There are thousands of towns and villages in all regions of France that are of interest to visitors - and very often the principal reason for visiting! Below you can find and explore our favourites, the most popular and the most visited of these - just select a region or department to begin:
The Jura department, which together with Doubs to the east makes up the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, has a great deal to offer the visitor with lakes and mountains, castles and picturesque villages among the highlights.
The Doubs department, in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, is perhaps not the best known part of France but should be better known - it has lovely scenery, interesting historic towns, several important monuments and picturesque villages.
Charente is a 'quiet' department in terms of visitor numbers, best known for offering the chance to enjoy peaceful and unspoiled countryside and the towns of Cognac and Angouleme.
A fascinating mix of scenic splendours such as the cliffs around Etretat, coastal resorts and historic towns such as Rouen, the Seine-Maritime department of Normandy is also very accessible and home to numerous historic monuments and gardens of interest.
The Eure department of Upper-Normandy contains two of France's most loved destinations - Monet's gardens at Giverny and Richard the Lionheart's Chateau Gaillard - as well as several other interesting towns, castles and villages set in the peaceful countryside
There are several maps of France on this page - please select the one you are interested in:
Morbihan is surely one of the most varied departments in France, with prehistoric monuments and important historical towns and castles standing in contrast to the ever popular ports and villages, beaches and islands along the coast and around the Gulf of Morbihan. This region of southern Brittany is definitely a department with something for everyone...
The Luberon region of Provence is famous the world over, for its outstanding natural beauty, with craggy limestone hills, olive groves and forested valleys but above all for the numerous beautiful medieval hilltop villages.
Alsace is a lovely and fascinating region of eastern France to explore, with impressive cities such as Strasbourg and Colmar, the Alsace wine route to follow, historical castles set on isolated hilltops, pretty villages sitting quietly in the vineyards and forests of the region, and large areas of protected and scenic countryside
The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is one of the most scenic departments in Provence, with the dramatic Gorges du Verdon (France's own Grand Canyon) and the Verdon Regional Natural park to the south, the more eastern of the Luberon hill villages to the south-west and the ruggedly beautiful Mercantour National Parc to the north-east.
From the French riviera resorts of Nice and Cannes to the mountains of the Alps, passing through scenic hill villages and dramatic craggy scenery, the Alpes-Maritimes is one of the most diverse and beautiful departments in France.
While it is the famous towns and castles at Angers and Saumur that get most of the attention in Anjou (the historical name for Maine-et-Loire) don't forget to explore the quiet countryside and the small villages elsewhere in the department to get a real flavour of this picturesque region of France.
Aquitaine is among the most diverse regions of France, with magnificent long Atlantic surfing beaches, cities such as Bordeaux and Biarritz, the largest forest in France, and the lovely countryside of the Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne departments, dotted with medieval villages, wooded valleys and medieval castles
The Ardeche has a landscape that includes rolling hills and forests, open moorland and small scale farming, and craggier landscapes with cliffs and steeper hills. There are lots of picturesque ancient villages to explore and the department also includes one of the most scenic highlights in France - the Gorges of the Ardeche - unmissable!
The Ariege Department of southern France is quite isolated and relatively unknown by visitors although it contains a great deal of very attractive scenery, especially in the south-east of the department where the landscape rises into the Pyrenees mountains, and several interesting medieval towns and villages.
The Aude department of Languedoc-Roussillon has many highlights for visitors, including the the cosmopolitan city of Narbonne, numerous picturesque villages, the extraordinary medieval fortified town of Carcassone and a great deal of scenic natural beauty, as well as the dramatically located cathar castles and their associated legends!
With volcanic landscapes and mountains, picturesque villages and castles, the Auvergne region has a very distinctive character that grows on you the more you explore. Among other highlights don't miss the pilgrimage town at le Puy en Velay.
It is the countryside of the Aveyron that best defines its character - not mountainous yet never flat, with deep green valleys falling between forested hillsides hiding rivers and villages unchanged with the centuries - except for the extensive Aubrac plateau to the north-east, a remote and dizzyingly large area that stretches as far as the eye can see and has its own particular charm and beauty
Brittany has an exceptional coastline with many beaches, fishing villages and islands, a remarkable historical heritage to be seen in the towns and villages and some of the finest prehistoric landmarks in the world - just a few of the reasons why so many people visit Brittany year after year!
