The 10 most beautiful villages in Eastern France
Head to the East of France to visit some of its most beautiful villages. From Alsace and its communes with colorful half-timbered facades to Champagne and the Vosges, this part of the country has some nice surprises in store for lovers of architecture, picturesque atmosphere and good food. We love the villages for their intimate atmosphere, their identity, to stroll through the streets and to stop at the terrace of a café or a restaurant. Here are 10 villages in the east of France to put on your list of places to see at least once in your life.
1- Essoyes, Aube
The town ofEssoyes is located at the border of the South Champagne and Burgundy regions. It is famous for inviting visitors to dive into the world of the illustrious Renoir family. Aline Charigot, model and then wife of Auguste, was indeed a native of the village. So much so that he bought a house there that it is now possible to visit, in addition to his studio and the Espace Renoir cultural center. The walk in this small town of character is very pleasant, with streets lined with pretty stone houses, and the banks of the Ource river populated with half-timbered houses. A setting that inspired Auguste Renoir in his time, and we quickly understand why.
2- Riquewihr, Haut-Rhin
Riquewihr is one of the must-see villages for all those who wish to be moved by the beauty of the Alsatian villages. Located on the Alsace wine road, Riquewihr is a medieval city surrounded by vineyards classified as Grand Cru: the Sporen and the Schoenenbourg. If the surrounding green nature undoubtedly adds to the charm of the city, the heart of the village reveals picturesque streets lined with half-timbered houses built from the 13th to the 18th century, and where appear here and there stores of craftsmen and wine growers. The Dolder, emblematic monument of Riquewihr, not only offers a beautiful view of the village, but also houses a museum retracing the history of the city and its evolution from the 13th to the 17th century.
3- Sainte-Ménehould, Marne
Located at the borders of Champagne and the Argonne forest, the village of Sainte-Ménehould has a long history, which can be discovered with pleasure in the museum of Art and History. The village was totally destroyed in 1719, before being rebuilt in an 18th century architectural ensemble from 1726. The most remarkable monuments today are the town hall, the Viard-Morel Hotel and the museum. It is also in Sainte-Ménehould that Dom Pérignon, the inventor of champagne, was born. A stay in the village is therefore an opportunity to taste great wines, but also to try traditional specialties in some of the great restaurants.
4- Kaysersberg, Haut-Rhin
This village on the way to Santiago de Compostela is another jewel of Alsace. It is also home to beautiful half-timbered houses with pastel-colored facades, which we obviously never tire of looking at and photographing. There are also several medieval monuments, and how can you miss the ruins of its imperial castle? By taking the stairs of its impressive dungeon, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the village and the surrounding vineyards. If Kaysersberg can be visited at any season, the village can boast at Christmas to unveil one of the most beautiful markets of the region.
5- Châteauvillain, Haute-Marne
Nestled in a loop of the Aujon river, the town of Châteauvillain has preserved many treasures from its past. Let's mention the fortified enclosures of the 12th and 14th centuries, the remains of the castle of the Middle Ages and the one of the 17th century, the Tour de l'Auditoire which serves as a showcase for the small museum of the city, the wash house with its parquet floor, unique in France, and the chapel of the Trinité and its paintings. Don't forget to walk through the labyrinth of narrow streets and byways. Note that a discovery tour is offered by the tourist office. And for those who still need arguments to convince them, Simone de Beauvoir herself said in her book Memoirs of a Young Girl in Order that "one of my most pleasant memories is a stay I made in Châteauvillain at the home of a sister of my grandmother
6- Mittelbergheim, Bas-Rhin
Mittelbergheim is located on a hillside and in the heart of a superb vineyard. Unlike other villages in Alsace, this one is not particularly famous for its half-timbered houses. There are some, of course, but there are also a lot of pretty, naturally pink facades and Renaissance monuments. A charm that has crossed the centuries to fill with happiness those who like to stroll peacefully in picturesque streets. You should not fail to open your eyes wide, as Mittlebergheim is home to such marvels as eight wooden wine presses. Beautiful stones, love for wine, this village has everything to seduce the epicureans in the soul.
7- Neuf-Brisach, Haut-Rhin
Member of the network of major Vauban sites, Neuf-Brisach is registered on the Unesco world heritage list since 2008. Considered as the major masterpiece of the engineer and architect, its aerial view is intriguing since its fortifications form a perfect star. The ramparts are therefore a must-see. But don't forget to visit the Place d'Armes, the royal church of Saint-Louis and the Vauban museum. Guided tours are also offered so as not to miss any detail of this exceptional city in many respects.
8- Éguisheim, Haut-Rhin
Another typical Alsatian village, resplendent with its paved streets lined with colored and half-timbered houses. We quickly fall under the charm and do not stop strolling, especially as the village is widely flowered, along the streets and on the balconies. You will also inevitably come across the central square, splendid with its fountain, the castle of the Counts of Éguisheim and the chapel of Saint-Léon-IX. For the gourmets, several restaurants propose local specialities. The digestion can be done by going for a walk among the vineyards and the woods which surround Éguisheim.
9- Saint-Quirin, Moselle
It is in the Vosges mountains that we leave this time for a moment spent in Saint-Quirin. The first monument to see is the superb church with two bell towers with three bubbles, a surprising building! From streets to alleys, we discover an abundance of constructions with religious vocation, of which the priory. Once you have finished visiting this "Most Beautiful Village in France", you don't hesitate to go and lose yourself in the surrounding nature, which consists of green hills and mountains. Moreover, a marked out path makes it possible to join an impressive Gallo-Roman archaeological site in forest.
10- La Petite-Pierre, Bas-Rhin
The commune of La Petite-Pierre is located in the heart of the Vosges du Nord Regional Nature Park. One likes to walk in the old part of this small village to contemplate the facades of the houses, before pushing the door of the simultaneous church Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption, whose choir shelters very pretty frescos of the beginning of the XVth century. The castle cannot be visited, but the curious can nevertheless enter the courtyard. The street that leads to the building is pleasant, with its shops and restaurants. The museum of the Alsatian seal and of popular Arts and Traditions, the House of the Pagans which is outside the old town, are other sites to see, before going for a walk in the surrounding nature. We are in the Vosges and the landscapes are superb, between reliefs, forests and lakes.