There is no shortage of cozy, picturesque villages and towns full of vacation atmosphere in France. We take you along 15 Best Town in France to Visit
15 Best Town in France to Visit:
The white houses of Gordes are built in terraces on a hillside. Gordes is located in the Vaucluse, a department in Provence. Leave your car below and explore the village on foot. It is a bit of a climb to the Renaissance castle at the top of the rock, but once at the top you are rewarded with a magnificent view of the surroundings. After this effort you can relax on one of the many terraces. Tip: also in the evening Gordes is magically beautiful!
Ábsolute accommodation tips directly near Gordes are B&B La Badelle and Auberge De Carcarille. Beautiful and well rated campsites within an hour and a half drive include Camping La Vallée Verte **** and Camping Sunêlia L’Hippocampe *****.
Éze (Provence / Cote d’Azur)
Spectacularly perched on a rocky outcrop between Monaco and Nice, at 429 metres above sea level, is perhaps the most beautiful coastal town in France: Èze. This idyllic village has a magnificent view of the sea and truly breathes history. In the medieval streets and alleys it is bursting with picturesque stores and terraces. Yes, it is busy in the vacation season, but with good reason. The town of Èze is as the French call it ‘magnifique’. For the more active: make the tough walk over the boulders of the so-called ‘Nietzsche Path’, a climb of about one and a half hours from sea level up to the village!
A small, intimate and quiet campsite on the Côte d’Azur is Camping Les Cigales, near Cannes. Complete flight vacations to Nice, located near Éze, can be found here at TUI. Tip for romantic couples: the fantastic La Suite du Village d’Eze, in the middle of Éze with spectacular views!
In the heart of Auvergne you will find the pilgrimage town of Le-Puy-en-Valay. This special town is the starting point of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella. To reach the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Annonciation, you must first hike up the steep Rue des Tables. Inside the cathedral, admire the statue of the Black Madonna. On the tops of two spectacular lava rocks in the area stand the Chapelle Saint-Michel D’Aiguilhe and the Statue Notre Dame de France. All in all a unique sight!
In the town of Le-Puy-en-Valay itself, Ibis Budget Le Puy En Velay is a popular affordable option. A good campsite nearby is Camping Le Vaubarlet (also with mobile homes), located in a beautiful valley in the Auvergne. Also special: the family campsite Château La Grange Fort, situated around a 15th-century castle (with bungalows for rent too!).
READMORE: 26 Things To Do in Paris TN
Carcassonne is an impressive medieval fortified city in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The old town (la Cité) is situated on a plateau on the banks of the Aude. This historic city center, which you reach via the Porte Narbonnaise, is completely surrounded by a three kilometer long fortress wall with 52 towers. At the highest point stands the imposing castle (Château Comtal), which you can visit.
Tip: a beautifully located green 5* campsite a stone’s throw from Carcassonne is Camping Yelloh! Village Domaine d’Arnauteille. The popular family campsites Camping Le Val de Cesse and Camping La Clape are also within daytrip distance of Carcassonne. In the middle of the walled city center are several nice apartments for rent, such as Chez Georges and Apartments Pech Mary.
Rocamadour is a world-famous pilgrimage site, built against a steep cliff in the valley of the Alzou River. Rocamadour is the most visited pilgrimage site in France after Lourdes. Here people venerate the image of the Black Madonna (La Vierge Noir), a statue of Mary that is said to have caused many miracles. Pilgrims also come to venerate Saint Amadour, whose tomb is in Rocamadour. A steep staircase (Le Grand Escalier) leads to the seven shrines that make up the pilgrimage site. Near the village you can also visit the Grotte de Merveille, a stalactite cave with prehistoric rock paintings!
Saint Cirq-Lapopie (Lot).
In 2011 Saint Cirq-Lapopie – the name is already fun! – was voted the most beautiful village in France. This picturesque village is situated on a high rock, directly along the Lot River, surrounded by green forests. The winding road up by car (take the D662 from Cohors!) is alone worth visiting. The almost car-free village is home to several artists, who settled there after the Second World War and renovated several houses. In the beautiful old streets you will find several souvenir shops, boutiques and restaurants. There are also pieces of the city wall and beautiful turrets to spot. At the highest point of the village is the 16th-century castle.
Good campsites in the immediate vicinity of both Rocamadour and Saint Cirq-Lapopie include Camping Castels Domaine de la Paille Basse and Huttopia Beaulieu sur Dordogne. A wonderful nearby charm hotel near Rocamadour is Hotel Beau Site, with panoramic views of the overgrown Alzou Valley.
The wonderful Estaing is also strategically located on the banks of the Lot River, in the Midi-Pyrenees region. In the village there is a 13th-century castle and a cozy center, from which you have a beautiful view of the river. The church contains the relics of Saint-Fleuret. The town is also on a pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The castle is owned by former French president Valerie Giscard d’Estaing.
A good camping tip not far from Estaing is Camping Le Capelan (also mobile homes), located in the heart of the Gorges and the Cévennes. Nearby is also the fantastic Chambres d’hôtes Les Terrasses de Labade. In the middle of Estaing itself, Hotel Auberge Saint Fleuret is a budget-friendly must!
