Postcards from France - the Most Beautiful Villages of France
2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the wonderful association which has brought so much joy and interest to Francophiles and French people alike. Showcasing The Most Beautiful Villages of France seems like a brilliant idea, non? Preserving heritage and enhancing rural communities are part of the aims and successes of the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.
Now celebrating forty years of awarding their label to villages according to a clear application process, 27 evaluation criteria and a final decision by the Quality Commission. It has inspired many international associations to spring up celebrating the most beautiful villages from as far and wide as Québec, Italy, Spain and Japan. Today we dive into a moment of appreciation for The Most Beautiful Villages of France and the wonderful guide created by the association and published annually (Flammarion.)
A celebration of rural beauty, history and regional culture, gastronomy and more, the official guide to The Most Beautiful Villages of France (available in English, French and Dutch; Les Plus Beaux Villages de France) is a must-have for Francophiles worldwide. It's one of my favourite books to enjoy dipping into and if I have a trip to plan or I want to explore somewhere new, what better place to start than the Most Beautiful Villages of France?
I'm sure you'll agree that the wonderful blend of beauty, history, regional food and drink, things to do or to enjoy in the village makes this guide unmissable. It's a book full of practical details, recommendations for staying, dining, exploring, delving deeper into regional customs as well as walking trails, outdoor adventures and more. I absolutely love this book!
This year there are 164 destinations to discover. Which one are you going to search for first? Perhaps you might enjoy some of the villages I've selected over on Instagram?
Where are the Most Beautiful Villages in France?
Where to start? If this is your moment to get hold of a 40th anniversary edition of the guide, then buy* your book and start planning. Let's go! There are villages in every corner of France and some of the overseas territories or DOM-TOM, such as La Réunion.
Most of the villages are charming year-round, but perhaps you have a particular time of the year in mind? Would you rather explore with the crowds through glorious Gordes under the hot Provençal summer sun? Or would you rather be in the Jura when it's nearly grape-harvesting time in the Autumn visiting Château-Chalon? Perhaps school holidays are your chance to take a trip so would you like to explore near the coast, mountains or rolling countryside? Perhaps you're planning to walk and enjoy outdoor adventures whilst exploring so you'd like villages with access to kayaking, canoeing, etc like Limeuil? The association website has lots of ideas for trips and is helpful, but not as good as the book. There's something about a tactile guide full of glossy pictures to whet your appetite for adventure isn't there?
Fortunately the guide is packed full of information to help you including links to tourism information sites and their locations, lists of activities on offer in the area and much more.
If you're going on a roadtrip for example, perhaps you'd like to visit several charming villages on one trip, in which case check out the book and its map of all the Most Beautiful Villages of France across the regions. With the online interactive map at their website you can get a glimpse of the villages and their locations.
Even if you don't plan to travel, this official guide gives you plenty to enjoy from the comfort of home. It's not a massive coffee table book, but a substantial paperback with glossy photographs and plenty of history and information to satisfy the curious armchair traveller. Imagining those strolls through medieval streets or villages squares next to an ancient chateau or church, there is plenty to dream of!
There's no better gift this year for the Francophile in your life!
Whether you want to enjoy the Atlantic coast island villages on the Ile-de-Ré, the rolling countryside of the southwest near the Lot, Dordogne and Garonne rivers or if you're heading for alpine beauty the guide has something for you. North, West, East and South, the guide has assessed and accredited 164 villages this year!
Find out more at their website where you can find the guide in all three languages (French, English and Dutch) as well as other resources. You'll find additional items such as the Michelin map in their online shop. While I have no affiliation with Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, links to the guide may include affiliate links which cost you nothing but give a tiny percentage of your purchase price to support this ad-free blog and podcast. Thank you for your ongoing support if you use these handy links.
If you believe your village or commune deserves attention like those in the guide, then you can nominate it here. Have you made a list of your favourite French villages?
Do you plan to travel to more of The Most Beautiful Villages of France or do you already live in one?
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