The coast of Brittany is very beautiful, with a perfect mix of white sandy beaches suitable for swimming, attractive rocky coves and pools to explore, and dramatic cliffs and rock formations to enjoy. Off the coast there are several islands that are also a pleasure to explore.
The Burgundy region has a fascinating mix of unspoiled countryside, historical towns and monuments, many of them a result of the illustrious and wealthy past of the region, and is also well known for the exceptional Burgundy wines produced here
Many of the most famous chateaux in France are in the Loire Valley, and for many people that is reason enough to visit - but it is not the only reason! There is attractive countryside, interesting towns to explore, and the River Loire itself is now a listed World Heritage Site - all very good reasons to pass time exploring this popular region.
It is not hard to guess why the Champagne region is famous, since the world's most celebrated party drink is loved the world over and many visitors like to see where champagne is produced. But as you will discover there is much more to the Champagne-Ardenne region than a bottle of bubbly!
Charente-Maritime is a very popular summer destination, especially La Rochelle which is a lovely town set around a bustling harbour, and Ile-de-Re which is popular with families looking for a sunny beach holiday.
South of Paris and between Burgundy and the Loire Valley, the Cher department is best known for having one of the most famous cathedrals in France at Bourges - although wine lovers might prefer to head for the vineyards of Sancerre to sample the local wines...
With great scenery, perfect walking and cycling opportunities, traditional unspoiled towns and some of the most beautiful villages in France, Correze is one of our favourite French departments - but don't tell anyone because its undiscovered charm is part of the appeal!
Some of the world's finest beaches, spectacular mountain scenery and fascinating towns and marinas - these are just some of the reasons why the sun-kissed 'Isle of Beauty', as Corsica is known, is such a popular destination...
The Cote d'Azur (or French Riviera) has long been one of the great attractions for visitors to France, for the glamour, sunshine, beaches and sophistication of resorts such as Nice, Saint-Tropez and Cannes - a reputation that is well deserved. The Cote d'Azur is a lovely region to explore, with many less known gems to discover among the more famous.
One of the most popular and historically wealthy regions of Burgundy, highlights in the Cote d'Or department include the Abbey at Fontenay, quaint villages such as Flavigny and important historical centres like Dijon. Wine enthusiasts will also enjoy exploring the vineyards along the Route des Grands Crus such as Beaune and Nuits-Saint-Georges.
The Cotes d'Armor department of northern Brittany is most visited for its stunning coastline including the 'coast of pink granite' and many beaches, while the attractive historical towns such as Lannion and Dinan provide a fascinating glimpse into the long and colourful history of the region
The Dordogne has stunning medieval castles, historical villages and towns, and the famous prehistoric caves of the UNESCO listed Vezere Valley to enjoy, each of them set in the attractive landscapes of the region, with rivers, forests and beautiful countryside, so it is no surprise that the Dordogne is one of the most popular destinations in France!
The coast of Pyrenees-Orientales has long sandy beaches and traditional fishing towns such as Collioure, so why explore elsewhere? Because inland you will find the mythical Mont Canigou, picturesque river valleys and Ceret, the town where Picasso lived and its impressive art museum!
Visiting the Eure-et-Loir department between Paris and the Loire Valley, be sure to visit the famous cathedral at Chartres - but also allow time to enjoy the tranquil countryside of the region, so often passed by in the rush to reach the chateaux of the Loire further west
With an extensive and often very scenic coastline and numerous small fishing villages and coastal islands to explore as well as historic towns and villages it is easy to see why Finistere is so popular with visitors. It is a little harder to reach than some parts of Brittany, but well worth the effort!
Between France and Switzerland, between plains and mountains, Franche-Comté has some interesting towns and villages - and some impressive scenery with vineyards and lakes, forests and mountains, as scenic backdrop
With Ancient Roman monuments such as the amphitheatre at Nimes and the aquaduct at Pont du Gard, fascinating towns including the fortified town of Aigues-Mortes, beautiful villages and the scenic beauty of the Cevennes National Park and the north of the department there is a great deal to discover when you visit the Gard.
The historical region of Gascony (now the Gers department) is one of rolling countryside, of low-key agriculture and fields of sunflowers, of quiet roads and peaceful moments. It is an ideal destination for enjoying unspoiled countryside and relaxing away from the tourist crowds, with its fair share of castles, attractive villages and unspoiled market towns to visit
The Gironde department of Aquitaine in south-west France has much to offer the visitor from the grand city of Bordeaux to the largest sand dune in Europe, and from 'classical' coastal resorts like Arcachon to the famous wines of the Medoc and Saint-Emilion vineyards.
