sea of vines which surround the medieval town. Both the village of Saint-Emilion and its vineyards are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Walk down the town’s paved streets and discover the wonderful crafts in our many shops : clothing, decorative objects, lovely macaroons… Vianne is the only fortified medieval town in Nouvelle-Aquitaine named after a woman !
Built in 1284 on the Baïse riverside, Vianne’s outer wall, 4 gateways and defense towers are still standing. Its 13th century church is a pure example of Romanesque art. In summer, be sure to visit the town’s lively night market.
The fortified town of Domme overlooks the river Dordogne and offers a splendid panorama of this part of « Black Perigord » (Périgord Noir. Why “black”? Because of the area’s famous truffles, also known as « black diamonds » !
Templars who were emprisoned in « Porte des Tours » tower used truffles to mark the walls of their prison !
Aïnhoa is just a few steps away from the Spanish border, in the heart of Pays-Basque. Its red and green half-timbered houses and their flowery balconies are perfectly aligned along the town’s main street. Glass blowers, wood sculptors and other talented craftspeople bring this typical Basque « Labourd » village alive, all year long.
Collonges-la-Rouge, between Limousin and Quercy, gets its name from the colour of the red sandstone it is built with. Collonges-la-Rouge, in Corrèze,used to be the fiefdom of the Counts of Turenne. It is a remarkable ensemble of red buildings with bluish stone tile roofs, and quaint streets. Discover Collonges’s exceptional and unique heritage, lovely landscapes and friendly inhabitants.
Mortemart in Haute-Vienne, used to be a prosperous trading town. The atmosphere here is peaceful and harmonious. The town gets its name from the famous family who founded it around the year 1000. Don’t miss the « château des ducs » and Carmes convent !.
In Charente, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, be sure to visit Saint-Jacques underground monolithic church.
In Charente-Maritime, Mornac-sur-Seudre is a small port. Its specialities : oysters, salt, and lovely alcea rosea flowers ! La Flotte : a pleasant fishing port with a 19th century pier and quaint streets. Ars-en-Ré is known for its slender black and white bell tower and its salt merchants. Talmont-sur-Gironde boasts a beautiful church : Sainte-Radegonde, and lovely white houses with blue shutters…
In the Vienne area, Angles-sur-l’Anglin holds the vestiges of an 11th century castle and a Magdalenian frieze sculpted 15.000 years ago!