10 Villages in The South of France: Quaint, Scenic, Romantic
The South of France is without a doubt one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Whether looking for a picturesque place, a breathtaking destination, or a romantic spot, southern France won’t leave you empty-handed.
If you are visiting southern France, I recommend including at least one of its small towns or villages in your itinerary. The villages in the South of France are gems! Some are straight out of a fairy tale, others are pure shutter-button pressers, and a few are filled with history and new things you can discover.
In this article, I share my 10 most beautiful villages in the South of France, which won’t fail to spark your wanderlust! If you wish to visit quaint, scenic, and romantic villages, this list is definitely the one you’re looking for.
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Use the table of contents to skip to topics.
For each village in the south of France included in this post, you’ll learn:
- Their location
- Reasons why they are beautiful
- The best attractions/things to do
I can assure you that these villages in the south of France are worthwhile based on my research (my other posts) about them. I linked them as a reference.
Before we discuss each village in southern France, I want to first share my favorite cities in France. Click the name of the city/town to open in a new tab and read later:
- Paris — Here I share my 10 unmissable attractions you must see when you visit the French capital.
- Reims — This is the city where the kings of France held their coronation. Look at the spectacular church where they celebrated the king’s ascension to the throne.
- Strasbourg — It is one of the capital cities of Europe where you can find landmarks built from the middle ages to recent times.
- Colmar — is a beautiful town in northeastern France. Come here to satisfy your desire for escapism! I love the colorful half-timbered houses here.
- Lyon — is the third largest city in France, full of things to discover: traboules, gigantic murals, stunning church architecture, modern buildings, and more.
- Avignon — The center of Christianity in the 14th century. Here you can find the largest gothic palace in Europe.
So without further ado, the 10 most beautiful villages in southern France (in alphabetical order) are:
Village #1: Aigues-Mortes
Let’s kick off the list of the beautiful villages in the south of France with Aigues-Mortes—a fortified medieval city within the wildlife-rich Camargue in Gard department, Occitanie region.
For me, Aigues-Mortes is a beautiful village in southern France for its medieval flair and the fascinating things surrounding it. Like, its medieval ramparts, extraordinary landscape, and rich wildlife.
Did you know?
The ramparts of Aigues-Mortes date back to the 13th and 14th centuries when it was officially established. And believe it or not, it was not only founded by a king but also a saint—Louis IX.
Louis IX founded Aigues-Mortes because he wanted a port city where he and his crusaders could assemble before they left for the Holy Land. That said, Aigues-Mortes is probably one of the most historic and beautiful villages in the south of France.
As you marvel at Aigues-Mortes’ fortifications, you can imagine thousands of knights and swordsmen marching through its imposing medieval gates. Inside the ramparts, you can find a church where it is said that King Louis IX and his army were blessed by a bishop before they left France.
Like me, if you’re an enthusiast of architecture and history, you’ll find Aigues-Mortes very interesting.
However, situated in Camargue (a river delta between the two Rhone rivers), Aigues-Mortes is a destination to give you experiences more than medieval architecture and history. If you’re a nature, animal, and beach lover, I’m sure you’d like to visit Aigues-Mortes.
When you can climb and then stroll at the ramparts of Aigues-Mortes, you’ll see a preview of everything I’m saying. Up in the ramparts, you can even spot a pink sea (they call it Salins) which is so cool!
What’s more fascinating?
When you come closer to the pink sea, you may spot wild animals hardly seen elsewhere. They are flamingoes, and with their long neck and legs, I’m sure you’ll have fun observing them.
Aside from the flamingos, you may also find white horses and black bulls around Aigues-Mortes. They’ve been raised by the locals for centuries… and a part of the region’s identity since the middle ages.
Near the beaches, you can find the manades (the places where the white horses and black bulls are being raised). Visit them to learn the culture associated with these animals. You can also try horseback riding if you want!
There are more beautiful experiences in Aigues-Mortes and its surrounding area. Apparently, they are why I find a trip to Aigues-Morten one of the best you can have.
I can go on for another 1000 words describing these beautiful experiences. But this post would be a novel if I wrote everything.