Haute-Garonne has a great deal of interest to visitors, from the beautiful red-brick architecture of Toulouse to the dramatic scenery of the high Pyrenees - truly something for everyone!
Named after the Loire river that crosses the department, the Haute-Loire department is best known for the very attractive pilgrimage town and historic monuments at Le Puy-en-Velay, but spend a while exploring and you will discover and enjoy many less visited and very attractive highlights in this picturesque department...
The Hautes-Alpes department in the Alpine mountains of northern Provence is a year round destination for the outdoor enthusiast, with the dramatic mountain scenery ideal for hiking, canoeing, cycling, skiing and other sporting activities. There are also numerous small towns and villages to explore across the department.
In the north of the Hautes-Pyrenees you can visit the world famous pilgrimage town of Lourdes, then travel south to the mountains to discover the beauty of the mountain scenery in this spectacular department
If you are looking for somewhere off the beaten track yet with its own particular beauty - rolling wooded landscapes interspersed with streams and rivers and numerous lakes - the Haute-Vienne department could be just the destination for you. One to discover - slowly!
The Haut-Rhin department of Alsace is visited above all for its many picturesque villages and its vineyards, perhaps best discovered by following the route of the Alsace Wine Route, and for the scenery of the Regional Natural Park of the Ballon des Vosges
A department of many contrasts, Herault has the modern coastal resort of La Grande-Motte to compare with the traditional fishing towns of the Etang de Thau, and the bustling town of Montpellier to contrast with the attractive villages to the interior of the department
Ille-et-Vilaine is most visited for the Emerald Coast and the lovely historical towns such as Dinard, Vitré and Rennes - but be sure to also find the time to explore the rich local history, with legends of King Arthur, prehistoric monuments, medieval castles...
A little way west of the 'famous' castles of the Loire Valley, the Indre has its own surprises: both with the lovely Chateau de Valencay, and the picturesque scenery and quiet villages in the area. A lovely department to unwind in!
Featuring some of the most famous and attractive of the Loire chateaux, Indre-et-Loire is also home to some interesting towns and beautiful villages: perhaps the perfect introduction to the Loire Valley experience!
It is the long, very long (more than 100 kilometres) of Atlantic coast that is the main attraction in the Landes department of Aquitaine, with the fine sandy beaches along the Cote d'Argent perfect for families, surfing, and any other sea-based activity....and also the chance to explore the extensive pine forests of the Landes
From the Pyrenees to Provence and from the Mediterranean to the mountains, Languedoc-Roussillon is surely the most varied region in France, with something for everyone whatever you are looking for and whatever the season!
The lakes and mountains, valleys and forests, interspersed with crashing rivers and small traditional villages all combine to give the Limousin its own very distinctive personality. The unspoiled charm and tranquility make this 'off the beaten track' region well worth exploring...
The Loiret department is forever associated with the history of Joan of Arc, and nowhere more so than in the impressive town of Orleans - but you will also find castles and gardens, villages and historic monuments in all parts of Loiret, so spend some time exploring!
With the chateaux at Chambord and Blois (among almost 25 other castles), part of the protected Loire Valley world heritage site, and numerous other attractions, the Loir-et-Cher department of France is an important destination for anyone exploring the much loved highlights of the Loire Valley
A century after the First World War, the Lorraine region is still associated with the tragic events that took place in the battles in the trenches around Verdun. While this history still attracts visitors, there are also many other historical towns and sites of interest, attractions and natural parks in the region to discover!
Lot-et-Garonne is perhaps the France that you always hoped existed but could never quite find - medieval villages and sunflower fields, quiet roads and small farms in gently rolling countryside. One of the 'best kept secrets' in France!
The Lot department is a land of beautiful landscapes of dramatic gorges, slow moving rivers, numerous beautiful villages such as Puy-l'Eveque and Rocamadour, and the vineyards of Cahors - other natural highlights included the Upper Dordogne Valley and the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park. Largely unspoiled by the passage of time, the Lot department of France is a delight to discover and explore.
Normandy has many charms, from the beautiful countryside and the lovely local architecture to the historic highlights such as Mont Saint Michel and Chateau Gaillard, and the attractive cliffs and beaches along the coast. Important sights such as the Normandy Landing beaches and the Bayeux tapestry are also very popular and Normandy is truly a region with something for everyone!
