Mapping France’s uncharted villages

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Ah, La Belle France! If you haven’t been then you should visit. If you have, then you’ll know of the beautiful little villages in the country that perhaps you didn’t have time to visit but would like to explore.

Many visitors get their impression of France from the amazing City of Light, the French capital Paris. You can however find lovely little corners of the country to enjoy that have a real sense of presence, proud of their local hinterland and welcoming to travelers staying for a while or passing through.

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Access the Alps

One of the most famous mountain ranges in the world, spanning eight European countries, the Alps are perfect for winter or summer vacations. You’ll love the opportunity to explore the little villages that cling to the impressive mountains and provide a haven of peace for a time.

One of these is Saint-Véran, the highest inhabited village in Europe. It’s dedicated to the preservation of old century life, so expect chalets made of timber and stone and note that the local people carry on eating bread made directly from the cereal from their local fields. You can ski during the winter, and in summer you can explore the stunning scenery by hiking and walking with your family. Try out some biking too for a different experience. You can find many charming hotels in the French Alps.

Come to the Côte d’Azur

The French Riviera is renowned for its classic towns and cities such as Nice and Cannes, great places for visiting but perhaps too busy for some. There are plenty of villages to find that will keep you close to the action – if that’s what you want – but also give you time to chill out and relax.

Take a look at Apresmont, a small village to the north of Nice. It’s what is called a “round village”, perched on a hill that overlooks the Var Valley and dating from the 15th century. You get a superb view of the pre-Alps from the Place de Salettes and there are monuments and ruins to pique your interest in the old foundations of France.

You’ll always be able to find a charming hotel in the Côte d’Azur to suit exactly what you want.

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Beautiful Burgundy

If you know a little bit about French wine then Burgundy – or Bourgogne in French – may be on your list of places to visit. You could check out the village of Chablis, home of one of the greatest white wines in the world.

Head up to Vézelay, near the town of Avallon, and you will find a village with centuries of history. This part of Burgundy was a battleground for armies from Roman times and probably before. Vézelay has a steep street, with great arts and other shops, leading to a stunning Basilica at the top. You can see it from miles around and the views from it are stunning. Listen to the monks and nuns singing in this huge space – whether you’re religious or not it’s an amazing experience.