If you find Aigues-Mortes exciting and want to learn more, I suggest you read my post, “Is Aigues-Mortes Worth Visiting.” In this post, I thoroughly discussed the most beautiful experiences (the reasons why you should visit) in Aigues-Mortes.
Village #2: Carcassonne
Another remarkable walled medieval city awaits you in southern France. Its name is Carcassonne. And undoubtedly, it has one of the most beautiful villages in the south of France that will not fail to transport you back to the middle ages!
You can find Carcassonne (commune) a few kilometers north of the Pyrenees in the Aude department within the region of Occitanie. Its beautiful preserved medieval village (Cite de Carcassonne) lies on a small hill, overlooking the plains of its greater domain.
For me, being able to step on Carcassonne’s soil is a privilege. Not only is it a beautiful village. Carcassonne is considered by contemporary historians an impregnable fortress after the fortifications were completed.
Carcassonne was once the strong frontier of the French against the kingdoms in modern-day Spain back in the past. Even the English who tried to conquer it did not find any success.
When you visit Carcassonne, you can tell yourself that you’ve been to one of France’s most important cities in its history.
So, by the way, what makes Carcassonne beautiful?
Well, the sheer old-world appearance of its 3-kilometer 2-layer walls and towers alone can drop your jaws to the ground. Whether you’re marveling at it from the inside or outside, they will make your medieval-life fantasies come to life.
The medieval village of Carcassonne can surprise you. Strolling inside Cite de Carcassonne, you can stumble upon a beautiful church, a castle, and a modern open-air theater—believe it or not!
Don’t miss exploring Comtal Castle within Cite de Carcassonne. It has exhibits that can uncover interesting parts of Carcassonne’s history. This castle also has the best views of Carcassonne, so make it a priority! 🙂
Actually, I named Carcassonne a city of doubles.
Because aside from its double-layer walls, it has 2 parts and 2 UNESCO sites.
Carcassonne’s two parts are Cite de Carcassonne (the medieval district) and Bastide Saint-Louis (the younger section of the town). Cite de Carcassonne is also the town’s first UNESCO site. Another UNESCO site is Canal du Midi, located north of Bastide Saint-Louis.
And if you find yourself tired after a couple of hours exploring Cite de Carcassonne, go to Canal du Midi. There, you can join boat tours/rent your own boat and then relax with nature as you sail in the waterway.
Did you know why Canal du Midi is a UNESCO site?
It’s because Canal du Midi is a marvel of engineering that sparked the industrial revolution in the region. At the same time, it manifests artistic engineering skills used to make the waterway blend with nature.
Believe it or not, Canal du Midi connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic ocean!
When you sail, you will encounter the mechanisms (i.elocks) that made it possible for small ships to enter in-land, pass, and emerge on different shores of Europe.
With all these I mentioned, I really think that Carcassonne is worth visiting.
However, we are barely scratching the surface of what you can experience in Carcassonne. I suggest you read my article “Reasons Why Carcassonne Is Worth Visiting” to discover all the beautiful things you can have in Carcassonne.
Village #3: Chamonix
Of all the beautiful villages in southern France included in this post, Chamonix is the most unique you can find. And without a doubt, it is also the most scenic place you can ever find in France.
Chamonix is located in a valley on the foot of Mont Blanc—the highest peak in the entire alps.
Situated on the easternmost portion of the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Chamonix is the only town in France that borders both Italy and Switzerland.
I can say Chamonix is a unique village in southern France. Why? Because Chamonix is the only one without castles, fortifications, and narrow cobblestone lanes…
Instead, Chamonix has chalets, mountains, lakes, glaciers—alpine beauty that’s simply the definition of what heaven on earth is!
The flower-decked chalets, surrounded by lush pine trees, with the snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, are one of the loveliest scenes in Chamonix.
If you visit Chamonix and have plenty of time, spend a few moments in the nearby hamlets. There you’ll find the most beautiful flower-decked chalets I’m talking about.
You can expect to see utterly relaxing views in those places. That, and the fresh air from the mountains, the sound of the chirping birds and ringing cowbells will soothe you to the bones.
A trip to Chamonix isn’t just about chalets and relaxing in the alpine countryside of France, though. Chamonix is actually a bucket list destination for some of its attractions—Mont Blanc being the most obvious.
