THE FEDERATION of Japanese travel agencies has chosen Riquewihr as the most beautiful village in France.
The commune in the Haut-Rhin was chosen because of its preserved heritage. Little has changed in parts of the town since the 16th century.
The vice president of the Jata federation of travel agents, Jungo Kikuma, said it was a village which had “guarded tradition, but also ramparts and vineyards”.
“From the point of view of tourism, Riquewihr has all the important elements, it’s perfect," he said.
The town is already included on the list of Les plus beaux villages de France.
More than two million people visit it each year, however the number of Japanese tourists visiting France has dropped markedly since the November 13 attacks, with 50% fewer visiting the capital and 20% fewer visiting Alsace compared to the previous year.
Jata polled 400 members who also voted Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Lot as another of the most beautiful villages in France.
Mr Kikuma said that the association would like to see more hotels built in these areas.
“Japanese tourists move in groups, twenty to thirty people. At Colmar and Riquewihr there are not enough hotels to receive them,” he said.