|This small town is quite popular: one of
the classic stops on the Alsace wine trail, it has a remarkably well
preserved centre in typical Alsace style; also wine producers, the
Albert Schweizer birthplace and museum, and other historic monuments
|A small town built on an island in the
river Dronne. The old town
on the island has attractive narrow streets with small shops and
restaurants. Between the river and the cliffs at the valley's edge
stands an impressive Benedictine abbey, the oldest part of which is a
"troglodytic" section built into the cliff, including an underground
35 km east of Bordeaux, Saint Emilion
is a small town with a very attractive historic centre. Renowned for
its wines, Saint Emilion also has a remarkable 11th century
"monolithic" church, carved out of the rock - the second largest
underground church in the world – plus several other
the road to the Monts du Cantal, an attractive small town, built on a
steep hillside. Stone-roofed houses built of the local volcanic rock.
Less touristy than nearby Salers. Energetic visitors can climb up to
the statue of Notre Dame de la Haute-Auvergne, on a volcanic outcrop
just above the old town. Accessible by train.
|A gem of a small
town, with bustling Saturday market. St Julian's
basilica with unique medieval mosaic floor and frescoes gets
top three-star ranking in the Michelin guide. There
is also a
freshwater aquarium and a lace-making museum. Contemporary arts centre
opening 2018 with major Chagall exhibition. Accesssible by
small fishing port on the far west coast
of Brittany, at the end of the Crozon Peninsula, south of Brest. Port,
beaches, 17th century fortifications.
Saône et Loire
the "Bresse Bourguignonne" area, Louhans has a unique main-street,
bordered on either side by 15th century arcades, with small shops
behind them. The town has a large and popular market every Monday
morning. It also has a printing museum and a historic hospital, with a
Renaissance pharmacy or apothecary.
Val de Loire
Indre et Loire
|Standing on the south bank of the Loire, Amboise is
having three chateaux, including the great Château Royal,
once the best
defended site in western France. Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three
years of his life in Amboise, and the Clos Lucé, where he
is a Leonardo museum. Accesssible by train
Val de Loire
Indre et Loire
country town dominated by its impressive medieval fortress with 12th
century ramparts. There is a
medieval gateway to the old town, the romanesque church of Saint Ours,
and the art gallery of Saint Antoine's church, with its
by Caravaggio - as well as a renaissance town
hall. Accesssible by train
town with old houses overhanging the river Loue, a trout river. Gustave
Courbet birthplace and museum with a good collection of Courbet's
works; kayak and bike hire for outdoor enthusiasts.
small town that is one of the capitals of the Jura vineyard area. Wine
cellars, medieval church, and the Pasteur museum. Louis Pasteur lived
and worked here. Accessible by train
Germain en Laye
||Ile de France
|Saint Germain is a small country town at the western
end of the RER
A line. The early Renaissance castle, birthplace of Louis XIV, houses
the French national museum of antiquities. Its landscaped park is
popular with walkers; the old town, with many boutiques,
restaurants, has a distinctly provincial feel, compared to Paris.
Accessible by RER
hillside town with views to the valley and to the Cevennes mountains.
Famous for its figs. The town has narrow cobbled streets and many
medieval and Renaissance buildings, and a castle
attractive small town on the banks of the river Vidourle. The old town
is remarkable for its criss-crossing narrow streets, and its arches and
arcades. It boasts three ancient city gates and a Roman
bridge, substantially rebuilt in the 18th century. In
times, the town was extended towards the river, and a third of
the Roman bridge is now within the old town.
|At the foot of the Pyrenees, Céret is an attractive
town with a historic centre. The town is famous for its fruit, in
particular cherries which ripen here very early. The town has an
impressive modern art museum (works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and
others), plus a museum of musical instruments and a 14th century
single-arched stone bridge over the river Tech, le Pont du diable,
which when it was built was the greatest span in Europe. Market day
|A small former fishing port on the coast
not far from the
Spanish border. The historic Chateau Royal stands on rock
two inlets, opposite the water's-edge church of Notre Dame des Anges.
There is a historic centre with narrow streets and boutiques. Collioure
has attracted artists since the start of the 20th century. Accessible
delightful small town on the banks of the river Dordogne; cobbled
quayside beside the river, ancient houses. At St. Julien nearby,
discover a living museum of medieval farming.
town in the undulating countryside close to the Avesnois regional park.
Remarkable Matisse museum in the former Palais Fénelon;
interesting historic brewery and brewery museum.
Pas de Calais
fortified hill town just south of Boulogne. Montreuil was the British
military command post in WW1. The town has an impressive
citadelle, and attractive cobbled streets. Markets on Saturday morning,
plus Friday evenings in July and August.
extreme south of Normandy, 40 km
west of Dreux. A small town with a fine flamboyant belfry (climb the
tower for 360° views), a lovely square, many attractive
half-timbered houses, and other fine Renaissance buildings. Historic
walking trail. Accessible by train.
|Home to the
historic Bayeux Tapestry,
woven to celebrate William the conqueror's victory at Hastings in 1066.
A unique treasure. Bayeux also has a fine cathedral and a historic
centre. Accesssible by train
fishing port at the mouth of the Seine. The harbour is surrounded by
old slate-clad houses, and is a favourite spot for artists. This
historic home of boat-builders also has the largest wooden church in
France, dating from the 15th century, and a small art museum with works
by Boudin and others who painted here.
hilltown in the south of Normandy; ramparts, old centre with half
timbered houses, historic church and castle. There is a popular market
on Friday mornings.
|20 km east of Poitiers, Chauvigny is a remarkable
small town, insofar as it boasts five historic castles built
in a row
on the same rocky ridge - a cluster of castles which is unique in
Europe. In addition, St. Peter's Collegial church has a remarkably well
preserved set of intricately sculpted medieval capitals. Chauvigny
also has a museum of industrial archaeology, and a museum of popular
culture and other attrctions close-by.
off the beaten track, Barjols, a former leather town, retains a
tradiutional character that has been lost by most small towns in this
popular tourist region of France. On a hot day, Bardols, with its 30
fountains and 12 old lavoirs, feels cool and refreshing. On its
squares, there are shady café terraces beneath towering
trees. Market on Sundays.
very interesting small town beside the river Ouvèze, in
Vaucluse. Humans have lived here since prehistoric times. The town has
interesting Roman remains, notably a Roman bridge, a theatre and Roman
houses. There is also a "medieval town", perched on a buttress on the
other side of the river. The small town has two cathedrals, the most
interesting being ND de Nazareth which is a fine romanesque building,
with cloisters. The 12th century Chapelle St Quenin alos merits a visit.
small town, with narrow cobbled streets; Centre for olive
oil, apricots and aromatic plants. Arcaded market square,
Renaissance gateway. Close to Mont Ventoux.
Paul Trois Chateaux near
are no castles here, but an ancient city with traces of the old
ramparts, and three gateways into the old city. There is a
medieval cathedral, and next door to it an archaeological museum. A
few kilometres away is the village of Suze la Rousse with its very
impressive medieval castle. Market day is Tuesday.