In this article, I invite you to discover a list of the most beautiful towns & villages in Occitanie France. With its Mediterranean beaches, numerous impressive architectural monuments, small authentic villages as well and spectacular natural territories. Occitanie i the second-largest region of France brings together many unmissable tourist destinations. I therefore suggest that you set off to discover 15 superb villages in the Occitanie, among the most beautiful in France.
Moreover, Occitanie is the French region which has the largest number of villages classified as the most beautiful villages in France. The list that I have put together for you is purely personal but I have tried to make it as exhaustive as possible. In Occitania, heritage is an adventure that awaits you around the corner, which is experienced at the end of the path. Discover our many cities of Art and History ( Nîmes, Lodève, Uzès, etc.) as well as our countries of Art and History ( Catalan Valleys of Tech and Ter, Cathar Pyrenees, etc.). Their heritage is exceptional enough to deserve this national label, and to be brought to your attention in a great spirit of sharing. I hope you enjoy this list of the most beautiful towns & villages in Occitanie France and that it will help you occupy your next weekend.
Towns & Villages in Occitanie
- Castelnau de Montmirail, in Tarn
- Cordes-sur-Ciel, in the Tarn
- Gorges du Tarn Causses
- Sainte-Enimie, in Lozère
Perched above the river, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie seems to be one with the cliff on which it is built. Time has no hold on this jewel straight from the Middle Ages. As you stroll through its alleys, you can’t help but be won over by the elegance of its architecture rich in arcades, staircases, and fortified doors… This listed site has no less than 13 historical monuments and is full of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Declined in a harmonious gradient of browns turning pink under the setting sun, the old stones of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie have also inspired many artists, as evidenced by the various workshops and galleries established in its most beautiful residences. But this village is also cherished by men of letters, notably the poet André Breton who took up residence there and said about it: “I stopped wanting myself elsewhere.
If Auvillar is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Occitanie, it is not for nothing. Its name comes from the Latin Alta Villa, meaning upper town. Indeed, nestled on a promontory, the view from Auvillar is exceptional, over the Garonne valley. The village has experienced many setbacks over time, the scars of which can still be seen today. So set off to discover this History and the buildings still standing like the Clock Tower, built in the 17th century, or the astonishing Halle aux Grains built in 1829.
3. Castelnau de Montmirail, in Tarn
Located in the heart of the Gaillac vineyard, Castelnau de Montmirail is one of the most beautiful bastides in the Tarn. It is one of the getaways that should not be missed when staying in the department. Beyond the magnificent arcade square, you have to wander the small streets to discover the white stone and half-timbered houses. The little extra of visiting the village is its church, which houses the magnificent reliquary cross of the Counts of Armagnac, decorated with 310 precious stones.
It’s difficult to offer a list of the most beautiful villages in Occitanie without including Rocamadour. Present on the route taken by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, Rocamadour is a regional gem. First of all, its construction is more than audacious, at the top of a peak. Then, the beauty and preservation of the places simply leave you speechless. Finally, Rocamadour has been visited for more than eight centuries. Today, more than a million and a half visitors per year come to admire the impeccable medieval architecture. But it is perhaps also for the challenge: a staircase of more than 200 steps will give you a hard time and ultimately give you access to the Saint-Sauveur Basilica and the Saint-Amadour crypt.
5. Cordes-sur-Ciel, in the Tarn
Voted favorite village of the French in 2014, the picturesque village of Cordes-sur-Ciel is one of the must-see sites in Occitanie. In the past, this medieval city was a center of Catharism. Still perched on the Cordais plateau, the village with its winding streets and stone houses has retained, even today, an undeniable charm. Indeed, with its peaceful and warm atmosphere, its greenery clinging to the rough stone houses or even the view it offers over the valley, it is difficult not to enjoy strolling through its magnificent little streets. Furthermore, Cordes-sur-Ciel has always attracted artists and craftsmen, seduced by this magical site conducive to creativity. As you wander through the village and its cobbled streets, you will find numerous art galleries, gardens, and astonishing museums. I also advise you to go to the viewpoint located at the entrance to the village which offers a breathtaking panorama.
A true jewel of Romanesque art, Conquest is an essential stopover during your stay in Aveyron. Nestled in a green setting and bathed by the Douro River, this village seems frozen since the Middle Ages. Here, the cobbled streets, the half-timbered houses topped with their slate roofs, and the sublime abbey church of Conques, dear to the pilgrims of Compostela, make up a breathtaking setting. The latter is also renowned for the treasure of Sainte-Foy which it houses as well as for the stained glass windows created by the world-famous Aveyron artist Pierre Soulages. Besides, what would you say about visiting the stands of the abbey church at night? During this timeless moment, you will benefit from an exceptional view of the building and see its stained glass windows gradually light up to the sound of the organ: a moment that will remain forever engraved.
