Most beautiful villages of France… in Touraine Loire Valley
There are currently 157 villages in the “Most beautiful villages of France” network boasting a remarkable architectural and environmental heritage. Three of them are situated in Touraine. The next time you come to Touraine, be sure to head off the beaten track and explore the charming villages of Candes-Saint-Martin, Montrésor and Crissay-sur-Manse.
Candes-Saint-Martin, daughter of the Loire and most beautiful village of France
Situated at the confluence of the Loire and Vienne rivers, the village of Candes-Saint-Martin seems to blend right in with the river that was the focal point of the town’s past glory at the centre of Loire river navigation. Its typical Touraine architecture, featuring white tufa stone and slate, is harmoniously perched on a small hill. Don’t forget to explore the side streets branching off from the busy main street. A footpath will lead you to a fabulous view point. You should also visit the collegiate church and go on one of the traditional boat outings that start from this village, one of the most beautiful villages of France.
Attractions nearby: The town of Chinon and its vineyards, opposite those of Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, and The royal Fontevraud Abbey.
A peaceful break in Crissay-sur-Manse… Most beautiful village of France
Halfway between Azay-le-Rideau and Chinon as the crow flies, this peaceful and simply beautiful village is a little gem. Amazingly, there are barely 150 inhabitants in this village nestled around its former castle and church! We recommend taking a picnic basket (why not round out your meal with some gingerbread or sainte-maure-de-touraine cheese from the local producers?) and settling down comfortably on the grass for lunch. Such peace and quiet! If you fancy staying for longer, there’s a pretty guest house.
Another most beautiful village of France: Montrésor, a “little Poland” in Touraine
With its 11th century fortified castle and interlacing narrow medieval streets in the heart of the Touraine countryside, Montrésor is a picture postcard village. To add to its charms, it has the surprising distinction of being a “little Poland” in Touraine, due to the ups and downs of history. Indeed, two centuries ago, a rich Polish count settled here, purchasing the castle and thousands of hectares of land. Many of his followers joined him over the years. The streets still have Polish-sounding names today and the owners are direct descendants of the count. Foodies should try the village baker’s version of macaroons which follows the medieval recipe. The solar nights in the summer are also worth seeing!
Attractions nearby: The Royal City of Loches and the Beauval Zoo, in Saint-Aignan.