10 of France's most beautiful villages

Did you know that there are over 150 officially recognised 'Plus Beaux Villages de France' (Most Beautiful Villages of France)? From Normandy to Alsace to Provence, here's our selection of 10 villages that make French heritage truly shine.

1. Eguisheim, Alsace

Not far from Colmar, Eguisheim is a major part of the Alsace vineyard landscape, but also a symbol of the region's architecture. The village almost forms a perfect arc and features typical Alsatian half-timbered facades, bright colours and exceptional flowers, which have won it several national and international awards. There's a real concentration of Alsatian heritage here, making it our favourite in eastern France.

2. Veules-les-Roses, Normandy

Further west is Normandy's Veules-les-Roses. Here, the seafront makes the biggest impression, with sandy beaches and water of a thousand shades of blue. The village also offers beautiful walks along its Veuse river, the smallest in France. Its narrow Rue des Moulins and towpaths, in particular, have earned it the 'Plus Beau Village' label.

3. Saint-Suliac, Brittany

Take a breath of fresh air at Saint-Suliac, a few kilometres from Saint-Malo in Brittany. This former fishing village sits on the Rance estuary, a Breton coastal river. There's a small, quiet port, café terraces and plenty of very narrow streets. The village is also the starting point of a path up to Mont Gareau, offering panoramic views of the river and the former Viking camp on the outskirts of Saint-Suliac.

4. Montrésor, Loire Valley

Let's travel further south, to the Loire Valley and Montrésor, the place for peaceful walks along the Indrois which runs alongside the village. Visit the Renaissance chateau of this former fortress and admire its half-timbered houses.

5. Châteauneuf, Burgundy

The impressive 21st-century fortified chateau overlooking Châteauneuf has undoubtedly enabled this small Burgundy village to obtain the 'Plus Beau' label. This charming medieval village is all about its alleys, washhouses, gardens and listed houses. In the distance are the Morvan mountains and the Auxois plain, which unfolds along the Burgundy canal below - the village is perched at an altitude of almost 500m.

6. Bonneval-sur-Arc, Alps

It's a small mountain climb to reach this, the highest village in the Alps' Maurienne valley. A true village resort, there are magnificent stone chalets, superb ski slopes and many activities to fully enjoy the joys of the mountain, all year round.

7. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Basque Country

Further south, between the Basque coast and the Spanish border, is this typical - and beautiful - Basque village. Its architecture and heritage tell its history through the ages: Saint-Jean is a renowned stopover on the Santiago de Compostela trail, and was also a stronghold of the kingdom of Navarre. A charming setting steeped in history and not to be missed.

8. Auvillar, Occitanie

Still in the south of France, between Toulouse and Bordeaux, time to call in at Auvillar, another key stopover on the route to Santiago de Compostela. The entrance to the main village square is through the door of an impressive 17th-century clock tower, leading to a circular grain market typical of Occitanie. From further up, there's a splendid view of the Garonne and its valley. All this makes Auvillar a worthy winner of the 'Plus Beau' title.

9. Les Baux-de-Provence, Provence

Welcome to Provence! Perched in the Massif des Alpilles, this typically Provençal village has just 22 permanent residents, but it attracts many more visitors with its 22 classified historic monuments, making it a true open-air museum. Artistic Les Baux is also full of galleries and the famous Carrières de Lumières, a unique space where works are projected using sound and light technology.

10. Piana, Corsica

Our final stop on this beauty-spot tour of France is on the appropriately-nicknamed 'Isle of Beauty' itself, out in the Mediterranean. Houses in the Corsican village of Piana are arranged in an amphitheatre overlooking the spectacular Gulf of Porto. From here you can gawp at the famous pink granite 'calanques' (creeks), classified by UNESCO. Piana is also a popular starting point for numerous outdoor adventures.