Unmissable and romantic villages in the south of France

The south of France is one of the most spectacular and romantic places in the country. It allows us to take a drive and appreciate all the charm of towns and cities that were frozen in time. In addition, some of them have very well preserved historical centers, being able to admire castles, fortresses, natural parks, among others.

A trip through the south of France allows you to make different routes and at the same time to know both mountain and coastal villages. That is, from the Atlantic Pyrenees to Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur. You can taste some products of its gastronomy; among them its cheeses and wines; many of them within the list of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. But travelers themselves agree with this same criterion.

How to start a route in the south of France? 

If you have already decided to make a route through the south of France, then the first thing is to see what are the transport routes to reach the destination and where you will start your new route, starting from the place where you are located. Of course, always trying to find the most comfortable and least cumbersome way. 

For example, if you are in Catalonia, a good alternative would be to stay in the city of Montpellier or Toulouse, because you can arrive by bus, train or car. But also, if you prefer, you can arrive in an economic flight, whose reservation is made in advance. However, once you arrive at the destination to stay and you are clear about which towns you want to visit, it is recommended to rent a car to make that journey.

Public transportation is very good, but travelers say that it is more economical to rent a car. In addition, you have your own schedule or pace to reach the chosen destinations. It is also important to bring a map, which will serve as a guide to discover this beautiful area in the south of France. Below, we will mention some of these places.

At the level of the New Aquitaine region:

In the Pyrenees Mountains, Sare:

In the municipality of the famous Atlantic Pyrenees, and in the heart of the Basque country, is located the village of Sare; with an area of 50 square kilometers. This municipality shares a border with Spain, in the French Basque territory of Labort. It has a little more than 2500 inhabitants, with a long activity of agriculture and shepherding.

Since recently, they have also been dedicated to the processing of wool. Among its charms are its traditional houses; in addition, the church of St. Martin, with its oak floors, is located. And the train will take you to the summit of the Rhune, to enjoy the views and some prehistoric caves.

In the territory of Baja Navarra, San Juan de Pie de Puerto:

This beautiful medieval-style village is surrounded by pink stoneware mosaic walls. Tourists and visitors are impressed by its cobblestone streets and houses with facades so picturesque, as if floating on water; also, you can visit the famous bridge over the Nive River.

The citadel was remodeled by Vauban, and to enjoy the views and green areas it is necessary to climb up to the entrance of the citadel. In the Prison of the Bishops, on 41st Street, is located the museum dedicated to the road to Santiago during the medieval period.

At the level of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in Occitania:

On the Spanish-French border, the town of Castelnou:

It is located very close to the town of Thuir and 48 km from La Jonquera, on the Spanish-French border, near Spain. A beautiful medieval style village that is very well preserved and attracts thousands of tourists annually. It has a population of no more than 400 inhabitants, walls with 8 towers and 4 gates, located at each cardinal point. 

Among the places to visit we have the Castle of Castelnou, which dates from 990 and served as capital of the Viscounty of Vallespir for just over 3 centuries. Also, the Church of Santa Maria de Mercadal, from the thirteenth century and is located outside the walls. Also its cobblestone streets have their great charm; in addition to craft stores, restaurants, among others.

In the Department of Aveyron, the Commune of Belcastel:

Belcastel is located in a valley on the banks of the Aveyron River. It is a village with a lot of medieval heritage and that the tourists themselves catalog it as if it were a postcard; for the beauty of the locality. You can live your adventure as if time had not passed. Among the aspects that call the attention is the gothic bridge of the XV century, exactly from 1480, in perfect conservation.

Also, the medieval castle of the eleventh century, located in the upper part of the village and from where you can admire the whole panorama. It is a village with few inhabitants, with its crystal clear river, some green meadows and lush forests. 

The Medieval Village of Minerve:

It is a small municipality that has been noted for the quality of the production of its wines; it is located 1 hour from the city of Carcassonne by car. The village was a medieval walled fortress, with its pleasant narrow cobbled streets. It has several places to visit, such as the Rock Bridge, which is located under the village and was eroded by the action of the river. 

There is also the Museum of Archeology and Paleontology, thanks to the quantity of fossils and objects found in prehistoric caves. Also the Hurepel Museum, which reproduces the history of the Cathars, when they took refuge in the city of Minerve.

Some of them were saved from the horror of Simon Monfort at the beginning of the 13th century, who wanted to seize Minerve and gain the support of its inhabitants thanks to the intervention of Guillhem in the surrender; but 140 did not renounce, being faithful to their beliefs, so they were burned at the stake on July 22, 1210. 

At the level of the Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur region:

In the last segment of the Côte d’Azur, Sainte Agnés:

We are talking about the stretch where France meets the Italian country, offering a landscape along the way both mountainous as the Pyrénées-Maritimes, and the coast or bay of Menton. A small village suspended high, very magical, on the Mediterranean coast. 

It is recognized by the close-knit houses, which are closely linked. They are also adorned with beautiful flowers, which are displayed hanging in the form of waterfalls. In this town you can visit the military fort, with its 2000 square meters, which was used in the 2nd World War by the soldiers. 

The capital of the French Riviera, Nice:

Nice is a city that offers you a lot of culture and art, offering a good variety of museums; of course, after the city of Paris. With a baroque style architecture, elegant and bathed by the Mediterranean. Located at the level of the Côte d’Azur and very close to the border with the Italian country; only about 40 km away. 

Being close to Italy has favored the exchange between both nations, being these frequent and easy. In the past, Nice belonged to Italy, but it is from the XIX century that it became part of France. Among its tourist attractions are, of course, the beaches, the Chateau hill, the Masséna Square, the Alberti I Gardens; besides its delicious gastronomy and colorful markets. 

The ancient city of the Popes, Avignon:

Avignon is located towards the department of Vaucluse, in Bouches-du-Rhône and on the edge of the Gard; near Montpellier and Nimes. With a population of about 92,000 inhabitants. In ancient times it was occupied by the Greeks and then by the Romans; then, in the Middle Ages, the famous Popes arrived and took up their official residence in this city.

Later this city passed into the hands of Charlemagne, then to the Italians and finally remained in France. Among its architectural jewels is the Palace of the Popes; it is a combination of Gothic and an ancient fortress, where you can see cloisters, rooms, halls, among others. 

Likewise, the bridge of medieval origin, of which only a part remains and which connected Avignon and Villeneuve-lés-Avignon. 

It is also located the Cathedral, the Petit Palais and the old city walls. All of them belong to the World Heritage since 1995.

Posted in Europe, France.