Plus Beaux Villages de France – origin

Plus-beaux-villages-de-France-Roussillon,_village_perche_du_Luberon

Roussillon

As you travel in our beautiful French regions, you’ll come across some villages marked with two road signs.

The first is the standard village entrance sign.

The second is inscribed with Les Plus Beaux Villages de France – meaning ‘the most beautiful villages in France’.

This sign represents the stylized grey-ish shadow of a village against a red and white background.

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France is indeed a prestigious label awarded by a private association founded on March 6, 1982 by Charles Ceyrac.

Ceyrac was then the mayor of Collonges la Rouge in the department of Corrèze.

The purpose of his association is to promote and protect the architectural, cultural and historical heritage of our French villages.

Plus Beaux Villages de France, a prestigious label

Indeed, 155 villages located in 21 French regions and 69 departments have so far been granted the label Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.

Plus-beaux-villages-de-France-Monpazier_-_Maisons_place_des_Cornieres_cote_ouest_25-27-29_-399

Montpazier

Some are picturesque mountain villages or charming coastal towns, others are nestled in a green countryside.

Some are perched on the top of rocky promontories.

Most date back to the Middle Ages.

All have in common a wealth of history, architecture and culture.

These beautiful villages are selected on strict criteria.

Indeed, the association wishes to keep the number of adherents below 200 in order to preserve the quality of the label.

These villages must therefore have less than 2000 inhabitants.

They must be located in a rural area.

Plus-beaux-villages-de-france-Bec-Hellouin_village

Bec-Hellouin

Finally, they must already possess at least two buildings or sites classified Historical Monuments.

Once selected, the villages have to pay an annual membership fee.

They are then reviewed every 6 years.

The label Plus Beaux Villages de France has obviously a huge impact on local tourism.

It can indeed generate between 10% to 50% of additional visitors.

Here is the list of some beautiful villages of France we have visited for you.

Auvergne: Charroux

Aveyron: Brousse-le-Château, La Couvertoirade, Najac

Dordogne: Beynac et Cazenac, Domme, La Roque-Gageac, Limeuil, Monpazier, St-Léon-sur-Vézère

Limousin: Collonges-la-Rouge, St-Robert

Loire Valley: Montsoreau

Lot: Capdenac-le-Haut, St-Cirq-la-Popie

Normandy: Bec Hellouin

Provence: Baux de Provence, Lourmarin, Menerbes, Roussillon, Venasque

Tarn: Lautrec

Map of France

Photos via Wikimedia Commons: Roussillon by Jackie McLelland is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0Montpazier by MOSSOT is licensed under CC BY 3.0 Bec-Hellouin by Samish de normandie is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0