Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   What is your favorite small town in France? (

Jenski Jun 6th, 2007 12:14 PM

What is your favorite small town in France?
DH and I are going to France for 2 weeks in July. Looking to spend some time in a small village somewhere south of Paris (but not Provence). We love food and wine and walking around, bike riding, etc-don't like to do a lot of the typical touristy stuff.

BikerScott Jun 6th, 2007 12:22 PM

We loved Sarlat, in the Dordogne.

Smallish town with plenty of character, lots of other little towns nearby.

Jenski Jun 6th, 2007 12:24 PM

What in particular did you like about it?

TuckH Jun 6th, 2007 12:31 PM

Sarlat is one of my favorite towns in ALL of Europe, not just France...

ira Jun 6th, 2007 12:32 PM

Hi J,

We were very happy in Beynac et Cazenac, which is near Sarlat.

>We love food and wine and walking around, bike riding, etc-don't like to do a lot of the typical touristy stuff.<

Sounds typically touristy to me. :) :)

>What in particular did you like about it?

See my trip report:;tid=34676645

Photos at


cigalechanta Jun 6th, 2007 12:35 PM

In Languedoc, Uzés
in Burgundy, Avallon

Michel_Paris Jun 6th, 2007 12:35 PM

Somewhat South..can I give a somewhat generic answer?

I did a 10 day driving tour of the Loire valley, east to west, following the Michelin Green guide. There are some very nice small towns along the river route, where there is a castle, a few hundred residents, a few restaurants and a couple of hotels. Very scenic, a lot of these places are on smaller I could see biking being a nice option.

Hope this helps,


Celticharper Jun 6th, 2007 12:38 PM

My favorite village in all or France is Bourg d'Oisans at the base of Alpe d'huez about 40 minutes east of Grenoble. It's a tiny village but it's a great base for cycling some of the most famous routes of the Tour de France.

The village itself is compact with several good restaurants, and for higher end accomodations you can go to the resorts on AdH or Les Deux Alpes.

From this village you can ride or drive to many of the surrounding villages for hikes, rambles and walks in the mountains or to explore the many picturesque tiny villages.

When I arrive in Bourg d'Oisans, I feel that I am in my 'French home village".

TuckH Jun 6th, 2007 12:49 PM

Closer to Paris (Loire Valley), another of my ALL Europe favorites is Chinon.

Jenski Jun 6th, 2007 02:13 PM

Great suggestions, thanks! We have been to Paris and Normandy a number of times but haven't explored much in the central/southern part. We are driving to San Sebastian and going to take our sweet time so are looking for some diversions along the way. Can't wait!

tower Jun 6th, 2007 03:14 PM

The little beach town of Bidart is a good place to be en route to San Sebastian...we highly recommend the Villa L'Arche, overlooking the Atlantic and a marvelous beach. The town is 3 miles south of Biarritz..plenty of possibilities for beach walks, and for hiking further inland. You can walk from Bidart to Biarritz without leaving the beach.

Stu T.

nanabee Jun 6th, 2007 03:45 PM

My favorite small town is St.Emillion, which is located in the southwestern part of France. It is famous for it's vineyards (Bordeaux wines). The countryside is quiet and beautiful. The town itself is very quaint and old going back to Roman times (I believe).

AnselmAdorne Jun 6th, 2007 04:26 PM

"... but haven't explored much in the central/southern part ..."

Jenski, the Massif Central is often overlooked. Remote, verdant, and mountainous, it is tranquil and intriguing. You'll find well-marked walking trails, good food, and very few other tourists.

AnselmAdorne Jun 6th, 2007 04:27 PM

Oops, I posted just before adding a link to a trip report we did a couple of years ago:;tid=34742279


Padraig Jun 6th, 2007 04:39 PM

It depends on the day you ask me: Morlaix, La Fleche, Chinon, Fougeres, Les Rosiers-sur-Loire. None of them in the south of France.

RonZ Jun 6th, 2007 06:06 PM

St Jean de Luz.

lemidi Jun 6th, 2007 06:14 PM

Avallon about 2 hours South of PAris in Burgundy. Picutre perfect, good food and pastries and some charming hotels.

bigtyke Jun 6th, 2007 06:20 PM

I have spent time twice in Onzain, near Bloois across from Chaumont. Nice little village. a great place to bike from (my vacations were cycling vacations). I can recommend staying at the Chateau des Tertres ( good restaurants in the area, vouvray wine district is nearby. nice bike ride to Chenonceaux

cigalechanta Jun 6th, 2007 06:25 PM

lemidi, we are going back to a favorite, the Moulin des Ruats for a night before Provence and on.

lemidi Jun 6th, 2007 06:31 PM

cigale, We stayed at Moulin des Ruats several times, with my family then with my husband. I have amazingly fond memories from there and now want to take my kids there. Have a slice of their Apple tarte for me and enjoy your stay.
My uncle used to own a little hotel restaurant in Arcy sur Cure just 10 minutes North of Avallon.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:00 PM.