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Celebrating some of the most charming villages in France

Posted 09 Jun 2017

Rolling through France on two wheels without a care in the world is perhaps the best way to discover the joys of this wonderful country. There is plenty of character and culture just waiting to be discovered in the lush landscapes. Here are some of the most magical villages you'll find on our French tours.

Provence

Provence: Les Baux-De-Provence

The tough-looking cliffs and stalwart, ancient battlements that loom along them are said to have inspired Inferno, the first part of Dante's The Divine Comedy.

There's certainly no mistaking the sheer presence of the mighty rocks, but they're perfectly complemented by the smattering of rust-coloured rooftops and cobbled medieval streets that stretch out below.

This enchanting village remains car-free to this day, and is right in the centre of the Alpilles regional country park. As a result, you'll find plenty of natural beauty as you cycle into the area. Hidden among the peaceful lanes and alleys you'll discover a surprising selection of art galleries, where you can gaze at paintings and sculptures by local artists.

Burgundy

Burgundy: Noyers-Sur-Serein

Nestled in the serene Chablis countryside, Noyers-Sur-Serein is an oasis of history – and an enchanting one at that. You'll bump into monuments of times past just by wandering the cosy streets; even the town hall here dates back to the 17th century.

If you're looking for the perfect spot for some relaxed coffee sipping after a hard day on the saddle, look no further than here.

The gently drooping Tudor houses bow over cobbled streets, broken by the occasional medieval arch; there's something to see after every twist in the road.

Make sure to try the local pastries, gougères (tantalisingly cheesy choux pastry balls) – you might want to pick up some extras for when you get peckish later on. Given the location, a refreshing glass of Chablis wine is almost compulsory too.

Alsace: Eguisheim

Eguisheim isn't what you might call a typical French village. The clue's in the name, and the region. The architecture has a generous dusting of the Germanic, which you can clearly see in the kaleidoscope of pastel hues on the houses, complete with contrasting timber detailing.

It gives the place a joyful, celebratory feel and belies the German influence. The interesting architecture and colours, along with its location in the middle of the region's fertile grape production, has led to this popular commune being called the Cradle of the Alsatian Vineyard.

As well as being named one of the most beautiful villages in France in 2003, Eguisheim contains a plentiful selection of local restaurants (and wines, of course).

If you get the time, pop into Restaurant Le Caveau Des Douceurs for a comfy rustic atmosphere, and sample some regional dishes. Tarte flambée is a type of cheesy flatbread, while choucroute is the Alsatian version of tangy sauerkraut; both are highly recommended.

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