When most people think of France, they think of the most famous landmarks and tourist attractions: The Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Louvre, and more. What they don’t know is that outside the major cities there is an experience that is rural, rustic, and equally gorgeous. If you want to take in the full French experience and get a break from the city scene, there is no better option than the quaint villages of the French countryside. Though there are hundreds to choose from, we have chosen our favorite eight below.
This small town on the eastern border is one of the most famous villages in all of France. The town itself features vintage architecture and cobblestone streets that will make you feel like you’re in another century. Outside the village, you’ll find gorgeous nature scenes and incredible views. Wine lovers will adore this village due to its rich history in making Alsace wine and the beautiful landscapes highlighted by rows of vineyards.
Sainte Suzanne, Mayenne
This town was used as a military base throughout medieval history due to its prime hilltop location. Now that the days of defending against the likes of William the Conqueror are over, what we are left with is a town with incredible panoramic views and beautiful historic structures. Among the most popular is Donjon, the remnants of an old Castle that lies on the outskirts of town.
This village has stayed relatively untouched for over 200 years. It features vintage Roman architecture and the typical winding streets of small-town France. The town is so small that they do not even let in large vehicles. Most travelers will have to take a bus to the outside of town and then walk in. This protection further preserves the city and accentuates its rustic vibe. The top attraction in Conques is one of the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in all of France: The Abbey-Church of Saint-Foy.
This village is a perfect place for nature lovers. The surrounding landscapes are astonishing and are perfect for early morning hiking and watching sunsets. The town itself is very small, giving it an especially quaint and peaceful energy.
Vueles Les Roses
This coastal village is a can’t-miss option for travelers seeking quiet and relaxation. It is a favorite among authors and artists who seek a peaceful setting to create their art. Given that it is located right on the northern coast, this town is an especially good choice for those who love the ocean. Between the town itself and the surrounding coastal environment, seeing Vueles Les Roses should be on your travel bucket list.
Due to its historic architecture, Perouges is a favorite among filmmakers trying to capture moments in French history. Historians believe this town was established in the year 1167, and given its distance from major metropolitan areas, it has retained a certain classical energy. The best time to visit here is during Spring when the weather is beautiful, and they are holding their annual Spring festival.
While Paris boasts a population of over two million, this tiny town is the home to under one thousand. This is another village that has attractions inside and out. Inside you’ll find a quiet city with historic architecture and quaint cafes. On the outside, you can hike or bike the beautiful countryside. Given its location, Corbara generally has excellent weather year round, so feel free to visit just about any time.
Located next to the Gulf Of Porto, the town of Piana is home to scenic landscapes and wonderful nature activities. Your days can be filled with scenic drives, hiking, biking, or beach trips. Inside the town, you will find a multitude of shops, bars, and restaurants to keep you well fed and entertained. Travelers especially love this town for boat tours and water sports out on the gulf.
On your next trip to France, try to switch things up and take a break from the mainstream. You’ll definitely want to see landmark attractions in the big cities but don’t forget to come out to the country too. Trust us: You won’t regret it.