Here, you can also find the second largest glacier in the alps (Mer de Glace), and you can come inside it—believe it or not!
There are a few more glaciers visible from Chamonix. Behold them while you’re in Aiguille du Midi cable car—one of the highest in the alps and the one with the largest elevation gain.
The top station of Aiguille du Midi lies on a 3,842-meter high peak where the most spectacular views of the French Alps, including Mont Blanc, are observed.
A small glass box room (terrace) awaits you in Aiguille du Midi. It is called Aiguille du Midi Skywalk, and entering it is like stepping into the void. Inside, you can see your feet and the ground approximately 1000-meters apart.
It’s one of the most exciting parts and definitely a fear-crusher moment!
But, did you know, everything that I just mentioned about Chamonix now is just half of the fun you can have in it?
If you are familiar with the geography of Chamonix, these attractions I just discussed lie on the Mont Blanc massif. More activities and wonders are in Aiguilles Rouges Mountain Range—the other side of the Chamonix valley opposite Mont Blanc Massif.
I think the best hikes in Chamonix are in Aiguilles Rouges Mountain Range. Because of Aiguilles Rouges Mountain Range’s location parallel to Mont Blanc Massif, hikers can get an unparalleled unobstructed breathtaking view of Mont Blanc.
“Gems” are found along the hiking trails in Aiguilles Rouges Mountain Range.
One best example of these “gems” is the alpine lakes that appear so enchanting. The most famous is Lac Blanc, where you can see an inverted image of Mont Blanc’s massif reflected on its surface (weather permitting). If you are lucky, you can also encounter alpine animals during your hike.
I love the mountains, and there is so much more about Chamonix I want to share with you. If you want to discover how wholesome a trip to Chamonix is, I recommend you read my post about Chamonix: “10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Chamonix”
Village #4: Domme
One of the reasons why southern France is a fascinating region is its charming and heritage-rich villages built within a scenic location. Domme, the “Acropolis of Perigord,” is an excellent example.
You can find Domme in the Dordogne department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, southwestern France. On top of one of the cliffs along the meandering Dordogne River, you will see Domme, dominating the Dordogne valley.
The history of Domme started in the 13th century when Philip the Bold wanted a bastide to guard his territory in Dordogne.
A bastide, in a nutshell, is a medieval village created mainly for defensive purposes. Usually, they have walls, gates, towers, and bastions where guards were stationed and patrolled. Bastides also have houses arranged in grids, with streets intersecting at 90 degrees.
By visiting Domme, you’ll see how it’s an excellent example of a bastide.
It’s not only a bastide, though. But a beautiful bastide! And thus, a beautiful village in southern France.
Well, Domme’s preserved and quaint honey-colored houses will give proof. I bet you’ll like to have a stroll in its streets flanked by centuries-old buildings and vine-covered facades. Also, it has old-fashioned restaurants that bring more vibes!
What makes Domme more exciting? It is its hidden gems you can discover as you stroll in the village. One of them is literally hidden! But it’s absolutely effortless to find.
The first gem is underneath Domme. It is a cave whose entrance is right in the middle of the village’s square. Undoubtedly, the cave is Domme’s unique feature that gives the Domme a distinction.
When you visit Domme, make sure to enter Domme’s cave.
Why? Domme’s cave is full of below-the-surface wonders like rock formations and crystals. And a tour inside the cave of Domme ends with a scenic view of the Dordogne Valley. It’s pretty much like hitting two birds with one stone!
From the vantage points in Domme, you might see the Dordogne river with people on their kayaks/canoes.
While in the viewpoint, you might also think sailing on the river is a good idea. If that comes to your mind, you’re right!
Not only is it nice to spend time with nature. But actually, there are more attractions near Domme you can find when you sail in the Dordogne River. Sailing the Dordogne River, you will encounter breathtaking cliffs, castles, and other picturesque villages.
It’s a magical river that’s gonna surprise you and fill you with awe!
But before you leave Domme for sailing in the Dordogne River, you may want to stop and enter Domme’s gate, La Porte des Tours. It has mysterious graffiti created by Templar knights when they were imprisoned in it.
