The Most Beautiful Villages Of France: Visiting All The Villages Before I Die

Gordes-Most Beautiful Villages of France
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I feel like I just failed a test. A failure.

In 1982, the French government created “The List”: the list of the Most Beautiful Villages of France (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France)  to promote the small and picturesque French villages of quality heritage. There are 155 (as of 2015) and I went through the list.

I’ve only done 17.


Les Plus Beaux Villages The Most Beautiful Villages of France
Les Plus Beaux Villages

To be designated one of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”, communes must submit an application form and meet certain criteria. Initially I thought many more villages that I had visited would be on the list. I mean, I’ve been to so many beautiful towns in France during my 26 trips, surely I’ve seen half?

Yet most didn’t make the list. Based on their criteria I can now see why many don’t make it onto the list. Criteria: there must be some rural character with no more than 2,000 inhabitants and have two national heritage sites. There must be an on-site evaluation and the application must have mass support by town council. Here are the measly 17 that I have done:


Yvoire, Most Beautiful Villages of France
Yvoire, France
  • Perouges
  • Yvoire

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur:

The Most Beautiful Villages of France (Les Plus Beaux Villages)
Roussillon in Provence, France
  • Les Baux-de-Provence
  • Gordes
  • Lourmarin
  • Menerbes
  • Roussillon


Riquewihr-The Most Beautiful Villages of France (Les Plus Beaux Villages)
Riquewihr in the Alsace, France
  • Mittelbergheim
  • Eguisheim
  • Riquewihr


La Roque Gageac--one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France
La Roque Gageac, France
Beynac-et-Cazenac, France
  • La Roque-Gageac
  • Beynac-et-Cazenac,
  • Castelnaud-la-Chapelle


Saint-Cirq-Lapopie--one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, France
Autoire-Most Beautiful Villages of France
Autoire, France
  • Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
  • Autoire


  • Puy-de-Dome  Correction: this is the area that has two towns that are designated Les Plus Beaux Villages


  • Chateauneuf-en-Auxois

So, yes, I NEED to go back and conquer the remaining 138 towns. I have a lot of work to do.

Which of the 155 have you been to?


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  1. Hi Jan,
    No failure here! To have visited 17 of these dreamy little places in France is quite an accomplishment. It’s a good quest to have, too, I think — to return and visit more.
    Starting November 15th, Conrad and I are house sitting for a month in the village of Lurcey-Levis. (I looked it up and unfortunately it’s not on the list of 155.) But nevertheless, we will have the great opportunity to venture out over the course of the month and poke around in many tiny, dreamy villages.
    I’ll keep the link to the list of 155!

  2. Oh gosh – these villages of France are beautiful! It’s interesting: as a Brit, I really haven’t spent much time exploring France, preferring to go further afield. I will have to remedy that as soon as possible.

  3. I read through the list and only one of these little villages sounded familiar to me. How do you remember the names of all these little places? It would be great fun, though, to make that a goal of a nice long driving trip around France: to visit all of them!

  4. I think you’re off to a great start Jan! I feel like I’ve been all over France and yet I couldn’t find any that sounded familiar to me. Guess I need to get the map out and start planning another trip!

  5. Now I feel like a total failure! I’ve never been to any of the designated villages. but I was in the countryside around Gordes, if that counts. 🙂 I must correct this situation and I better get started soon! Lovely round up you’ve given us here.

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