France is a country known for its great beauty and splendor. Some of the major cities like Paris have become quite a place for tourist to explore all they have to offer. But outside all the hustle and bustle of the big cities there are many quaint little villages that offer visitors a quite time as they see unique culture of France in the less populated areas.
Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert in Hérault
This isolated little village located in a valley along the Saint James’ way pilgrim route. This village dates back to medieval times. This beautiful little village with a population of around 250 has an abbey that was built by Guilhem to be used as a monastery. The only remaining part of the original structure is the abbey church that has become a UNESCO World Heritage site. Access to the village is kind of difficult but totally worth it. On the way into the village you can cross the medieval Pont du Diable Bridge which is also a World Heritage site. Spend an enjoyable time strolling thru the streets and looking at all the beautiful architecture in this lovely village. If you want you can even take a guided tour of the village.
Tournemire in Cantal
Nesteled in the Cantal Mountains you will find the pretty village of Tournemire. This village with less than 200 inhabitants consists of a handful of beautiful cottages surrounding the Anjony Castle. Access to this village is on foot only except to local residents. As you walk along thru the quite little village you will enjoy a breath of fresh mountain air as you admire the beautiful Cantal architecture. The castle which has belonged to its builder Louis d’Anjony’s family since it was built is open for public viewing. Grab a bite to eat at the Auberge de Tournemire restaurant which serves tasty meals at reasonable prices and has a great view of the castle. For info on getting around the village visit the tourist office.
Villefranche-de-Conflent in Pyrénées-Orientales
Villefranche is a historic village that was in times past the capital of the Conflent region. Although most of the village has been restored to their original beauty the village is still surrounded by the fortification that was built for it in the 17 century and is listed as a World Heritage site. After you have finished exploring the fortification and have made a visit to the fort, be sure and stop in some of the shops where you can buy a souvenir to take home with you after your journey.
Locronan in Finistère
The village of Locronan is unique in that it has not given in to all the modernization of the 21st century. This is one of the larger villages of France with around 800 French Locronanais living there. The village, which was actually started by a hermit, is as authentic as they come. With its church, chapels, and museum you are sure to enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful village. If you get there at the right time of year you can also participate in one of the events hosted there.
Séguret in Vaucluse
Séguret is last on our list of villages but still just as pretty. As you tour this small village you will enjoy the landscape and medieval sights along the way. When you get hungry, stop off for a meal at the nearby Domaine de Cabasse or La Bastide Bleue restaurants for a chance to try some delicious dishes. This charming French village has its own wine and is known for being a manufacturer of santons (little figures made of clay).
While you go around and explore all the beautiful villages of France you will surely need a place to stay. Quality Villas is a great option to serve as your home away from home while you visit some of the prettiest villages in France. Their luxury holiday villas can be found in many regions of France allowing you to easily access each village. For more information about these villas please visit their website.
Photo by eepaul on Flickr