Bruniquel is a sublime village in Quercy, full of houses in varied styles: in stone or wood, half-timbered or corbelled… Hemming through richly flowered streets, they reveal the formidable architectural richness of the place with their mullioned or twined, arched doors, or even their turrets. The medieval city is also dominated by two enormous castles: the “old” dating from the 13th and 19th centuries and the “young” dating from the 15th and 17th centuries. From these superb architectural jewels, giving pride of place to the Renaissance style, you will admire a sublime panorama of the Aveyron Valley. Film buffs will also appreciate the exhibition dedicated to the film “Le Vieux Fusil”, by Robert Enrico, partly filmed here.
Situated on a rocky ridge dominating the meanders of the Aveyron, Najac stretches along its single street and its old stone buildings spending peaceful days in the shadow of its imposing fortified castle. Surrounded by greenery in summer and winter, this village transformed into a bastide in the 13th century reveals a sublime palette of colors throughout the seasons. Built at the same time, the well-preserved castle has a magnificent circular keep and a terrace offering a panoramic view of the surrounding area. As you stroll through the village, you will admire in turn the Saint-Jean-L’Évangéliste church, the Saint-Barthélemy chapel, and opulent residences, without forgetting the Consults fountain and the Saint-Blaise bridge.
9. Gorges du Tarn Causses
This large municipality was born in 2017 from the union of the smaller municipalities Saint-Enimie, Montbrun, and Quézac. Located in a limestone environment, this large “village” spread over three municipalities has been able to adapt and occupy the territory in a very natural way. Crossed by the Tarn, they have direct access, offering for example outdoor activities such as canoeing or climbing. Their medieval appearance gives them an unmistakable charm. Let yourself be seduced by the narrow streets, the cobbled floors, and the numerous white stone walls.
Like an immense boat moored to a rock, the impressive Lavardens castle seems to watch over this charming medieval town in the heart of the Gers. This stronghold of the Counts of Armagnac dates from the 17th century and still stands out today with its towers, its ocher and brick paving, and its exterior galleries, without forgetting the panoramic view it offers over the surrounding countryside. Wandering through the cobbled and flowery streets of the village, you will stop at the Saint-Michel church, at the Parat washhouse, then walk to the Encapette estate, a wine estate where you can not only taste the wines of Pays des Côtes de Gascogne but also enjoy a magnificent overview of the village and its castle.
The medieval capital of the Périgord Noir, Sarlat-la-Canéda is among the most beautiful in France with its 66 listed monuments. It is home to the convent of the Order of Notre Dame, a sublime town hall, and several Gothic or Renaissance mansions, such as the Hôtel Plamon, the Hôtel Magnanat, and the Hôtel de Vassal. The old Sainte-Marie church, converted into a covered food market under the leadership of the illustrious architect Jean Nouvel, is also one of the city’s highlights. The panoramic elevator of its bell tower also offers a breathtaking view of the city and its many jewels. By discovering Sarlat, you will oscillate between culture and gastronomy. The city also owes its reputation to its food products and its seasonal events: truffle and walnut festivals, goose fest, and local days.
Nestled between green hillsides and the Lot, Estaing is a charming village crisscrossed with picturesque streets, at the top of which sits a majestic castle. Built-in the 13th century around a pentagonal keep, the latter is dominated by an imposing tower offering breathtaking views of the valley. As you stroll through the village, you will admire pretty facades dating from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries and the beautiful 15th-century church housing the relics of Saint-Fleuret, a stop on the paths to Santiago de Compostela. Moreover, if you visit Estaing at the beginning of July, perhaps you will attend the costumed procession, both historical and religious, to the glory of the Patron Saint of the city.
Situated on a rocky terrace overlooking the Dordogne, Carennac is one of the most beautiful villages in France and exudes the sweetness of life. This charming town of medieval inspiration is home to Renaissance houses with sculpted windows arranged around the 11th-century Cluniac priory which hosted Fénelon. You will also discover the Château des Doyens and a pretty Romanesque church, whose tympanum dates from the 12th century. If this village is among the must-sees of Haut Quercy, its surrounding countryside is also worth the detour: herds grazing in meadows surrounded by dry stone walls, caves, prehistoric sites, asparagus fields, walnut groves and, of course, the river to travel by canoe to unlock all the secrets of its fauna and flora.
Located at the foot of the Pyrenees and not far from Luchon, Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges is an ancient Roman and episcopal city that has become a major place of pilgrimage on the paths of Saint-Jacques de Compostela. It is also the only village in Haute-Garonne classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. All the more reason to come and discover its famous Sainte-Marie Cathedral and its houses of character.
15. Sainte-Enimie, in Lozère
The village of Sainte-Enimie developed within a canyon dug by the Tarn gorges. You will discover sumptuous limestone residences there. At the foot of the village, don’t forget to go to the Burle spring which is said to have cured the Merovingian princess Enimie of leprosy. The copper salts with which it is loaded give it such a particular color.