While top French cities such as Paris and are on every traveler’s bucket list, it’s the charming little towns and villages that steal the show for those looking for a non-touristy vacation in rural France, complete with stunning views, centuries-old architecture, and authentic local cuisine.
Here are four must-see towns if you’re keen on an offbeat holiday in the French countryside.
Beaune in Burgundy:
While the Burgundy region is famous for its signature wines, its picturesque towns and villages are a haven for discerning travelers looking to experience France at the grassroots. The local way of living offers a delightful experience of French life at its slowest best.
Visit the beautiful walled town of Beaune for its old-world architecture, some of the country’s best red wines, and cozy little eateries that conjure up the best in French cuisine for locals and tourists alike. The airports nearest to Beaune are the Geneva and Lyon airports and the Basel/Mulhouse Euro Airport. From there you can take an airport transfer to the Beaune city center.
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in the Rhônes Alpes:
Located at the base of the highest mountain in southeast France—the famous Mont Blanc— Chamonix is a global hub for skiing and other winter sports. In fact, it is one of the country’s oldest ski resorts. The commune is abuzz with activity nearly the whole year round, with skiers arriving from all corners of the world.
Its beautiful chalets add to the experience of visitors looking for a wholesome French experience in the heart of the country.
Josselin in Brittany:
Located right next to the River Oust, this charming commune is famous for its ancient castle and old-world half-timber buildings. Spend a day enjoying authentic French life at the town square or climb up the bell tower for an unbeatable view of the picturesque landscape—an afternoon in Josselin is a must-do if you’re in Brittany.
There are many small airports in the vicinity if you need to travel to Josselin directly, such as the Gare de Rennes and the Rennes.
Whether you’re flying into Josselin or going by road from a nearby city, book an airport transfer or city tour in advance to avoid the trouble of haggling with local taxis or waiting in line for a cab during the peak season. By pre-booking with a professional service provider such as Click Airport Transfers, you will save both time and money.
Colmar in Alsace:
Located in Alsace, a wine region in France right next to the German and Swiss borders, the fairytale town of Colmar is both a feast for the eyes and a haven of gastronomical delights. Its mystical winding lanes, brightly painted buildings and medieval architecture lend this quaint French town an air of old history mixed with an urbane vibe that’s rare to find.
Colmar’s Christmas market is not to miss if you’re going in December. And while you’re there, you can’t miss visiting the Renaissance-style House of Heads.