Everyone knows that France is a stunner of a country, so there’s no need for an introduction here. However, it is a fact that that many tourists tend to focus on the so-called highlights in France—Paris, the Côte d’Azur and the Loire Valley, for example.
I, personally, think that every vacation should include at least one less-visited destination. These off-the-beaten-track or under-the-radar destinations offer an insight into local and/or rural life in a certain country, everyday life without the influence of mass tourism. So, here, I’ve put together a list with ten of the most beautiful towns in France. These are a handful of places that are not skipped, but definitely less frequented by tourists.
10 of the Most Beautiful Towns in France
Strasbourg, located in the far northeastern corner of France, at the border with Germany, is the official seat of the European Parliament. In addition to this bureaucratic status, it is also an exceptionally charming town. Highlights include the towering Cathedral of Our Lady, medieval stone bridges and numerous black-and-white timber-framed houses.
Dinan is one of the absolute star attractions in Brittany, France’s large western peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. It is an old riverside town home to ramparts, town walls, cobbled streets and stone bridges. This is the heart of Brittany, featuring a thriving Breton culture and plenty of typical crêperies.
Located on the rugged Mediterranean island of Corsica, Piana features traditional stone houses and an old church. It is set about 400 meters above the coast of western Corsica, some spots in the town offering great views of the coastline and the sea. Its main attraction is the nearby rock formations known as the Calanches de Piana.
Situated on the northern shore of Lake Annecy, the town of Annecy is located in the Haute-Savoie area in the French Alps. Sometimes referred to as the “pearl of the French Alps”, Annecy is a place with its own château, canals, houses with geranium-decorated balconies and mesmerizing mountain scenery.
Occupied since Roman times because of its strategic importance, Carcassonne is set atop a hill in southern France and is definitely one of the most beautiful towns in France. The town is renowned for its ancient fortress, the Cité de Carcassonne, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient walled hilltop town is a strongly recommended place to visit in this region of France.
A village in the southeastern corner of France, Eze lies in the very heart of the French Rivièra. Overlooking the shimmering Mediterranean Sea from its hilltop, this is one of the most scenic small towns in France. Although quite small, Eze boasts a plethora of art galleries, restaurants, hotels, shops,…
Colmar is the third-largest town in France’s northeastern Alsace region, known for its medieval towns and wine-making. This is easily one of the most jaw-dropping towns in France. Crisscrossed by canals and home to countless old timber-framed houses, there really isn’t a town quite like Colmar in France.
An ancient fortified town in the Loire region, Vouvant is an extraordinarily atmospheric town. Attractions include the Castle of the Lusignan, the 11th-century Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Church, a Romanesque bridge and the Forest of Mervent-Vouvant.
Located in the Provence region in the south of France, the small hill town of Gordes is considered to be one of the most gorgeous towns in France because of its unique location, its wonderful charm and its beautiful buildings.
With fewer than 300 inhabitants, Conques is definitely more a village than it is a town. It is located in the central-south of France and situated scenically at the confluence of two rivers. Characterized by quintessential medieval alleyways and perched on a hillside, Conques is a pedestrian-only town. Its Abbey-Church of Saint-Foy used to be an important stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.