Colmar is considered the capital of Alsace wines and the ‘pearl of Alsace’. Take a walk through the picturesque old town with its many half-timbered houses from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which have been perfectly restored. Visit the Maison Pfister, a magnificent historic building built in early Renaissance style. The most picturesque part is ‘Petite Venise’, a district on the Lauch River. It is always busy here, with plenty of terraces and restaurants. Touristy, but with good reason!
The small, cozy Eguisheim is located just south of Colmar and surrounded by vineyards. The village is circularly built around a medieval castle, of which the chapel still remains. The beautiful half-timbered houses and flowery picturesque streets immediately catch your eye as you walk around this little town. Stroll through the narrow ring-shaped streets and enjoy a delicious glass of Alsatian wine on a pleasant terrace!
A beautiful green Alsace campsite near both towns is Camping Domaine des Messires. In the center of Colmar, the James Boutique Hotel is an absolute must!
Perched high on a rocky outcrop in the Jura, you’ll find the village of Château-Chalon. The surrounding vineyards produce the renowned yellow Château-Chalon wine, derived from the Savagnin grape variety. Get to know the taste of this wine in one of the many tastings! Also visit the 12th-century Saint-Pierre church, which has beautiful murals. The Maison de la Haute Seille Froid Pignon houses a small museum dedicated to viticulture and the history of the village.
Popular camping in the area is Camping Beauregard, on the edge of the Jura Mountains near the river Ain and the beautiful lake of Vouglans. Here you can swim, canoe, pedal boat and sail. A beautiful bed & breakfast nearby is L’Entre-Coeur!
This village, of which almost all buildings are built from the local red sandstone, is located in the Limousin region. Collonges-la-Rouge was founded in the 8th century around a priory. In the village you will find many castles, which were built by noblemen who considered Collonges-la-Rouge as a kind of vacation resort. A fine example is the Castel de Vassinhac, erected in the 16th century by the then lord of the village. Nearby you can also visit the medieval county of Turenne!
Lovely campsites nearby include Camping Castel Le Château de Poinsouze and Huttopia Beaulieu sur Dordogne (both tips!).
Anyone going on vacation in the Normandy region should definitely visit Honfleur, a picturesque port town at the mouth of the Seine. The town is characterized by narrow alleys and old half-timbered houses. Honfleur was the inspiration for impressionist painters and has many museums and art galleries. It can be very busy in high season, but above all it is always very cozy and lively!
Popular family campsites in Normandy (in the immediate vicinity of Honfleur!) include Camping La Vallée and Camping L’Escapade. TUI offers Residence du Parc, a group of apartments around or in the elegant castle near Honfleur.
Mont Saint-Michel (Normandy).
If we are in Normandy, of course the tourist highlight of this region should not be missed: Mont Saint-Michel! Every year more than 3.5 million visitors come to this historic island town, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1979. Originally this was a tidal island, accessible by land at low tide, but completely surrounded by water at high tide. Today, a bridge runs from the mainland to the island. At the top of the island in the Middle Ages an abbey was built, consisting of three levels. Around the abbey a village arose. A visit to the abbey and the lower town with its many small alleys, is downright impressive.
Mont Saint-Michel lies a lot south in Normandy, near the border with Brittany. From Honfleur it is still about a 2-hour drive. A well-judged, decent campsite near Mont Saint Michel is the family campsite St. Michel. Staying on the island of Mont Saint-Michel itself is also possible: check out hotel La Vieille Auberge or Auberge Saint Pierre.
Once in Brittany, not far west of Mont Saint-Michel, Saint-Malo is an absolute must. This spectacular port town is located on a peninsula, at least: the old walled city center. The old part, also called Saint-Malo Intra Muros, has the most sights, including the Saint-Saveur Church, Saint-Malo Castle and the maritime museum. There are also several beaches right near the center. Very frequent ferries depart from Saint-Malo to the English channel island of Jersey, known for its duty-free silver jewelry.
Bonus tip: Saint-Malo is great to combine with a visit to the picturesque river town of Dinan, which is about 30km below it!
The picturesque river town of Dinan.
Tip: family campsite Emeraude offers a fantastic pool complex and is just steps from Saint-Malo! Another option is Camping Le P’tit Bois, a larger family campsite with pool complex and all. For those who prefer to be in an apartment: from Reine Marine you have panoramic views of the sea!
Lovers of real anise sweets should visit the beautiful fortified town of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain. This walled fortified town is located in Burgundy, about 60 kilometers from Dijon. In this town the famous aniseed sweets Anis de Flavigny are made. The town is built on a hill. Take a walk on the ramparts, visit the old city gates and fortified towers. In the center you will find a historic abbey and picturesque medieval streets. Nearby Avallon is also worth a visit, with its old ramparts and historic houses.
A good tip for camping in the heart of the Dordogne is Camping de l’Étang de Fouché – Arnay, in the middle of nature, next to a lake with its own swimming pool.