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These are the French villages most searched on Google

With spring in full flow and several bank holidays on the horizon, which French villages are the most popular?

Giverny is France is famed as being the home of Monet Pic: Pack-Shot / Shutterstock

With travel well and truly back on the cards after a tough couple of pandemic-ridden years, getaways to rural France are becoming ever more popular. 

 Read also: Tourism bounces back as France rakes in €58bn from foreign visitors

 TV shows like ‘Help! We bought a Village’ which follows people who have bought big houses or entire estates in countries including France are likely to contribute to the increasing interest in idyllic French locations with visitors from abroad. 

 Meanwhile, these rural holidays are also hugely popular with French people themselves - it is well known that Paris practically empties in August as people flee the city for their summer holidays. 

 As we move into spring, there are lots of bank holidays on the horizon in France meaning people will take advantage of the chance at a short getaway. 

 Read also: When do France’s May bank holidays fall this year?

 And now we can find out which villages are the most popular destinations, thanks to holiday rental comparison site Likibu which has analysed Google Trends [in regards to summer 2022] to find out the most searched villages in France. 

 These are the 10 most searched villages in France, according to Likibu.

 1. Rocamadour, Occitanie 

 As one of the most visited sites in France, it is unsurprising Rocamadour in the department of Lot was by far the most searched French village over the past 12 months, with 110,000 searches. 

 Perched on a clifftop, every year it attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world who come to see its numerous religious sites such as the Black Madonna statue and the Basilica of Saint-Sauveur. 

 The Grand Escalier staircase is very popular with tourists, as is the Forêt de Singes (Forest of Monkeys), where macaques roam free!

 With 630 inhabitants, there is only one street in the village which houses shops and restaurants. 

 2. Gordes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Situated in the department of Vaucluse, Gordes is another French commune popular with tourists, having been searched 60,500 times over the past year. 

Residents of the village are called Gordiens and are well known for their support of Resistance fighters during World War Two. 

Read also: Idea to revitalise rural areas in France: the ‘smart village’

The village was therefore awarded the Croix de Guerre (War Cross) after the conclusion of the war. 

In the 50s and 60s, the village’s spectacular scenery attracted lots of artists - and its arty reputation remains today. 

3. Giverny, Normandy 

You may recognise Giverny from the paintings of Monet, the village having inspired much of the artist’s famous work. 

With such a celebrated painter associated with its name, Giverny of course remains popular with artists today, with many people travelling to the village in the hope of capturing some of Monet’s magic in their own paintings. 

Located in the Eure department in Normandy, it became home to the artist Claude Monet after he spotted the village from a train window. 

His presence in the village inspired other Impressionist artists to move there too, and their influence combined is surely behind the 60,500 Google searches over the last 12 months. 

4. Les Baux-de-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Les Baux-de-Provence is another well-searched village located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, however this time it is in the Alpilles mountains in the Bouches-du-Rhône department.

Often referred to as Baux, it was searched 58,200 times last year with many of the 1.5 million yearly visitors keen to explore the mediaeval ruined castle at the top of the village. 

Despite its huge numbers of tourists, the population of the village is actually very small, with around only 500 in the whole commune. 

5. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

We return again to the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, with Moustiers-Sainte-Marie situated in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department. 

The village has been named as one of the “most beautiful villages in France” by the Les Plus Belles Villages de France association. 

A golden star hangs above the town and dates back to the 10th century, according to legend. Of course, it has been replaced numerous times since then. 

Forming part of the Parc Naturel Regional du Verdon, it’s name as one of the most beautiful villages in France is certainly attracting tourists, with 40,600 searches last year. 

6. Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

People are certainly keen on the south of France, with the sixth most searched village once again located in not only the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, but in the Vaucluse department, like Gordes. 

It is well known for its mining of ochre which is found in the clay surrounding the village. 

Its description as “a magical place” with a “surprising palette of flamboyant colours” surely helps to inspire the 40,500 searches it racked up last year. 

7. Riquewihr, Grand Est 

You would be forgiven for thinking this name looks more German than French - the village of Riquewihr is located in the department of Haut-Rhin which borders Germany and Switzerland. 

This mediaeval village sits in the heart of Alsace’s vineyards and was searched 40,500 times over the past year. 

It is often referred to as the “Gem of Alsace Vineyards”, and is home to many wine-tasting shops which line the village’s cobbled streets. 

Read also: Grants up to €80,000 available to open shops in rural France

8. Veules-les-Roses, Normandy 

Situated in the Seine-Maritime department, Veules-les-Roses has been a popular holiday destination since the 19th century. 

Following through the seaside farming village is the Veules, France’s smallest river. 

Loved by artists including Victor Hugo, the popularity of the village lives on today - Veules-les-Roses was searched 39,600 times last year. 

9. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Nouvelle Aquitaine 

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department is one of the most significant villages on the Camino de Santiago. 

This is because it is located at a meeting of the River Nive, and has roads that lead to all over the Basque Country. 

The starting point of the Camino Frances, the village saw 39,180 searches last year. 

10. Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Occitanie

The UNESCO village Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert in the Herault department attracted 38,080 searches over the past 12 months. 

It was built around the Gellone Abbey which is a symbol of Languedoc Roman art and which is still home to two relics. 

Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is also well known for its dramatic gorges, which can be explored by kayak or canoe. 

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