These graffiti are another hidden gem in Domme, which are still undefined and haven’t given exact meaning until now! Come to observe and speculate what they really mean.
Most of the fun in Dordogne only starts with Domme (if it’s the first place you visit). Aside from castles and more lovely villages, a garden (Jardin de Marqueyssac) straight out of a fairy tale also awaits you in Dordogne.
Honestly, at first, I thought Domme was not worth visiting if a traveler would be coming from places far from Dordogne. And suppose you’re he/she is a practical traveler like me.
But I was wrong!
The things to do in Domme and its surroundings are great. And because of them, it might even be better to stay in Domme or Dordogne for more than a day (or two).
Do you want to learn more about Domme and its surrounding attractions in Dordogne? Read my article “Ten Things To Do In Domme.”
Village #5: Èze
If a quaint romantic village in the south of France is what you’re looking for, it is here in Eze that your search ends. The dreamy vibe from Eze’s charming streets and scenic views is why a date/honeymoon in Eze is something you won’t forget!
So, where is Eze exactly?
On a map, zoom in to the coast of France in the Mediterranean. Look within the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and then in the Alpes-Maritimes department. You should find Eze perched on a hilltop between the city of Nice and Monaco.
Built on top of a hill overlooking the coast of the French Riviera, Eze is undoubtedly one of the best places to have a romantic sunset in the South of France.
Imagine yourself and your partner in a restaurant in Eze with a view of the French Riviera’s coast.
There, you are drinking wine… conversing about life. As the sun slips down the horizon, the quaint surroundings turn golden. You look at each other and smile—isn’t that a moment you can wish to last forever?
Indeed, Eze can be a place for creating beautiful, unforgettable moments. But it isn’t only for couples.
I bet you’ll love visiting Eze, whether you’re a couple or single going for a trip here. Eze is a preserved medieval village, and wandering in its quaint narrow lanes & scenic gardens is like a journey back in time.
Prepare to leave reality for a while. You’ll enter a place straight out of a movie, set in the middle ages!
The ivy-covered houses, flower-decked balconies, buildings & arches made in stonemasonry style will make you feel like it’s not the 21st century.
Suppose it is a sunny day and you love taking photos. In that case, I’m positive that your camera will have more than a hundred new pictures after you emerge from the medieval village.
The medieval village of Eze has a cute size, to be frank. You may already see most of it in an hour or two. However, it does not mean that sightseeing and a stroll in the medieval village is the only thing you can do in Eze.
If you want, you can discover how perfumes and soaps are made.
Do you love the great outdoors? There are several ways you can spend time outside. There are hiking trails, mountains, beaches, and a scenic old fort you can go to for some wholesome well-being refreshments!
The closest attraction you can go to after visiting Eze’s medieval village is Parfumerie Fragonard L’Usine Laboratoire. You can find it near the parking lot of the medieval village; thus, it is literally effortless to go there.
In Parfumerie Fragonard L’Usine Laboratoire, you can discover the techniques in the perfume industry used by the Arabs for more than one thousand years already.
Learn more about Eze and the attractions/things to do in the village from my post “Things To Do In Eze.” You will also see the scenery within the village and of the French Riviera here.
Village #6: Gordes
As you may have noticed from the previous discussions, some villages in southern France, like Eze and Domme, are not only quaint. But also, they are scenic. Another example is Gordes.
This caramel-colored medieval village in southern France is one of the most picturesque you can ever find. Whether inside Gordes or at its vantage point, taking photos is irresistible!
Gordes sits on a hill overlooking Luberon Valley in the south of France. It is one of the attractions in the Luberon Regional Nature Park in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur région.
In general, I see Gordes as a good destination for two reasons:
- Gordes has a scenic and charming village, perfect for escapism (like other places mentioned in this post)
- Gordes also has Instagrammable and fascinating attractions close to its medieval village
Once you step into Gordes’ medieval center, you’ll be lost in time, wandering in its narrow lanes flanked by centuries-old buildings. Expect to encounter old-world fountains, artsy metal lanterns, magical-appearing houses, and more.
With all these fascinating objects, you might be looking up and sideways all the time as you stroll in Gordes’ medieval village.
