15 Beautiful French Medieval Villages
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1. Belcastel, Midi-Pyrénées, southern France
Medieval in character village with cobbled streets and stone tiled houses still has a population of just about 200 hundred people. In 1974 a castle – Château de Belcastel has been discovered there in ruins. The oldest part of it was constructed in the 9th century, but the whole place had been abandoned since 17th century. The restoration took eight years what could be considered fast, due to the castle’s enormous size and dangerous location on the steep bank of the Aveyron river, and the fact that no machines were used.
2. Queyras national park, Aiguilles, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, southeastern France
3. Beynac-et-Cazenac, Aquitaine, southwestern France
The castle on the picture – Château de Beynac was built in the 12th century by the barons of Beynac. Today it’s one of the best-preserved and best known castles in the region.
4. Èze, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, southeastern France
5. Eguisheim, Alsace, north-eastern France
Eguisheim is famous for it’s high quality wine. It’s cultivation had been developed by Romans after conquering the village. In 2013 Eguisheim became the «Village préféré des Français» (Favorite French Village), it’s been placed first in the rating of 22 previously selected villages, each village represents one region of metropolitan France.
6. Saint-Suliac, Brittany, northwestern France
For a long time Saint-Suliac was a simple fishermen village.
7. Gordes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, southeastern France
8. Lavaudieu, Haute-Loire, south-central France
Famous for Lavaudieu Abbey built in the 11th century, the only one in Auvergne to have escaped destruction.
9. Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval, Rhône-Alpes, southeastern France
The area of the town ranges in altitude from 728 to 3,098 m (2,388 to 10,164 ft) and three-quarters of it is a completely uninhabited natural reserve. The name Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval comes from the shape of the natural amphitheatre which, from above, looks like a horseshoe (“Fer à Cheval” in French means horseshoe).
10. Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Languedoc-Roussillon, southern France
Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is essentially a medieval village located on the St James’ Way – one of the pilgrim’s routes to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
11. Baume-les-Messieurs, Franche-Comté, eastern France
The village lies in a valley almost surrounded by limestone cliffs about 200m high.
12. Coulon, Poitou-Charentes, western France
Coulon is popular among tourist for Marais Poitevin (Poitevin Marsh) – a maze of islets criss-crossed by picturesque canals nicknamed “The Green Venice”.
13. Château-Chalon, Franche-Comté, eastern France.
The village is located on a cliff and offers a spectacular view. The west side of it is a sheer cliff with a road with numerous hairpin curves and the east side slopes gently away in vineyards famous for their white wine, Château-Chalon AOC.
14. Castelnou, Languedoc-Roussillon, southern France
A picturesque village built on the hillside dominated by the castle, which is mentioned for the first time in 990.
served as the administrative and military capital of the Viscount of Vallespir from 990.
15. Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, Lower Normandy, north-western France
The place is named for Serenicus, an Italian hermit who lived here during the 8th century. The part of the name name “le-Gérei” comes from William Giroie, who built a castle here in 1044, only parts of the walls of this castle remain today.
Top photo by Roman Prykhodchenko