Normandy's prettiest villages

In Normandy, six villages have been awarded the Plus Beaux Villages de France (meaning “France's most beautiful villages”) label. They are all set in idyllic surroundings and have a rich cultural heritage. These villages are yours to explore and enjoy so follow the guide!

Barfleur (Manche)

With its granite houses and quays, Barfleur is one of France's most picturesque fishing ports. Legend has it that the boat that carried William, Duke of Normady, was built here. Visitors come from far and wide to tuck into Moules de Barfleur and fresh local seafood.

Beuvron-en-Auge (Calvados)

Villages rarely come prettier than Beuvron-en-Auge. Tucked away in the heart of the Pays d'Auge, it's the quintessence of everything Norman: colourful timber-framed houses, quint cafés, a relaxed atmosphere and a big apple and Cider festival in October. The village is also famous for its brocantes and antique dealers.

Le Bec-Hellouin (Eure)

Built around the Abbaye Notre-Dame du Bec, Le Bec-Hellouin stands out not just for its religious heritage but also for its lovely setting, its peaceful, well-flowered streets and its colourful half-timbered houses.

Lyons-la-Forêt (Eure)

Located 25 miles southeast of Rouen, Lyons-la-Forêt is a picture-perfect Norman village. Half-timbered houses and beautiful old brick buildings surround a central square which featured in Jean Renoir's film Madame Bovary. Tea rooms, restaurants and antique shops complete the village's offerings.

Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei (Orne)

This dreamy little village snuggles into a lush valley and is set in a wooded loop of the River Sarthe. Its quaint beauty has attracted and inspired many artists throughout the centuries. The village even has its own festival which annually celebrates the painters who came to, or lived in Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei.

Veules-les-Roses (Seine-Maritime)

Sitting on the Alabaster Coast, just twelve miles southwest of Dieppe, the picturesque village of Veules-les-Roses is small but infinate. The river Veules, which flows through the village, is France's shortest. Its water is used in ponds for growing watercress from where it finds its way to the sea through a gap in the high chalk cliffs, which overlook a sand and pebble beach. If so many painters, poets and writers fell in love with the place it's for a good reason!

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© Stéphane Marpaud