I must say, don’t forget to look down! Because even the floor in some parts of Gordes is pretty—they have “calades.”
In a nutshell, calades are the South of France’s unique version of cobblestone.
Where are the calades in Gordes? I think the most beautiful calades in Gordes are in the southern part of the village.
You can find it along Rue de Belvedere, a few steps from Eglise Saint-Firmin. Rue de Belvedere is also the vantage point for viewing Luberon Valley.
Indeed, the view of Luberon you’ll see from Gordes is scenic. But the scenery of Gordes from its vantage point along the road to the village looks better! There you can see Gordes with its houses appearing like they were carved out from the hill.
It’s magical, especially during sunset!
However, the viewpoint of Gordes is only the first of the several places you can go after exploring the medieval village.
There’s the Village des Bories and Sénanque Abbey. These two are probably the most fascinating and picturesque attractions surrounding Gordes.
Do you want to see mind-blowing houses made of stacked stones?
You must go to Village des Bories—a really bizarre settlement. Literally, it’s an outdoor museum featuring ancient stone huts!
Honestly, the ingenuity and craft of the first settlers of Village des Bories impress me. The houses with concave ceilings made of rocks will make you wonder and think about how they were constructed.
So, how about Senanque Abbey?
Well, it’s perhaps the most Instagrammed abbey in the world!
Senanque abbey is actually an icon of Provence on the internet. Like, if you search “Provence, France” in Google Images, the photo of the Senanque abbey is one of the first you’ll see. It became famous and a “camera magnet” because of the lavender farm that grows beside it.
However, Senanque abbey isn’t all about the lavender fields. It’s a tranquil place, and the vibe is holy. Also, I think you’ll love the architecture of the cloister—a must-see for enthusiasts.
Do you want to get a preview of Gordes, Village des Bories, and Senanque Abbey? Here’s my article “8 Unmissable Things To Do In Gordes,” where you can see them and discover if Gordes is worth visiting or not.
Village #7: Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
One perk of a trip to the South of France is that you do not have to travel far from one point to another to see more stunning attractions. The beautiful destinations in this region are neighbors! Like, some are just minutes away from each other by car.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a beautiful village in the South of France, which we will discuss now, and its nearby attractions are the proof.
So, where are these tourist destinations, and where can you find Moustiers-Sainte-Marie?
You can pinpoint Moustiers-Sainte-Marie on a map by zooming in on southern France, then on the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur région, and finally on the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department.
There, you will find Moustiers-Sainte-Marie sitting at the foot of towering limestone mountains, near the three natural attractions:
- Valensole lavender fields — are picturesque otherworldly scenery, where the rolling fields are like covered with puffy purple carpet.
- Lake Sainte-Croix — is France’s third largest artificial lake, fed by the mineral-rich waters from the Verdon Gorge. Its waters are glittering turquoise. Unreal!
- Verdon Gorge — it is the Grand Canyon of France. The rock formation, deep gorges, and landscape appearance are stunning.
These and the beauty of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie are why I think this part of France is a bucket list and definitely worth visiting!
The charm of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie differs from other villages, at least in its appearance when you look at it from a distance. The view of the quaint village with the limestone mountains in the backdrop is absolutely stunning.
This is the case, most especially during the sunset!
The village and the limestone mountains face west. So, at sunset, the setting sun directly shines towards Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and the mountains in the backdrop. The view is literally gold, and it is something you wouldn’t miss seeing when you visit southern France.
Strolling in the village, you can see old-fashioned fountains, pastel-colored houses, and Instagrammable squares. As you peek inside the shops, you may discover the village’s centuries-old industry—faience making.
From the streets of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, you may notice something shining above the village. It is the village star, the symbol Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is known for. (There’s a legend behind it, though)
The star hangs above the village and is attached to the mountains beside Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
It’s another thing that makes Moustiers-Sainte-Marie unique!
If you want, you can go closer to the star. There’s a pilgrimage church (Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir) in the mountains near the star you can visit by foot from the village.
Come to Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir because it’s also scenic!
Near Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir, breathtaking views of Verdon Regional Nature Park await you. The scenery you’ll see includes Lake Sainte-Croix, the vast lush forests, and the fields of the nature park.
