A new book called The Most Beautiful Villages of France covers 159 villages around the country that have been chosen for their heritage, architecture and beauty. The association behind the book is Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, and it contains maps, architectural highlights and culinary recommendations for each one. These are some of the villages featured.
Situated on the edge of the Luberon Regional Natural Park in the heart of the Vaucluse mountains, the tiered village of Gordes is majestic. It was once in charge of guarding the city of Cavaillon and was a refuge for people fleeing invasions and religious wars, and its imposing castle, Chateau de Gordes, is a big attraction. A jumble of terracotta rooftops, church towers and winding lanes, the village owes its renewal to painter and writer, André Lhote, in 1940.
Situated at the foot of the Monts de Vaucluse, the village of Roussillon is surrounded by beautiful countryside. It is famous for its magnificent red cliffs and ochre quarries, and the red, yellow and brown shades of the earth form a striking contrast with the lush green pine trees. Roussillon has several art galleries and studios, and a number of great restaurants.
Founded in the eighth century, the Burgundy town of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain tells its medieval history through its ramparts, fortified gates, cobbled streets, houses and hotels. Its aniseed sweets are still made in the old abbey and their aroma welcomes you on your arrival. Various artists and artisans make their homes in the village, and it has become a popular visitor destination.
The fortified village of Villefranche-de-Conflent was listed as a Unesco World Heritage site because of its fortifications by Vauban in the 17th century. Situated at the foot of Mount Canigou, visitors can enjoy its old buildings, picturesque streets, art galleries and local craft shops. Its fort dominates the valley and you can walk along the walled town’s ramparts.
Located around 20km southwest of Perpignan, the medieval village of Castelnou is superbly preserved. Visitors will find picturesque little streets bedecked with flowers and lined with stone houses, Dominating the village, the Château Vicomtal has had to adapt its pentagonal shape to the steep and irregular ridges of the rock that welcomes it.
Further information on Les Plus Beaux Villages de France can be found here.
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