The Lozere department of northern Languedoc-Roussillon is best known for its dramatic and unspoiled scenery such as the Gorges du Tarn, one of France's most impressive natural highlights, and the numerous pretty villages to explore in the scenic surroundings.
One of the most fascinating and scenic regions of France, this extensive medium-altitude region encompasses scenic landscapes of enormous diversity from the volcanoes of Puy de Dome to the Gorges de l'Ardeche, and many attractive hamlets and villages, often tucked away in remote locations. One of our personal favourites!
With lovely scenery, outdoor activities, picturesque villages and historic towns, and more lovely scenery the extensive Midi-Pyrenees region of southern France has something for everyone - except beaches!
It is above all for the natural highlights, the wooded valleys, forests and small scale agriculture, lakes and waterways, that visitors come to the Nievre department with the Morvan Natural Parc in particular being a popular and attractive region for walking, cycling and appreciating the Burgundy countryside.
There are several popular highlights in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, including the resorts such as Le Touquet and the city of Lille, and a great deal of countryside to enjoy - so come and explore!
The north-east of France, with the Picardy, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine regions, is often passed through quickly by visitors rushing towards the south of France and sunnier climates - but take a moment to slow down as you pass through! The region contains lots of interesting sights and towns well worth exploring!
With many of the most beautiful places to visit in France, Provence has scenery and highlights to satisfy the most discerning visitor. With the dramatic mountains of the Alps, unspoiled medieval villages clustered among the olive groves and many other highlights there is an enormous choice of things to enjoy - or you can just relax on the famous French Riviera beaches!
Everyone loves Paris, as much for its boulevards, cafe life and romantic atmosphere as for the more famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. But how do you make the most of a visit when you only have limited time available?
From the historic castles and towns of Angers and Saumur to the family-friendly beaches of Vendée, passing perhaps by the vibrant cities of Le Mans and Nantes and enjoying the peaceful countryside and villages along the way, the Pays-de-la-Loire is a region which really does offer 'something for everyone'
Picardy, in the north of France, has a great deal to discover in terms of both natural scenery and historical monuments, with beaches and cathedrals, villages and extensive forests to enjoy and explore.
The Poitou-Charentes region of western France is one of the sunniest regions in the country and very popular with visitors. Among the highlights on the coast are the island of Ile-de-Ré and the fascinating historical town of La Rochelle, while inland you can discover the fields of sunflowers and quiet villages for which the region is known.
On a clear day, the views of the volcanoes around Puy-de-Dome are among the most beautiful and familiar in France - but don't overlook the many other scenic highlights and traditional French towns elsewhere in this picturesque department
The Rhone-Alpes region features much of the greatest scenery in France, from the high Alps of the Savoy region to the lavender fields of the Drome and the stunning Gorges de l'Ardeche. A great outdoors destination!
Visit Saone-et Loire to experience a quieter region of Burgundy, experienced most famously in the reflective calm of Cluny abbey and Paray-le-Monial, but also in many of the towns and villages and scenic highlights of this tranquil department.
Tarn-et-Garonne, north of Toulouse, has an interesting selection of towns and villages to discover with some fascinating architectural highlights such as the cloisters at Moissac, the 'red' centre of Montauban, and the unusual circular market hall at Auvillar.
The Tarn is a quiet and peaceful department and very much a 'transition' between the Mediterranean region to the south-east and the greener, if cooler, regions of south-west France. There is much to enjoy among the towns and villages, set in the steep forested valleys and rolling fields of the region, with highlights including the historical town of Albi and the hilltop village of Cordes-sur-Ciel.
This popular region of southern Provence includes beautiful coastline, famous resorts such as Saint-Tropez, and many other interesting coastal towns and villages
The Vaucluse department of Provence is the ideal destination if you enjoy visiting traditional Provencal villages perched on craggy hilltops and important historical sites such as Avignon and Orange, set in impressive natural scenery.
The Vendee is loved by both French and foreign visitors as a centre for family holidays on the long, gently sloping sandy beaches and for the popular family entertainment
Vienne has a famous abbey at St-Savin-sur-Gartempe, the historical town of Poitiers, the pretty village of Angles sur l'Anglin and various other attractions to explore - but it is for something much more modern that most visitors discover the Vienne department: the very popular theme park at Futuroscope, one of the most visited in France!