Although it’s already nice to see Lake Sainte-Croix from the viewpoint near the church, I suggest you not only behold the lake from there.
Come and visit Lake Sainte-Croix because it is packed with fun water sports, awe-inspiring sceneries, and picturesque spots. And if you want, you can proceed to Verdon Gorge by sailing a kayak/canoe/boat. You’ll never regret the experience!
I have an article where you can discover all the beautiful scenery and experiences you can have on Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and surrounding attractions. You’ll also learn about the legend of the star of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie from that post.
Here’s the link to the article: 10 Reasons To Visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Go, check it out! 🙂
Village #8: Rocamadour
Did you know that Southern France has one beautiful village, which has already been visited by millions even before the tourism industry’s boom? Today, it is the second most visited beautiful village in France, next to Mont-Saint-Michel.
The name of the village is Rocamadour.
And it is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world of Christendom during the middle ages. Today it is considered and belongs to a UNESCO site called “Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.”
You can find Rocamadour in southwestern France in the Occitanie region, within the Lot department. It is a village attached to one of the cliff walls of the Alzou Valley.
So, what makes Rocamadour a beautiful village in southern France?
Well, without a doubt, it is because of Rocamadour’s medieval village’s old-world appearance!
With the stone masonry houses and their Lauze-style roofs, cobblestone lanes, time-transporting gates, cliff-top castle, and fort-like sanctuaries? We can easily say that Rocamadour is a wondrous spectacle.
I think no one can deny it.
As an engineer who knows some science, I’m fascinated with how the locals of Rocamadour built their medieval village attached to the cliff wall. Like, how did they know that it’s not going to collapse?
(The part of Rocamadour I’m talking about is the sanctuaries, where the 7 chapels of the village are.)
But is it really because of the beautiful appearance that Rocamadour was able to attract millions of visitors?
Perhaps, today that is the case.
However, centuries ago, it was because of the Black Madonna—a miraculous figure of the Virgin Mary.
Legends say it was carved out of walnut wood by Saint Amadour—the hermit who was one of the first persons who spread the gospel in Quercy. One of the miracles that occurred in Rocamadour is the discovery of the uncorrupted body of Saint Amadour in front of the Black Virgin’s chapel.
You can find the statue of the Black Virgin in Rocamadour in her chapel in the sanctuaries. By visiting Rocamadour, you join a pilgrimage that even the kings and queens in the middle ages did.
When visiting Rocamadour, it is essential to know that the kind of experiences you can have aren’t limited to religion, architecture, and seeing beautiful scenery.
Like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Rocamadour lies in a regional nature park (Causses du Quercy Natural Regional Park). Natural wonders and cute, spectacular wildlife lie just around Rocamadour.
Suppose you’re already in the Rocamadour’s sanctuaries now. Fun attractions like Rocher des Aigles are now only just a few-minute walk away. In it, you will not only encounter majestic birds but also see them perform!
Just beside Rocher des Aigles is a medieval theme park called Parc Durandal. Inside, you may watch equestrian shows and plays set in the medieval ages. If you’re a fan of series/movies like Merlin (2008), you may find their performance very fascinating.
They perform in French, though. But the storyline should be easy to follow.
There are so many other things about Rocamadour which you must know! We’ve only scratched the surface. I suggest you discover more about Rocamadour from my post “10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rocamadour.”
It is a comprehensive post about Rocamadour, and it can already be your guide in visiting this beautiful village in southern France.
Village #9: Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
A few kilometers south of Rocamadour, the beautiful village we discussed, we can find Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. It is another lovely village in southern France, selected as the country’s favorite village in 2012.
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, like most of the villages you find in this post, is both quaint and scenic. However, for me, the most distinguishable thing about Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is the architecture of the village buildings in stone masonry and half-timbered style.
You can find Saint-Cirq-Lapopie perched on top of a rocky cliff overlooking the Lot valley and the Lot river. Zoom out of the map, and you’ll see it within the Lot Department in the Occitanie Region, southwestern France.
Down the valley, in the Lot river, you’d barely see Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. If you go there, the only structure you’d see is the village’s church.
However, if you go to the old entrance gates of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, particularly in Porte de Rocamadour—it’s a whole new story!
