These Small Towns In France Are Full Of Charm

Almost every traveler associates France with major cities like Lyon, and destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame come to mind first. But getting away from everyday city life would be an amazing way to discover France from a different perspective, and what could be better than its charming small towns? There is more to this country than its world-famous cities and attractions. The small towns of France offer incredible hilltop views, admirable culture, beautiful flower-lined canals and much more! Skip the long lines at the Louvre and experience the charm of these small towns, where there are fewer people and the atmosphere is relaxed.



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10 Saint Emilion, Bordeaux

Bordeaux is considered to be one of the largest wine producers in the world and although the place is full of vineyards, Saint Emilion’s scenic nature is remarkable thanks to its great monuments and historical sites. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, the city features beautiful limestone buildings, charming hotels and hilly streets, making it an exceptional tourist destination that has much more to offer than just its wines. If you are looking for a small town full of charm, a visit to Saint Emilion will never disappoint!


9 Peillon, French Riviera

Nestled on the French Riviera about 18 kilometers north of Nice on a beautiful cliff top, Peillon is a small French town full of charm and well worth exploring. Travelers cannot access this beautiful place by car as it is pedestrian-only. Also, there are no everyday amenities like restaurants or nice shops in most places, except for a few at the entrance to town. When visiting Peillon, you need to be well prepared, and that includes packing comfortable shoes to easily navigate the village. The views from here are stunning and worth any struggle to navigate some of the village’s narrow paths. There are a few accommodation options to choose from in Peillon.

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8th Annecy, Haute Savoie

Annecy attracts visitors with its beautiful hills and magnificent canals that connect to the city’s main streets. While strolling the canals, vacationers will notice little stone bridges that are photo worthy and would make great pics for Instagram. Annecy has a slightly higher population than most other small towns, but the atmosphere is definitely that of a charming little village. The city offers cobblestone streets, beautiful hotels and incredible views not found anywhere else.


7 Eze, French Riviera

Cities like Nice are known to be the best destinations on the French Riviera, but for a more enchanting experience without the hassle of crowds, head to Eze. Nestled in a magnificent hillside area, Eze offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Hiking is the best way to experience the small town’s charm, and the walk to the top is always delightful. The trek is easy, and even the less experienced would find it exhilarating. There are many accommodation options in Eze to choose from.


6 Etretat, Normandy

Located on the Normandy coast in north-west France, Etretat is a charming resort town with a lot to offer. The town boasts beautiful three incredible natural arches and dramatic cliffs – and is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Upper Normandy. There is a picturesque pebble beach that would be a perfect place to relax and sunbathe. This city is one of the most serene places and attracts visitors for its tranquil and relaxing scenery.

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5 Gaillac, Tarn

Nestled on the River Tarn some 50km north-east of Toulouse and 25km west of Albi, Gaillac Tarn is a spectacular small town that emerged around 1000 years ago. The town offers charming little streets, beautiful vineyards and some of the tastiest wines – and is known for producing them in a wide variety. Some of the city’s most impressive sights include St. Peter’s Basilica, Foucaud Castle, the Abbey Museum and the 13th Round of Palmata. Most of the sights are packed into a small area, but travelers will also find beautiful parks, historic buildings, charming hotels, and other museums scattered throughout the city.


4 Villefranche sur Mer, Provence

Villefranche-sur-Mer is a perfect summer destination thanks to its location on the French Riviera, closer to the Mediterranean Sea. The seaside town is known for its fishing, but it’s full of charm at every turn, offering cobbled staircases, beautiful dense lush hills, colorful houses, beautiful hotels and stunning sea views. This city is probably one of the smallest, but its beauty is second to none, and a day trip from Nice would be a perfect way to explore its stunning sights.


3 Giverny, Normandy

Located on the Normandy border, Giverny is a charming little town in Italy known for being home to Claude Monet’s beautiful riverside house and garden where she lived and died. The house and garden are some of the most famous tourist attractions, the second most visited in the city, and well worth a visit. Giverny offers beautiful art galleries, restaurants, hotels and cafes – visitors can best explore the city in the early evening when the crowds subside.

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2 Colmar, Alsace

Colmar, also known as “Little Venice”, is one of the most charming small towns in France with beautiful canals and colorful houses. While the city is lesser known, the capital of Alsatian wines will captivate tourists of all interests. The city is easy to get to as it is well connected to the train system and travelers can reach it from anywhere in the country. There’s not much to explore, but what little there is is delightful, especially the area around the old town. It is possible to book many hotels in the city.


1 Amiens, Picardy

With a population of 132,874, Amiens sounds bigger, but it definitely has incredible small-town charm. Travelers can access the city by car from northern France, which takes about two hours. The city is best known for its Gothic cathedral, but its stunning gardens (Les Hortillonnages) can be wonderfully explored on small boats through the beautiful canals. The city is also rich in cultural heritage, museums, hotels and monuments.