Since it was founded in 1982, the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France has grown to include a network of 172 members in October 2022. These are villages, communes or even former communes spread across 70 départements and 14 regions. There are six of France's most beautiful villages in Alsace. I've had the opportunity to visit them all, and I'm delighted to present them to you in photos!
France's Most Beautiful Villages in Alsace
Six villages. There are (only) six communes classified as France's Most Beautiful Villages in Alsace. You'll admit that's not a lot when you know Alsace. The historic and cultural province is home to a myriad of charming and charming villages. Some are famous and attract crowds of tourists, while others can be discovered by surprise off the beaten track.
Click on the image below to discover them on a map of Alsace:
Located around ten kilometres south of Wissembourg, off the main road to Haguenau, Hunspach is renowned for its remarkably well-preserved architectural unity. The beautiful half-timbered houses are all whitewashed. They have white shutters and jerkinhead roofs.
In 2020, Hunspach was named The Favourite Village of the French by Stéphane Bern on France 3.
But the village has a long history of recognition. As far back as 1978, Hunspach was declared a "village where life is good" in the programme La France buissonnière on Antenne 2 (you know, the forerunner of France 2)!
The wine-growing village of Mittelbergheim sits atop a hill dominated by the ruins of Andlau castle. More than half of the village is planted with vineyards, whose wines are highly prized, particularly the Zotzenberg Grand Cru.
The distinctive feature of the village is its buildings. Most of the centre of Mittelbergheim is made up of stone houses built between 1540 and 1630 in the architectural style of the Rhenish Renaissance, which was in vogue at the time.
In 2018, Mittelbergheim came second in the France 2 programme Le Village Préféré des Français, presented by Stéphane Bern.
Bergheim is one of the few villages in Alsace to have preserved its medieval double walls almost intact.
You'll love walking along the ramparts and finding your way through the maze of medieval-looking streets.
Bergheim is a village in bloom, having won the "Quatre Fleurs" label in the French towns and villages in bloom competition.
In 2022, Bergheim won first place in the Le Village Préféré des Français competition, in Stéphane Bern's programme of the same name on France 3.
That same year, Bergheim joined the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, becoming the sixth Alsatian town to be classified by the brand.
The village of Hunawihr occupies a charming site along the Alsace Wine Route. The village owes its fame to its fortified church, perched on a small hill above the village.
This is the church of Saint-Jacques le Majeur, recognisable by its square-shaped bell tower, which resembles a keep (15th century).
A 13th-century rampart still protects the church and the old cemetery that surrounds it. There are magnificent views over the vineyards, the Alsace plain and, in the distance, the Black Forest in Germany.
Known as the Pearl of the Vineyards, Riquewihr is without doubt one of France's most beautiful villages in Alsace!
Its membership of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France dates back to 1982, when the association was founded!
Riquewihr is an Alsatian village renowned for its architectural heritage. It was lucky enough to be spared the destruction of the two world wars.
Today, the picturesque medieval town attracts hordes of tourists, particularly during the summer months.
In 2012, Riquewihr came sixth (out of 22) in the Le Village Préféré des Français competition, in Stéphane Bern's programme of the same name on France 2.
Just 5 kilometres south of Colmar, Eguisheim is a must-visit village on any tour of the Alsace vineyards. Lovers of Alsace wines will appreciate two grands crus: Grand Cru Eichberg and Grand Cru Pfersigberg.
Seen from above, Eguisheim's historic centre appears very round. The Rue du Rempart offers picturesque views of colourful half-timbered houses, while the squares are adorned with Renaissance fountains.
In 2006, the village won the gold medal in the Entente florale, the European competition for towns and villages in bloom.
Then, in 2013, Eguisheim won first place in the Le Village Préféré des Français competition, in Stéphane Bern's programme of the same name on France 2.
10 other most beautiful villages in Alsace
Six villages listed as "France's Most Beautiful Villages" in Alsace? Only six?
Why are there so few listed villages in Alsace?
The reason is quite simple. The most beautiful villages in France are wrongly equated with the French association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.
In a nutshell:
- Localities that are members of the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France are rightly among the most beautiful villages in France.
- On the other hand, not all the most beautiful villages in France belong to the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.
For example, some of the France's most beautiful villages in Alsace are not part of the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, but are just as deserving of the coveted title.
Membership of the association requires compliance with precise, demanding and costly specifications. So it's only natural that many localities are not (or are no longer) interested in joining.
On the other hand, membership of the association provides enormous exposure to the general public, who benefit from the prestigious title of "Most Beautiful Villages in France".
So as not to forget that there are other 'France's most beautiful villages' in Alsace, I have chosen to complete this article with ten other Alsatian towns.
My most beautiful French villages in Alsace
There are so many beautiful places in Alsace that it's hard to choose just ten. But I've risen to the challenge and I'd like to invite you to discover these Alsatian villages - feel free to add your favourites to the list (write them down in the comments below!).
This street village is not far from Wissembourg. Seebach's half-timbered houses with hipped roofs are reminiscent of those in the neighbouring village of Hunspach.
Wangen is a charming medieval village that deserves to be better known. The village is not far from Marlenheim, the northern gateway to the Alsace Wine Route.
In 2014, Andlau came second in France 2's Le Village Préféré des Français competition. Its beautiful half-timbered houses, Romanesque church and fortified castles perched on the Vosges peaks make it an interesting cultural stop-off between Obernai and Sélestat.
One of France's most beautiful villages in Alsace (but not listed!), Dambach-la-Ville boasts a large number of 16th and 17th century half-timbered houses, including the famous "Sermonnet" house.
Not to be confused with Kintzheim (Bas-Rhin), the village of Kientzheim now belongs to the commune of Kaysersberg-Vignoble. It is one of the few villages in Alsace to have preserved its medieval walls.
North of Turckheim, Niedermorschwihr is definitely one of my favourite Alsatian villages. Drowned in the vineyards, the village can be recognised by the twisted steeple of its church. Discover the many colourful half-timbered houses.
Few tourists are aware of the existence of this village between Colmar and Rouffach. However, Gueberschwihr is well worth a visit for its streets lined with beautiful 16th and 17th-century houses, some in stone, others half-timbered.
The village-street of Hirtzbach stretches along the Hirtz stream, giving the locality a certain charm. There are some beautiful half-timbered houses to discover along the stream, as well as the chapel of Sainte-Affre, at the very top of the hill.
The historic town of Ferrette is a must-see in the Sundgau, the rural area in the very south of Alsace, on the border with Switzerland. From the church of Saint-Bernard, the main street leads up to the Place des Comtes. From there, a path climbs up to the castles of the Counts of Ferrette. Panoramic views over the Sundgau, the Alsatian Jura, the Vosges and the Black Forest.
Find out more
Here are a few links to articles on the blog that may be of interest to you: