There are numerous wonderful villages across France, sometimes it is hard to choose one’s favourite! However, French association Villes et Villages où il fait bon vivre, has released the top towns and villages in France rated according to quality of life.
There are in total 198 communes and municipalities in all parts of the country and their ranking is listed on the basis of amenities, safety, transport, education, sports and leisure facilities, real estate and environment. Last year was the first year they had added environmental protection to the list including air quality. You can see the way it is all worked out and the various towns and villages on their website.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 villages…
1. Guethary, Pyrenées Atlantiques
A beautiful Basque village with a port, good surfing and excellent seaside restaurants and beaches, Guethary has 1350 inhabitants. It relies mainly on tourism and small businesses and is extremely popular in the summer months with tourists and holidaymakers.
- Sun drenched beaches
- Surfing and swimming
- Green spaces
- Great choice of eateries
- Average price of property per square metre: €11,964
2. Epron, Calvados
Epron is a small village with around 1800 inhabitants just 4 km from Caen in Normandy. It is known for its beautiful flower gardens, pretty buildings and friendly lively community as well as having a very popular carnival in March each year.
- Gardens and flowers
- Pretty half timbered buildings
- Very friendly community
- Average price of property per square metre: €4,130
3. Martinvast, Manche
Martinvast is a very small pretty village in the Manche department in the north west part of Normandy. It has a close friendly community with a beautiful cathedral and other ancient buildings. The population is around 1300 inhabitants.
The castle of Martinvast is a 16th century building with a wonderful park attached to it containing a pond and some beautiful palm trees and flowers. The park which surrounds it covers over 100 hectares. Is is sadly no longer open to the public but is a sight and site to see!
- The castle and its park
- Cosy family owned restaurants
- Very reasonable priced property
- Average price of property per square metre: €1,800
4. Peltre, Moselle
Peltre is a medieval village located in the Moselle department of the Grand Est region of France. Its population more than doubled between 1968 and 2015 from 994 inhabitants to 1958. It has the distinction of being a “village fleuri” with 2 flowers. It is a lovely base from which to hike, cycle and ride and the community is proud to have established itself as a haven for outdoors enthusiasts.
Peltre is notable for its many religious buildings, amongst which the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption. Although a small village, it has a hospital and several small shops plus a few restaurants.
- Its history and ancient buildings
- Surrounded by numerous hiking and cycling trails
- Awarded 2 flowers and listed as a “village fleuri”
- Average price of property per square metre: €3,000
5. Authie, Calvados
Authie is a charming small village situated 6 kms north west of Caen. The population is 1696. It is a typical Calvados village of timber and stone houses as well as a monument to the Canadians who died their during the second world war. There is also a 12th century church, the Church of Saint Vigor. The little village is surrounded by farmland and beautiful countryside.
- Pretty village with colourful half timbered buildings
- Lovely surroundings
- Important historically both from medieval times and the second world war
- Has 1 flower in the “village fleuri” list
- Average price of property per square metre: €3,727
6. Saint-Quay-Perros, Cotes d’Armor
This is a typical Breton village situated in the Cotes d’Armor department of Brittany, near the coast. It is just 2 kms from the sandy beach at Perros-Guirec and the pink granite coast. It has some stunning hiking and cycling trails around it. The village itself is proud of its friendly community. With only around 1300 inhabitants, people tend to look out for each other.
- Historical interest
- Close to sandy beaches
- Charming Breton style buildings
- Average price of property per square metre: €3,800
7. Mazère-Lezons, Pyrenees Atlantiques
This is a very well kept village close to Pau and surrounded by the Pyrenean mountains. It lies just one hour from the ski slopes and the Atlantic Ocean and is home to 1823 inhabitants.
A project named “Heart of the village” is planned this year which will make a park of 2 hectares, new housing and a central square with shops, market place etc.
- Quiet but prosperous village with amenities
- One hour from the mountains, ocean and ski slopes
- Beautiful rural surroundings
- Average property price per square metre: €2,380
8. Buros, Pyrenees Atlantiques
Another very pretty and charming village situated close to Pau, the mountains and the ocean. It has just under 2,000 inhabitants and is notable for its chateau hotel and beautiful church of Saint Pierre.
- Very pretty village with gardens
- Close to the mountains and ocean
- Chateau hotel and church of Saint Pierre
- Average price of property per square metre: €2,500
9. Cambes-en-Plaine, Calvados
In the heart of the Calvados department, this is a small village with 1,753 inhabitants. It is home to a war cemetery from the second world war and lies close to the 5 beaches where the Allies landed during the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War.
- It is a beautiful, peaceful village.
- Historical importance
- Close to the landing beaches
- Lovely gardens
- Close community
- Average property price per square metre: €2,999
10. Marcellaz-Albanais, Haute Savoie
Nestled in the foothills of the Alps and about 10 kms from the beautiful town of Annecy you will find the village of Marcellaz-Albanais. It has 1,953 inhabitants and is known for its wonderful mountain views, fresh air and outdoor living. It lies just 24 kms from Geneva in Switzerland.
- Interesting museum focusing on counterfeit money!
- Beautiful church
- Mountain views
- Average price of property per square metre: €3,000