With the castles at Tanlay and Ancy-le-Franc and the important abbeys at Vezelay and Pontigny the Yonne is rich in historical monuments - but don't forget to allow time to visit some of the very attractive towns and villages here such as Noyers and Avallon, and to try some famous wine in the Chablis vineyards
The Bas-Rhin region of Alsace features the attractive city of Strasbourg, numerous picture-postcard villages, and several dramatically located hilltop castles - a region to to discover!
The Bouches-du-Rhone department is an interesting and varied region for visitors to south-west Provence, from the bustling centre of Marseille to peaceful hill villages, and with the beautiful coastal scenery of the calanques and fascinating towns such as Arles and Aix-en-Provence to explore.
The Pyrenees-Atlantiques has several 'personalities' which together make a fascinating destination: the Atlantic coast around the towns of Biarritz and St-Jean-de-Luz; the pretty villages and outdoor activities in the Basque country; and the Pyrenees mountains.
Isere is best known for the winter sports, mountain passes and ski resorts in the east of the department. A large part of the department has impressive mountain scenery making it a popular destination with outdoor enthusiasts for most of the year.
Stretching from Lyon to Geneva and the border with Switzerland, the Ain department has a very wide range of attractions from the mountain scenery of the Jura to the bird-spotters paradise of the Dombes plateau - and a great deal in between!
Rich in both history and natural beauty, Calvados is home to the Normandy landing beaches and the Bayeux tapestry, several very popular coastal resorts and lovely countryside. A perfect region for relaxing - or exploring!
Relatively undiscovered compared to the coastal regions of Normandy, the Orne department has a great deal to commend it with large areas of scenic countryside, rivers and forests, and some interesting historic towns and pretty villages to be discovered.
The Manche department of Normandy is best known as being home to the famous island and monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel, but be sure to allow time to explore the coast and countryside elsewhere on the Cotentin peninsula, and the sites of the first Normandy D-Day landings
With its deep wooded valleys, fast moving streams, and unspoiled towns and villages, Cantal is a rural department with much to offer the tourist seeking to explore France 'off the beaten track'.
A largely rural area neglected by many visitors to France, Allier has a unique quiet charm with unspoiled medieval villages, castles and historic towns against a scenic backdrop of hills, rivers and farmland
The Mayenne department loses out in tourist numbers to its more famous neighbours - Brittany, Normandy and the Loire valley - giving more intrepid visitors a chance to enjoy French towns, history and countryside in peace and tranquility!
Although it is not one of the most visited departments in France, the Oise has a good number of historical and religious monuments and castles to discover, impressive scenery represented by large forested areas, and very popular theme parks.
The Aisne department of Picardy was widely affected by the First World War, with large areas of forest and several important towns and landmarks being destroyed during very heavy fighting, but Aisne retains much of interest - both in terms of natural attraction and historic monuments as well as several well known war cemeteries
Facing the Atlantic Ocean in north-west France the Loire-Atlantique department is most visited for its coast that combines modern resorts such as La Baule with the chance to explore and enjoy quainter harbour towns such as Le Croisic, but be sure to also travel inland to explore the towns and natural highlights...
The Somme department of Picardy is often associated with the battlefields of the First World War - but there is much more than these to discover in the department, with cathedrals and castles, beaches and scenic natural environments
While Sarthe is not the most visited department in France, there is much of interest to visitors including the medieval centre of Le Mans, historic towns and some lovely countryside
The Drome department includes the scenic attractions of the gorges and forested slopes of the Vercors Regional Natural Park to the north, and the lavender fields, olive trees and perched villages in the Provencal Drome region to the south - all you have to do is choose between them!
The Loire department has very diverse scenery with the Monts and Plains of the Forez area, the Monts de Beaujolais and the Gorges de la Loire. In the south is the Pilat area, a pretty regional park. Trees cover much of the higher ground as well as a protected area of moorland in the Monts du Forez. Orchards and vines are common on the lower slopes.
With Chambery and the Regional Natural Park of the Massif des Bauges to the west, and the exceptional mountain scenery of the Vanoise National Park and high quality ski resorts such as Val d'Isere to the east, the Savoie department has some of the most stunning scenery in France and is the ideal destination for enthusiasts of the great outdoors!
Stunning mountain scenery including Mont Blanc, the beautiful city of Annecy and the villages and scenery around Lake Geneva combine to make the Haute-Savoie one of the most stunning departments in France, for both summer and winter visitors
The Rhone department includes the historic city of Lyon and the rolling countryside of the famous Beaujolais wine region. Pretty villages in the land of the 'golden stone' make the area north of Lyon a pleasure to visit.