Most Charming Villages in the South of France

Most Charming Villages in the South of France

Southern France’s villages feel as though they have been plucked straight from the most popular summer read or the latest soppy rom-com. From quaint labyrinthian streets and ancient mountainside buildings to flower-filled gardens and picturesque ports, villages in the South of France have captured the hearts of travellers for generations. You’ll find them nestled along the pretty pine-fringed coast, or perched precariously atop a rocky outcrop and there is even a committee that elects the most charming ones every year, but to help you narrow down your choice, we’ve compiled a list of our favourites…


  1. Roussillon
  2. Cassis
  3. Gassin
  4. Port Grimaud
  5. Gordes
  6. Èze



Roussillon sits slap-bang in the middle of one of the largest ochre deposits in Europe and is a must-stop spot for culture fanatics and architecture afficionados. The surrounding russet-coloured cliffs blend beautifully with the burnt-orange buildings that fill the village and have given it the nickname ‘French Catalonia’. The reds, yellows and oranges merge, creating a rouge rainbow which contrasts stunningly with the green of the pine trees and bright blue sky. Wander between lofty, teetering chateaux until you reach Place de la Mairie, a square surrounded by 18th-century houses, which is the perfect place to settle down for a languid lunch paired with delicious Languedoc-Roussillon wine.



Nestled in the shadow of a dramatic rocky outcrop, Cassis is the Balamory of the Riviera, with rows of fishing houses in rainbow shades lining the water’s edge. Although you are more likely to rub shoulders with suave Marseillais enjoying a balmy afternoon tipple than sun-creased fisherfolk, this now swanky village still boasts a lot of its old-world charm. If you are looking for a spot of adventure while in Cassis, don your boots for an afternoon hike up the rocky escarpment that flanks the calanque (cove) in which it sits, or even head out of the village and explore the surrounding countryside with its vine-quilted hillsides that produce mouth-watering whites and rosés. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Marseille, then Cassis is one of the best villages in the South of France to venture to.

Cassis from the sea, France



Gassin’s tiny church acts like a beacon, calling visitors to one of the most charming villages in the south of France. Wander up its winding hillsides, past wisteria shrubs heavy with sweet-smelling flowers and past shutters painted in pretty pastel hues, until you reach a viewpoint that looks out over the Mediterranean glistening in the distance. This hillside haven is not far from the swanky Riviera town of Saint Tropez and if you are there during the sunny summer months, you may see the beautiful Saint Tropez polo ponies prancing through Gassin’s cobblestone streets on the Polo Masters Tour.


Port Grimaud

Port Grimaud is known as ‘Venice of the South of France’. This pretty village just outside Saint Tropez, was a marshland until the 1960s but its winding waterways have come to life since thanks to visionary architecture and hidden secrets and is now a haven for those wanting to explore the many charming villages in the South of France. Hop aboard a little self-sail boat and explore the crisscross canals from the water, passing pastel-hued Provençal-style houses, arcaded galleries filled with waterfront restaurants and Place du 14 Juin, the oldest area in the port.  

Boats in Port Grimaud, France



When you daydream about villages in the South of France, the chances are you are imagining Gordes, nestled in the outskirts of the picture-perfect Luberon Valley and only 30 minutes from Avignon. Its terracotta-roofed houses and white-stone buildings are rooted into the sharp cliff faces that line the mountainsides, creating an enchanting labyrinth of calades (cobblestone streets) for visitors to explore. The remnants of ancient art are dotted throughout the village and a visit to le Château do Gordes is a must for those wanting to take a dive into the Middle Ages and golden Renaissance architecture.



If you are looking for a village in the South of France that makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, then the sleepy medieval village of Èze, just 30 minutes from Nice (when the traffic behaves), is the one for you. This pristine 14th-century village, perched precariously on an impossibly steep peak, is the gem of the Riviera. With whisper-quiet winding alleyways and Amalfi-esque views, Èze has a blissfully calm vibe. Tuck into an al fresco lunch at Fort de la Revère, a WWII prisoner camp, or venture to the Jardin Exotique d’Èze, a cactus garden atop the craggy hilltop village, which boasts a wild panorama of the surrounding landscape.

Eze in the South of France


Written by Immy Kelly