The view in Porte de Rocamadour is at postcard level, and it will make you feel like you’re not in the 21st century at all! There are no cars, the surroundings are green… you’ll see the village blending in with the colors of the soil of the cliff.
Indeed, it’s a fairytale. You can imagine yourself like a lost wanderer in the middle ages who stumbled upon a “gem” along your way.
The medieval vibe in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie gets stronger as you start exploring the village. The buildings made of stones (some covered with vines), the cobblestone lanes, half-timbered houses, and the rustic souvenir shops will feed your wanderlust very well.
You may climb to the top of the village where the old castle of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie once stood.
Although the castle of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is no more, the overlooking view of the village and the Lot Valley can still make you feel there is one. Up there in the castle ruins, you can literally see the streets, squares, and almost every corner of the village.
The view can make you think you’re a medieval soldier on a post in a castle guarding the commune.
Indeed, the scenery is lovely, and you can find more scenic views from the hiking trails that spread out of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. The most notable hiking trail is called the towpath that links Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Bouziès. It was once used to help people transport goods along the Lot River.
Today, people no longer move products along the Lot River and its towpath. Instead, it is now a tourist attraction where you can discover artwork, waterway mechanisms, picturesque railroads, and so on.
If you don’t like hiking, you can still see the attractions along the Lot River or towpath by riding a traditional boat called Gabare.
During the boat ride, you can relax as you witness how a canal lock works. Boat operators sometimes have a prepared program that can be fun for kids and educational for adults.
Are you now interested in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie? Here are my 5 reasons to visit Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. Read it to see the view and attractions surrounding the beautiful village.
Village #10: Saint-Paul de Vence
Last but not least is the beautiful village in the South of France which seems like a museum where you can find more museums. It is called Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a preserved walled medieval place that’s a paradise for art enthusiast travelers.
Almost everything in Saint-Paul-de-Vence is related to art. Like, from the streets of Saint-Paul-de-Vence to the houses, things inside the buildings, and the people living within!
Where can you find Saint-Paul-de-Vence?
Saint-Paul-de-Vence is located in the French Riviera, 30 minutes away from Nice by car. For me, it’s an unmissable destination in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, southeastern France.
And like other beautiful villages in southern France, Saint-Paul-de-Vence was built on a hilltop. Thus, you can expect it not only to be quaint but also scenic!
Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a romantic destination, too. Here you can find flower-designed calades, houses covered with blooming vines, and breathtaking views that are a scene perfect for a proposal/memorable date/honeymoon.
Did you know? Locals in Saint-Paul-de-Vence have been practicing wine-making for several centuries already. You can expect better-tasting wines during your date in the village.
Indeed, beautiful moments can be made in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. But, if you will come, make sure not to miss viewing some artworks in the village! Some of them are really cool and manifest art techniques like no other.
Even if you do not come inside the galleries, you may already spot artworks as you walk around the village.
Drop by Place de Gaulle to have refreshments. It is also where you can watch locals and tourists playing Petanque. It is a local game quite fascinating to watch. During a game, players throw the ball to another ball.
You can play Pentanque too, by the way! Just go to the tourism office and ask for the next game. They will teach you how to play Petanque.
Art appreciation does not end inside the medieval village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Just several steps from the entrance of the walled village is Maeght Fondation, the home of 12,000 masterpieces of modern art. Every year, more than 200,000 visitors come here and admire art!
Why is that? Well, believe it or not, it is because Maeght Fondation is the “biggest” 20th-century art collection in Europe.
Lastly, if you have time, you might want to enjoy the outdoors in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There are cycling and hiking trails around and spreading out of the village.
And bring a good camera if you will hike! You may see a good view of Saint-Paul-de-Vence from there, and it’s really picturesque, especially during the golden hour.
There are literally many charming spots and fascinating discoveries you can find in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. I compiled everything you must see/do in Saint-Paul-de-Vence from this post: 14 Things To Do In Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
So, that’s it! These are my favorite beautiful villages (or towns) in southern France. They’re so quaint, scenic, and romantic, right?
So, which place do you like the most? Comment down below!
Thank you for reading. I wish you all the best in your travels! Live life.
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