Top 10 most beautiful villages in Northern France
As everywhere in France, the Hauts-de-France is full of splendid villages. They are distinguished by the architecture of the houses and the presence of remarkable heritage elements. They can be found on the coast or in the middle of a bucolic countryside, and you can enjoy stopping there to stroll along the narrow streets. It is also an opportunity to discover the shops and enjoy the gastronomy in a restaurant. From the shores of the North Sea to the Belgian border and inland, here are 10 of the most beautiful villages in the North of France, to make you want to go and explore one of the country's most fascinating territories.
1- Wimereux, Pas-de-Calais
Wimereux seduces visitors at first sight. Indeed, it is hard to resist photographing the imposing, colourful Anglo-Norman style Belle Époque villas, which can be enjoyed from the charming promenade-dyke. If the town offers a generally peaceful setting, it is also animated all year round by its ready-to-wear and decoration shops and its food artisans. One also likes to stroll on the beach as well as to indulge in various nautical activities such as paddle and sand yachting. In a few minutes of walk, you can enjoy an exceptional natural setting, with groves, dunes and cliffs rich in an incredible biodiversity.
2- Gerberoy, Oise
Gerberoy is classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France and walking around it, you quickly understand why. Brick houses stand side by side with colourful half-timbered houses. The whole forms an enchanting setting in which it is good to stroll and where one has the impression of going back in time. The village also has a rich vegetation, like the many roses which, when they bloom, bring colours and pleasant scents. The Charlemagne tower, the ramparts, the vineyard on the heights of the city and the terraced gardens of the Sidaner are all elements not to be missed, and which contribute to make Gerberoy one of the most beautiful stops in Northern France.
3- Pierrefonds, Oise
Pierrefonds owes its fame to its imposing 14th century castle which was extremely well preserved and restored by Viollet-le-Duc. A listed, romantic and fascinating place which is the first stop for visitors. But it is in fact the whole village that you should not hesitate to walk around, thinking of contemplating the houses, the church of Saint-Sulpice de Pierrefonds and the old station of Pierrefonds-les-Bains, disused and today registered as a Historic Monument. And then, a passage in the village is the occasion to pass to the lake of Pierrefonds close by, where the nautical activities go well in the beautiful days. Not to mention the proximity of the forest of Compiègne, conducive to peaceful hiking.
4- Parfondeval, Aisne
This village, also classified as a Plus Beaux Village de France, shines with its pretty red brick buildings topped with slate roofs. The fortified church of Saint-Médard, built in the 16th century, offers a scenography that allows the curious to better understand its history and that of the fortified churches of Thiérache. The House of tools of yesteryear reveals more than 2,000 tools of the craft and rural life of the early 20th century. After a stroll through the narrow streets, there is nothing like going to the surrounding countryside to get some fresh air. It is made up of corn fields, orchards and pastures
5- Wissant, Pas-de-Calais
This commune is part of the jewels of the Opal Coast that we like to join to breathe the sea air. The history of Wissant goes back a long way, and we have the opportunity to see archaeological traces of the time when Caesar set up his camp there. From a stroll through its streets and alleys, we retain the beauty of fishermen's houses and seaside, stone or timber-framed. Later on, you can go to the beach which, in winter as in summer, is always full of people for a walk or for kitesurfing. Finally, there is nothing like a stay in Wissant to enjoy the local gastronomy, welsche and other mussels and chips.
6- Cassel, North
Cassel is a town whose history began in Antiquity. The walk starts with the discovery of its fortifications, before going to the foot of the collegiate church Notre-Dame-de-la-Crypte, whose origins date back to the 10th century. We are then very close to the Grand'Place of Cassel, a place where the inhabitants and visitors meet at any time of the day to have a drink or a bite to eat. You are then in perfect condition to take the road to Mount Cassel, from where you can enjoy magnificent views of the village and the beautiful nature around. Cassel was the favourite village of the French in 2018.
7- Cayeux-sur-Mer, Somme
Back along the coast of northern France to Cayeux-sur-Mer. The walk through the village will take you to admire the town hall, the railway station, the Saint-Pierre church and the Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer chapel. You then go to the beach to enjoy the splendours of the Bay of the Somme, one of the most beautiful bays in the world. In Cayeux-sur-Mer, the stretch of sand is famous for its boardwalk and its more than 400 colourful cabins. Finally, it is impossible to plan a stop in the seaside resort without going to see the Brighton lighthouse, all dressed in white and red.
8- Maroilles, North
The village famous for its cheese with a strong character is also one of the most beautiful in the North of France. It has a remarkable heritage, including several chapels and oratories. It is also a multicolored town between the gray of the stones, the red of the bricks and the blue of the slates on the roofs. Among its monuments, let's mention the mill of the abbey of Maroilles, the tithe barn, the church of Saint-Humbert and the triumphal arch which since the beginning of the 19th century pays tribute to Napoleon's victories. Of course, a trip to Maroilles includes tasting its eponymous cheese, which is creamy and has a strong taste. To digest, walkers can leave the village and go to the bocage, made of green meadows where cows live in peace.
9- Audresselles, Pas-de-Calais
Audresselles is one of the pretty fishing villages of the Opal Coast where it is pleasant to walk in the streets lined with stone houses or white facades, with shutters tinted with blue, green and other shimmering colors. The town also houses the superb church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, built in the 12th century. Being built on an elevated part of the village, one can enjoy a beautiful sunset over the sea in the evening. Visitors are also keen to get to the beach, to fish or simply lay on the sand on sunny days. And Audresselles is not far from Cap Gris-nez, which offers superb walks and breathtaking views.
10- Montépilloy, Oise
The village of Montépilloy is inhabited by only a hundred people, but they are all proud to welcome visitors to show them their castle. The medieval building dominates the county of Senlis, and its remains include an incredible keep, a curtain wall with machicolations, an entrance châtelet and an enclosure with a polygonal ditch. But the visit of the commune could not be summarized only with this simple treasure. Indeed, the whole village is full of charm, with its old houses, the watering hole opposite the castle, the tithe house dating from 1543 and the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church