The 10 villages you should know about – 5 first!

Sauzon

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Almost 1000 inhabitants give amazing colors to the city of Sauzon. It is one of the 4 villages located on the astounding island of Belle-Ile-en-Mer (Beautiful island on the sea). The flowered harbor was built on a glittering cove. Strolling along the village’s promenade, you’ll admire the Presque Ile de Quiberon. For those who glides, you’ll be heading to the sandy Donnant beach with a surfing board under your arm. Visiting Belle-Ile under pastels shades will surely take over your heart. Visit the local tourist office website.sauzon2

Sauzon by the blog of Comptoir de Belle Ile, offering fine products in the area

Cordes-sur-Ciel

You will feel like someone steering through time as you pass by the sumptous medieval stone houses and residences of Cordes-sur-Ciel. The village, found in 1222 by the Count of Toulouse (it is only 50km away from there), looks like it is waiting for the sky to uproot it from its solid anchoring to the hill.

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The village perched on the top of a hill, image from the Tourist Office

Nestled in an area covered with forests and natural parks, it is a perfect stop to discover the surroundings and notably the Pyrenees mountains. Just like a succession of wonders, others perched villages have some ancient stories to tell (Castelnau-de-Montmiral, Lisle-sur-Tarn or Rouergue for instance). The timeworn constructions will probably unleash your emotions and capture your imagination…. and if you feel like poising into the air, you might even want to consider seeing the region from a balloon…(here).

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If you love walking, you’ll also appreciate its surroundings. Image from the Tourist Office

Bonneval-sur-Arc

A friend of mine could describe it better than I will here. It is about the passion for mountains and altitude and a sincere desire to discover the profound feeling of completeness after reaching a summit. Stone-slab roof and lace wood-carved patterns do the rest.

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Superb picture taken by Philippe 38 on Panoramio. You should visit because he has other stunning pictures of the Alps.

The majestic landscape of the area highlights the pure beauty of Bonneval-sur-Arc. Ideal spot for all the ones who are born with studded feet, it is also a paradise for those that rather glide. In the winter, it is also a very-well reputated ski resorts that will keep you away from the massive crowd in the famous Val d’Isere or Tignes. The low-key area offers a very large range of activities that I encourage you to discover here. For all those who are a bit mushy like me, the village has also been chosen by Nicolas Vanier to shot Belle and Sebastien, the flamboyant history of a privileged relationship in between an orphan and a stray dog during the Second World War. Another French classic to discover!

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Bonneval beauty in the summer, picture by the tourist office

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

 Nearby the rivers often flourish the most prosperious cities, serving the drifting boat hauling the long-awaited supplies. Saint-Cirq-Lapopie was one of those and appealed different dominant families of the surrounding dynasties during the Middle Age. As a result, several castles were erected, perched on the hill and dominating the paved cities and its steep-sloped flat tile roofs.

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Image from the Tourist Office

Thirteen monuments in the village are now listed as historical buildings and the memory of the ebbulient craft activities (skinners, coppersmiths) remains unscathed as open arcades and workshops have been preserved.

Visit the tourist office website.

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Image from the Tourist Office

Piana

Beside its beautiful white facades and charming church, what makes Piana really stand out are its craggy ochre mountains that throw themselves into the sea. The indented relief is stunning and creates unexpected shapes (see pictures). The coves have been recognized by the UNESCO as belonging to the world natural heritage. If you would like to discover the creek from even closer and grant your eyes with a perfect match of ocher and turquoise, planning a boat trip in the Natural Reserve of Scandola  is probably a great idea.

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Because Corsica is very warm in the summer, you might consider driving up to Ota and start the famous walk along the cristal-clear river (Gorges de Spelunca). Bathing there is a real refreshing delight.

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The area of Ota

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The rocks got some good creativity

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