The most beautiful villages in France

February 14, 2014 by
Filed under: France 

We visit 10 of the most beautiful villages in France!

The French are justifiably proud of their beautiful villages and have created an award system to recognise them. This is called “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France“or The most beautiful villages in France. At the last count there were 152 listed throughout France. Here is a link to the complete list:

The Lot and Dordogne have their fair share of these beautiful villages and in fact Lot Cycling Holidays visit 10 of them within our bike tours.

On our Lot & Dordogne Discovery – History Mystery & Chateaux Bike Tour we visit no less than four on our first day of riding!
First to be seen is Castelnaud-la-Chapelle overhanging the confluence of the Dordogne and Céou rivers. In the 100 years war between the English and the French most of the time this was on the English side opposite another most beautiful village of France Beynac-et-Cazenac.
This village is on the banks of the Dordogne and was once besieged by Richard the Lion Heart.

Beynac most beautiful villages in France



















Further south along the river Dordogne you come to La Roque-Gageac there are ruins of the stone slab or brown-tiled roofs houses built into the south-facing cliff. During the summer traditional flat bottomed boats called gabares take tourists up and down the river. These were originally intended to transport goods in the 19th century.

La Roque-Gageac beautiful villages in France

La Roque-Gageac










Overlooking all the previous villages is Domme, perched on a high cliff with fantastic views across the Dordogne valley. This at one point was a knights templar stronghold and in the centre square you can visit the grottes where rumour has it they stored valuables.


Our Lot Valley, Vistas and Villages Cycling Holiday has just one Plus Beaux Villages de France in its itinary but, it was voted The Most Beautiful Village in France by the French in 2012!
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is perched on a cliff overlooking a meander of the Lot and is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. It also has a fortified church and all the houses are “protected” so they look as though nothing has changed since the 12th century.

This village is also on the Grande Randonneé (national footpath) to join the St James Way pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

St Cirque Lapopie beautiful villages in France

St Cirque Lapopie














Other villages on our bike routes are:

Belvès is a medieval town on a rocky spur above the Nauze Valley west of  Castelnaud-la-Chapelle  There are 7 bell towers and has trogadite “Habitations Troglodytiques” medieval cave dwellings from the 12th century.

Monpazier a bastide town is known as a “Grand site national”, it has 32 listed buildings and was founded by Edward I of England in 1284

Autoire is a picturesque village on a limestone plateau and gets its name from the river Autoire where just outside the village are fantastic waterfalls.

Carennac in the north of the Lot on the banks of the Dordogne, renaissance houses with sculpted windows and brown roofs surround an 11C Cluniac priory.

Loubressac offers a fabulous panoramic view of the Dordogne valley and the surrounding castles, medieval houses built of ochre stone and capped with pointed roofs.








Author: John Despard


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