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MAP: The beautiful French villages you have to visit in 2019

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MAP: The beautiful French villages you have to visit in 2019
Erbalunga in Corsica is one of the must-visit villages in France in 2019. Photo: AFP
16:02 CET+01:00
Fourteen villages in France are battling for the title of the country's "favourite village" in 2019. Here's a closer look at the contenders, where they are in France and why you should visit them next time you're in the area.

Each region in France nominates a candidate and last year’s winner was Cassel in the north. An interesting twist this year is that there is also a candidate from French overseas territory for the first time with an entry from Guadeloupe.

The winner will be chosen on March 21st, but no announcement will be made until it is broadcast on a television programme presented by Stéphane Bern in June.

There are some changes to this year’s competition. The show will now be broadcast on France 3 and it will not be live. This means you have to vote now, right now. Votes can be registered either by SMS (number 3245) or through the show’s Facebook page until the closing date of March 21st.

You can find out more voting here.

This map below shows the location o the 13 villages in mainland France. You can zoom in to find their locations and click on the icons to find out the name and see picture.

These are this year’s finalists:

Overseas : Terre-de-Haut (Guadeloupe)

Lying 10km off Guadeloupe is Terre-de-Haut (pictured below), the largest of the eight small islands that make up Les Saintes. Since the island was too hilly and dry for sugar plantations, slavery never took hold here. Consequently, the older islanders still trace their roots to the early seafaring Norman and Breton colonists, and many of the locals have light skin and blond or red hair.

 

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes : Souvigny (Allier)

Located in the centre of France in the  heart of the historic province of Bourbonnais, Souvigny has preserved a rich architectural heritage, mainly due to its affiliation with the Abbey of Cluny. It became known as the "eldest daughter" of Cluny.

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté : Mouthier-Haute-Pierre (Doubs)

Renowned for its traditionally-produced kirsch, the charming village of Mouthier-Haute-Pierre, is in the heart of the Loue valley in east France, close to the Swiss border. Surrounded by rock faces, the natural setting is simply magnificent.  Mouthier-Haut, with its 15th-century church and its old houses, and Mouthier-Bas, on the river's edge, are within walking distance from each other.

Brittany : Pont-Croix (Finistère)

Pont-Croix is a small town with a population of 1,624 people in the west of France. It is not far from the coast in the Finistère department at the western end of Brittany. This is a municipality that has chosen to focus everything on heritage for its revitalization, explains its mayor, Benoît Lauriou.

Centre-Val de Loire : Frazé (Eure-et-Loir)

Frazé is located in northern France in the northern Loire region. It is a tiny town with a population of just 500 inhabitants. One of its many picturesque assets is its 15th century castle, with its impressive military architecture.

Corse : Erbalunga (Haute-Corse)

Corsica’s candidate is the picturesque hamlet of Erbalunga. Its nickname is  "The painters' nest" as, in the 1960s, this beautiful port village inspired many island painters who came to immortalize it... Today, it is the photographers who pay tribute to it.

 

Grand Est : Les Riceys (Aube)

Les Riceys is a commune in the Aube department in north-central France. It is situated in an important viticultural area, and in particular is known for Rosé des Riceys wine. This  unique town is in fact three former fortified villages : Riceys-Haut, Ricey-Haute-Rive and Ricey-Bas. It has the distinction today of being the largest wine-making village in the Champagne region.

 

Hauts-de-France : La Ferté-Milon (Aisne)

Nestling on the banks of the Ourcq river and dominated by the ruins of an imposing fortress, the charming little town of La Ferté-Milon is a commune in the Aisne department in Hauts-de-France in northern France. Its castle was founded in the late 14th century but never completed because of the assassination of the Duke of Orleans in 1407. It is still very interesting with its impressive façade with window holes, portcullis towers and low reliefs, a particularly remarkable example of which illustrates the Coronation of the Virgin.

Ile-de-France : Bourron-Marlotte (Seine-et-Marne)

This commune in northern France seems to have been occupied since prehistoric times. Traces of human presence such as rock carvings of men and deer have been discovered at La Vignette, an archaeological site located between Recloses and Bourron, now abandoned. In 1234, Berruyer de Bourron, the town’s namesake, welcomed King Louis IX, the future Saint-Louis, to his residence.

Normandie : Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (Manche)

Located on the east coast of the Cotentin, this town of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue in north-west France is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Described as a land of sailors, at low tide, the oyster beds provide a link between the French mainland and another jewel of Saint-Vaastais: the island of Tatihou, a unique point of view for painters for more than two centuries.

Nouvelle-Aquitaine : Mornac-sur-Seudre (Charente-Maritime)

Mornac-sur-Seudre is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in southwestern France near La Rochelle. This picturesque town has already garnered awards for its charm. Formerly a fishing and commercial port, Mornac-sur-Seudre is nowadays mainly about oyster farming and the salt produced by its marshes.

 
Occitanie : Lauzerte (Tarn-et-Garonne)

The medieval city of Lauzerte has been classified as one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" since 1990, due to the quality of its heritage, architecture and environment. Located in southwestern France, it is representing the Occitanie region in this competition.

PACA : Cotignac (Var)

This village in southeastern France is another special one. It spans a cliff and the houses below have been well restored and decorated in a typical Provençal style. Those on the cliff, troglodyte dwellings, have a particular charm. And, from the top of the rock, you get a magnificent panorama over the hills in terraces where olive trees, cypresses, pines and oaks against a background of blue sky.

Pays de la Loire : Le Thoureil (Maine-et-Loire)

Located in western France and stretching along the banks of the Loire river, Le Thoureil boasts oodles of charm. This commune with just 444 inhabitants has been described as a "balcony overlooking the Loire". Dating back to prehistoric times, the local woods are full of megaliths and the river has developed with much touristic trade.

 
 
 
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Noelle - 02 Mar 2019 15:30
You may consider adding to your Beau Villages en France
My village Morteamrt 87330 tres petit mais tres beau.
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