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Contest for ugliest places in France reveals top contenders

The organisers of the ugliest towns competition (La France Moche) have revealed a list of buildings and sites that could win the less-than-desirable ‘ugliest’ title

The tongue-in-cheek ‘Ugly towns’ award and Twitter account is run by Paysages de France, which highlights ‘ugly’ installations, signs, and buildings, including this wall in Montalieu-Vercieu Pic: Karamysh / Shutterstock

A list of the ‘ugliest’ sites, buildings or places in France have been revealed by the same organisation that gives out an annual award for the ugliest towns in the country.

The ‘La France Moche (Ugly France)’ brand is a tongue-in-cheek account run by the association Paysages de France, which mainly communicates via its Twitter account.

It regularly highlights examples of ugly towns or installations, and often draws attention to issues such as too many signs or advertisements along the side of a road.

Over the past few weeks, it has been highlighting buildings and other sites that it feels deserve the less-than-flattering ‘ugly’ title.

So far, some of the standout sites on the list include (in no particular order):

The L’Isle-d’Abeau train station

Commenting on the Isère station’s unusual design, the Twitter account wrote sarcastically: “There is scaffolding, but I’ve never seen the work start.” The façade dates back to 1985.

The Lycée Sainte-Marie in La Verpillière

The building in Lyon was already voted the country’s second-most ugly lycée by comedy site Topito in 2016. The La France Moche account posted the image without comment. Perhaps the building was enough of a statement?

The Pont Saint-Michel in Bourgoin-Jallieu

The bridge in Isère was posted with a simple message, in reference to the bridge’s removal: “One piece of good news: This thing no longer exists.”

Passageway at the Lycée Léonard-de-Vinci

The bizarre sculptural monument was compared ironically to the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.

A giant apple

The account highlighted the less-than-beautiful sculpture of an apple in Bougé Chambalud ( Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), which aims to celebrate the region’s local produce.

Strange sculptures

One Tweet showing some bizarre sculptures sparked a series of replies from other users. 

One reply showed a sculpture of a children’s ride in Charvieu-Chavagneux (Isère), with the caption: “Perfect for the beginning of a dystopian TV series.”

Another submitted a photo of a roundabout sculpture of nails hammered into the earth in Rugles (Normandy). 

Blocky buildings

Also mocked by the account included the 1970s-style Palais de Justice in Annecy, and a car park in Grenoble (both Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes).

Ski sadness

The account also lambasted a number of ski stations for their tower blocks, with the cheeky question: “Who said mountains were beautiful?”

Horror hotels de ville

Late last week, the account took the time to curate a series of photos of less-than-beautiful Hotel de Ville buildings…

Poor pompiers

And a few days ago (February 12) simply posted a photo of this pompiers station in Limoges (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), with the caption: “Limoges. Our firefighters deserve better!”

Special mentions over the years

The account tends to poke fun at towns’ bizarre use of signage or installation of buildings or advertisements that seem to appear without much consideration of their overall appearance.

In 2021, the group gave a special mention to the mountain town of Villard-de-Lans (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), for its installation of a light-up screen projecting an image of the ski station landscape…in front of the real landscape.

Last year, it also highlighted the town of Montalieu-Vercieu for what it said was a particularly ugly array of signs and advertisements on a wall at the entrance of the town. 

However, the mayor of the town took offence and made an official complaint to the Paysages de France association for what he called an “attack on reputation”.

If you have any ugly contenders you feel we simply must draw attention to near you, please email them to with the subject line ‘Ugly France’. We may highlight them in a future article.

Related articles

Prix de la France Moche: Why is there an ‘Ugly Towns’ award?

Billboards: Are these the four 'ugliest' towns or villages in France?

More towns take away street advertising signs in France 

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