Which French village is your favourite?
- Credit: Archant
Cassel in Nord is the latest village to win the title of ‘France’s favourite village 2018’. Explore all of this year’s 14 finalists and vote in our poll to let us know which one is your favourite
French television programme Le Village Préféré des Français has been running on France 2 since 2012 and has become cult viewing. Viewers were asked to vote for their favourite village live during the show on Tuesday 19 June, from a shortlist of 14 – one from each region of France and an overseas territory – and Cassel in Nord was crowned as this year’s winner. Explore all of this year’s finalists here and tell us which one you would have voted for.
Floating off the north-western coast of Normandy and Brittany, at the mouth of the Couesnon River, is the stunning rocky island commune of Le Mont-Saint-Michel. Rows of houses stack on top of each other along the roads that wind around the hill. At the top of the island, the breathtaking Mont-Saint-Michel abbey reaches to the sky. A statue of the archangel Saint Michel crowns the 32-m high steeple. About 2.5 million people visit Le Mont-Saint-Michel each year.
Monpazier is a fantastically maintained example of a medieval town. It was founded in 1284 by Edward I of England. Its roads are built wide to allow carts and carriages to travel though to the bustling central market square where markets are still held weekly. The square is surrounded by beautiful stone houses and the parish church, Saint-Dominique, stands on the corner.
Mittelbergheim, Bas-Rhin, Grand-Est
At the foot of the hill Crax in north-eastern France, is the picturesque village of Mittelbergheim. It is a quiet place with only 650 inhabitants but is renown as a centre of gastronomy. Medieval houses line the narrow streets of the village, which is surrounding by beautiful Zotzenberg Grand Cru vineyards. It is the only place in Alsace allowed to produce Sylvaner wine from its grapes.
Mirmande, Drôme, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Perched on a hill in the Drôme countryside, Mirmande is a picturesque medieval village surrounded by ramparts. One of the plus beaux villages de France, Mirmande is a maze of narrow streets with traditional houses decorated with flowers. With its far-reaching views of the surrounding countryside, Mirmande attracted artists including André Lhote who lived in the village in the early 20th century.
Semur-en-Brionnais, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy-Franche-Comté
Semur-en-Brionnais is home to the oldest castle in Burgundy, the Château Saint Hugues, dating from the 9th century. The village is built around an open square and filled with traditional Burgundy houses. The village is also home to the church of Saint Hilaire, a Romanesque church with an octagonal bell tower and an elaborate stone arch structure.
Roussillon, Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
The dusty red and pink buildings of Roussillon stand out amid the lush green countryside of Provence-Alpes-Côtes-d’Azur. The hilltop village sits at one end of clay cliffs that stretch over to Hameau de Ocres. The village is famous for its ochre quarries. Roussillon’s central square is decorated with flowers and lined with restaurants, and pops of colour can be seen on blue and green shutters along the houses.
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Yèvre-le-Châtel, Loiret, Centre-Val de Loire
Located between Paris and Orléans, Yèvre-le-Châtel is the only plus beau village in the department of Loiret. The village is dominated by the remains of a medieval castle and ramparts which is open to the public in the summer and there is also the unfinished church of Saint Lubin. The village has pretty limestone houses and the streets are covered with flowers.
Five miles off Pointe du Raz on the Finistère coast is the Île-de-Sein, an island known for being completely flat just six metres above sea level and surrounded by dangerous reefs which caused many shipwrecks in the past. Île-de-Sein is the only village on the island and is full of brightly coloured houses and a handful of restaurants and hotels. There is one museum which traces the island’s history and daily life through the centuries and the Free French Monument which thanks the island’s male inhabitants who followed him in to exile in England during the Second World War.
Lama, Haute-Corse, Corsica
Built on a rocky spur between Calvi and Saint-Florent, the village of Lama boasts breathtaking views of the Ostriconi valley and mountains. The village has a mixture of small medieval houses and spacious 18th-century mansions built in an Italian style. Every August Lama hosts a film festival during which the village is transformed into an open-air cinema.
Asnières-sur-Vègre, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire
Asnières-sur-Vègre is a picturesque village on the banks of the Vègre river in Sarthe. It’s officially named a ‘petite cité de caractère’ and unofficially called the most beautiful village in Sarthe. There are a number of historic buildings in Asnières-sur-Vègre including a 13th-century courthouse, houses from the 15-17th centuries and the church of Saint Hilaire which boasts some remarkable medieval frescos depicting scenes from the Old Testament.
Cassel, Nord, Hauts-de-France
Built on top of Mont Cassel, the village of Cassel in Nord has spectacular views of the surrounding area. Cassel is home to the Musée de Flandre, a museum of local art, history and folklore and the Moulin de Cassel windmill. Explore the village’s narrow winding streets and Grand’Place and then head to the Jardin des Mont du Récollets, a Jardin Remarkable that features several themed gardens and boasts extensive views.
Janvry, Essonne, Île-de-France
The small village of Janvry is located 28km south-west of Paris on the edge of the Parc Naturel Régional de la Haute Vallée de Chevreuse. The village is known for its events including an urban beach during the summer with sand, palm trees and a bar, and a man made ski resort in winter. More than 65,000 people visit Janvry in December for its Christmas market which has stalls from 100 exhibitors.
La Couvertoirade, Aveyron, Occitanie
The fortified village of La Couvertoirade in Aveyron is named one of the plus beaux villages de France. The village was developed during the middle ages and has kept much of its original charm, encircled by ramparts and with a castle built by the Knights Templar. A walk around the ramparts offers great views of the village and surrounding Parc Naturel Régional des Grands Causses. Many of the picturesque houses date from the 15-17th centuries including the Maison de la Scipione which houses an exhibition about the history of the village.
Hell-Bourg, La Réunion, Outre-Mer
This year France’s overseas territories have an entry in the Village Prefere competition and it’s the village of Hell-Bourg on the island of La Réunion. The village is in a spectacular location nestled in the heart of the famous Cirque de Salazie and surrounded by lush mountains. It’s a former spa resort and many beautiful Belle Époque houses and the relics of the thermal baths remain from this period. There are also a number of colourful Creole houses including the Folio house and its tropical garden.
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