PHOTOS: Villages selected for new ‘favourite in France’ title

The public is invited to vote for their favourite on the shortlist in the 12th annual TV contest

A split image of four of the shortlisted villages
The public’s favourite village is crowned from the shortlist, on the France 3 TV show (clockwise from top left: Ry, Grignan, Collioure, Aregno)
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The 12th annual competition to find France’s ‘favourite village’ has begun, with 14 villages in the running for the title, which is set to be announced on France 3 next month.

The competition takes the form of a TV show by presenter and promoter of the award, Stéphane Bern.

A village from each mainland region, as well as Corsica and Guadeloupe, is selected to represent that area. From that shortlist, one overall winner will be announced on the show.

The public is invited to vote for their favourite until 23:59 on March 8. You can vote by phone on 3245 (extra charges of €0.80 per minute apply, plus the usual cost of a call) or on the France Télévisions website. You can only vote once.

The 2023 winner was Esquelbecq (Hauts-de-France), while Bergheim (Haut-Rhin) triumphed in 2022, and Sancerre (Centre-Val de Loire) won in 2021. The first ever winner was Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (Midi-Pyrénées) in 2012.

The 14 villages in the running this year are (in no particular order):

Ry, Seine-Maritime

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Bridging the river Crevon, this village has characterful houses and shops with their half-timbered and brick buildings. The centrepiece is the 12th-century church of Saint-Sulpice, but the village is also known as a source of inspiration for legendary writer Gustave Flaubert and his novel Madame Bovary.

Mers-les-Bains, Hauts-de-France

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One of three 'sister' seaside resorts on the Channel coast, along with Eu and Le Tréport, this village lies on the border between the Hauts de France and Normandy regions, and offers panoramic views from its 95-metre-high chalk cliff. With traditional houses, an immense pebble beach, boating, and surfing.

Thomery, Ile-de-France

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On the edge of the Fontainebleau forest and the banks of the Seine, the small village of Thomery owes its fame to its production of ‘golden Chasselas’, considered a luxury grape from the 18th century; and the favoured location of 19th century artists as a peaceful, charming haven away from Paris.

L'Île-Tudy, Brittany

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Once an island, l’Île-Tudy has been linked to the mainland since 1852, and is now one of Brittany’s most popular seaside resorts and former fishing villages, with narrow streets, and distinctive stone or white-painted houses, as well as long, sandy beaches.

Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire, Centre Val-de-Loire

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Nicknamed the 'port of Chambord', this was once the entry point for all the materials needed to construct the iconic Château de Chambord four kilometres away. Today, tourists come for cycling, canoeing, and kayaking on the Loire, and to sample ‘silurid’, the region's freshwater fish.

Sallertaine, Pays-de-la-Loire

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Located between land and sea in the Breton marshes near the Atlantic Ocean, this ancient island takes its name from the salt marshes that once surrounded it. Also home to a wide range of heritage crafts, a 12th-century Romanesque church, and working mill.

Monthermé, Grand-Est

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Perched on the Meuse River, Monthermé is the starting point for a number of hiking trails, as well as boat hire adventures. With a 15th century church, and abbey that used to house monks with medicinal herb expertise, the village is now home to many talented artists.

Cléron, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

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According to legend, this tree-nestled village is named after a bugle given by Charlemagne's grandson to a valiant knight who had fought for the village lands. Also home to a hamlet dedicated entirely to local cheeses: the Hameau du fromage.

Grignan, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

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Described as “a real pearl” in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region; with abundant sunshine, medieval history, narrow streets, lavender fields, truffles, and Renaissance-style chateau.

Collioure, Occitanie

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A small Catalan port on the Côte Vermeille, at the southernmost tip of the Occitanie region. A former fishing village, it favours colourful boats and houses, many of which are inspired by the work of the artist Henri Matisse, who chose Collioure as his home town in the summer of 1905, with André Derain.

Villeréal, Nouvelle-Aquitaine

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One of the 300 bastides (fortified towns) in south-west France, with history linked to the brother of King Saint-Louis, Alphonse de Poitiers, who founded it in 1267. At the centre is the majestic covered market hall, and Notre Dame church; and there is also an equestrian centre, stud farm, and racecourse.

Gassin, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur / Shutterstock

Perched 200 metres above sea level on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, this village offers uninterrupted views across the bay. With winding lanes (and the world’s narrowest street, at just 29 cm), a Mediterranean botanical garden, and access to picture-perfect beaches.

Aregno, Corsica

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Clinging to the mountains, this village has a 12th century church (Sainte-Trinité), a listed historic monument with an uninterrupted view over the bay. With cobbled streets, orange and almond trees, the village is also a stunning base from which to try hiking, Corsican food specialities, and beach sports.

Deshaies, Guadeloupe

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A small fishing village on the edge of the Caribbean Sea, Deshaies only received a national road in 1957. Its Caribbean-style wooden houses are painted in bright colours, and its attractions include golden sandy beaches and a botanical garden, which is home to exotic plants and stunning parrots.

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