If you’ve ever imagined yourself waltzing down narrow cobblestone streets, leisurely biking between villages (toting around books, cheese, and wine, of course), and poking around ancient Medieval castles, you’re going to positively love our list of tiny French towns that’ll make you the star of your own dreamy fairytale. From the sun-drenched summers to the snow-dusted winters, French life outside of Paris is anything but dull. Which one will you flock to?

Bonneval — for the Adventurous Dreamer

BONNEVAL-SUR-ARC, FRANCE: The hamlet L'Ecot in Vanoise National Park, Northern Alps

Nestled cozily at the base of Col de l’lseran, one of the tallest mountains in Europe, lies this picturesque town. Lovers of the outdoors will find their perfect home here: the summers are ideal for scenic picnics and challenging hikes while the winter months see the village turn into a ski resort of sorts. One of France’s little-known ski towns, the village is an ideal place for travelers seeking peace, quiet, and lots of activities.

Annecy — for the Hopeless Romantic

Streets, canal and Thiou river in Annecy, France

If a lover’s retreat is what you’re in the mood for, Annecy is a lovely respite from the crowds and hustle of Paris. Complete with colorful cottages, tranquil canals, and perfectly manicured gardens, this village is any couple’s daydream. Tour the nearby Le Palais de l’Isle — a castle set on an island in one of the town’s canals — or amble around the landmark Annecy Lake for a guaranteed fairytale stay.

Colmar — for the Curious Bookworm

Colorful half-timbered facades in medieval Little Venice district, Colmar, Alsace, France

This village is the heart of the northeastern French wine country. But there is so much more to it than just great wine (though we’d be okay with just tossing back French wine for an entire trip…). This village sits on the French-German border — and its architecture shows it. Traditional cottages line the flower-laden canals, museums are dotted throughout the small town, and the avid American traveler will delight in knowing that Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty, once resided here.

Perouges — for the Musical Old Soul

Old stone house at medieval village Perouges in France with green lianas climbing up the wall

In the northeast of Lyon lies Perouges — an ancient Medieval walled city that maintains its stony buildings while exuding an unmistakably romantic charm. Home to many music festivals during the spring and summer months, old souls who love jazz and Baroque classics will find their home away from home in this cobblestone village. Overlooking the Ain River, the wistful traveler will never want for solitude and tranquility here.

Lourmarin — for the Bohemian Child of the Revolution

The hill top village of Lourmarin in the Luberon Provence

Tucked blissfully away between vineyards and rolling countryside, Lourmarin is often listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Cafes, bookshops, boutiques, and wineries are stuffed into the lavender-scented streets. Just a turn about town will have any Bohemian visitor conjuring up dreams of freedom, beauty, truth, and love. With plenty of Medieval attractions to offer, Lourmarin is a necessary stop for any wine-loving child of the Belle Époque.

Èze — for the Classy Beach Bum

Eze village and Mediterranean Sea, French Riviera

Set on the famous French Riviera, this sleepy town is anything but a bore. Hike up its picturesque spindly path to a huge Medieval castle that overlooks the amazingly blue Mediterranean. Not far from Nice, Èze is the perfect place to withdraw from the almost too-chic crowd when all you want to do is relax and explore (and drink wine, of course). Charming, but not overly glitzy, this ancient village welcomes those just looking to enjoy the laid-back side of French life.

So, tell us, which blissful retreat are you itching to take?

2 Responses

  1. marly cornell

    This place seems very romantic or fairy tale where we can enjoy openly with clam nature or beautiful climate. Thanks for lovely pictures of these places.


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When she is not figuring out what the middle button on her headphones is for, explaining the difference between Washington State and Washington D.C., arriving to the airport too early or refusing to use the Oxford comma, you can usually find Mary in the mountains, at a show or on her couch. Mary is a content writer at Fareportal and likes annoying her coworkers with weird GIFs throughout the day.