Friday, February 17, 2012

The Most Beautiful Villages of France: Atlantic Coast

Villages across the Atlantic Coast in France are dotted with small white houses and gorgeous hollylocks. It may not seem sound so spectacular, but once you step foot in one of the following five, you will understand why they made the list of The Most Beautiful Villages of France.
Sitting proudly at the tip of Ile de Re island, Ars-en-Ré shines with its 40-m high church steeple. Workers today still continue to farm the famous Fier d’Ars salt marshes, which is what the village grew up around back in the 11th century. Places to visit include: the Church of Saint Etienne, the L’Huîtrière de Ré oyster farm, and of course, the church steeple and salt marshes.
Talmont

Talmont-sur-Gironde
A short drive from Royan lies Talmont sur-Gironde, overlooking the Gironde estuary. The lovely village, founded as a bastide town in 1284 by Edward I Duke of Aquitaine, still has the same layout as it did 700 years ago. Hollyhocks run rampant, as do small alleys and – what else – white houses. Today the symbol of the Poitou-Charentes region, the superb Church of Sainte Radegonde, continues to be protected by ramparts. Catch a tour of this magnificent church, and history and fishing museums when dropping by.

Mornac-sur-Seudre
At a glance, Mornac-sur-Seudre comes off as a typical fishing port. But inside, one will discover more than just boats. The little village devotes itself to oyster farming and the salt produced by its marshes. A stroll around will allow one to discover small white houses and striking pink hollyhocks everywhere. Visitors should see the Church of Saint Pierre, and the marshes (salt, oyster farming, etc.)

La Flotte
All year long, La Flotte endures boats coming and out … and the village wouldn’t have it any other way. The charming port town welcomes boats every day, beautifully lining the shores across cute shops and restaurants. The streets are decked out in flowers and the low-roofed houses’ white painted walls provide a riveting background to the blue and green shutters. Highlights include the Fort de La Prée, Maison du Platin, and remainds of the Cistercian abbey of the Châteliers.
Vouvant's Melusine Tower

Vouvant
The beautiful walled village of Vouvant is sits on a hillside overlooking the River Mère. Legend has it the town’s trademark Tower of Mélusine was marvelously built in a single night by Fairy Mélusine, an ancestor of the Counts of Lusignan. The majestic 11C Romanesque church rightfully deserves a visit. Other places to see include: the Church of Sainte Marie and Nef Théodelin, an exhibition chamber.


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