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Last night, the popular programme “Le Village Préféré des Français” was presented by Stéphane Bern on French TV channel France 2. Thirteen villages across France were competing for the prestigious prize, knowing that reaching the top 5 would greatly help the local tourist industry. The favourite village of the French people in 2016 is Rochefort-en-Terre in Brittany.


The Favourite Village of the French people in 2016

The 13 regions of mainland France had entered a village to the competition, all of them having in common a rich historic and cultural heritage.

From 2012 to 2015 there were 22 villages in competition corresponding to the 22 administrative regions of France. From 2016 the number of villages was reduced to 13 to reflect the new territorial division of the country. From an initial four-minute report per village, the 2016 programme was extended to a seven minute feature.

Eguisheim, Alsace © French Moments
Eguisheim, Alsace © French Moments
  • In 2012Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, in the département of Lot (Midi-Pyrénées), was elected as favourite village of the French following a vote in which more than 130,000 people joined on the Internet.
  • In 2013, the great winner was Éguisheim, a village set on the Alsace Wine Route.
  • Then, in 2014 the chosen village was Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Midi-Pyrénées region.
  • Last year the village of Ploumanac’h in Brittany was the great winner of the competition.
  • Last night, 155,551 people residing in France choose their favourite villages for 2016… here is the top 13:

#13: Courances (Île de France)

Chateau of Courances © Patrick Giraud - licence [CC BY-SA 1.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Chateau of Courances © Patrick Giraud – licence [CC BY-SA 1.0] from Wikimedia Commons

#12: Candes-Saint-Martin (Centre-Val-de-Loire)

Candes-Saint-Martin by Manfred Heyde — Personal work, GFDL
Candes-Saint-Martin by Manfred Heyde — Personal work, GFDL

#11: Plombières-les-Bains (Grand-Est)

Plombières-les-Bains © Bertrand Grondin - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Plombières-les-Bains © Bertrand Grondin – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

#10: Sare (Aquitaine)

Village of Sare, photo by 99312607@N00 at Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Village of Sare, photo by 99312607@N00 at Flickr, CC BY 2.0

#09: Île de Béhuard (Pays de la Loire)

Béhuard © HubertduMaine - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Béhuard © HubertduMaine – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

#08: Varengeville-sur-Mer (Normandy)

Church of Varengeville-sur-Mer © Jean-Pol Grandmont - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Church of Varengeville-sur-Mer © Jean-Pol Grandmont – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

#07: Gordes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)

The village of Gordes © Olivier Risnes
The village of Gordes © Olivier Risnes

#06: Nonza (Corsica)

Nonza © Pierre Bona - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Nonza © Pierre Bona – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

#05: Vogüé (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)

Vogue, photo by Markus Braun (Public Domain)
Vogue, photo by Markus Braun (Public Domain)

#04: Arbois (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté)

Arbois © I, Damouns - licence [CC BY 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Arbois © I, Damouns – licence [CC BY 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Situated near the Fontainebleau Forest in the Île de France region, Barbizon is famous for its school of painters where Théodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet resided.


#03: Rocamadour (Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées)

Rocamadour © French Moments
Rocamadour © French Moments

Rocamadour suddenly appears clinging precariously against the cliff above the Alzou canyon. One of the most famous villages of Europe, Rocamadour seemingly defies the laws of gravity. The vertiginous Citadel of Faith is best summed up by an old local saying: “houses on the river, churches on the houses, rocks on the churches, castle on the rock”. A village to discover on our website!


#02: Montreuil-sur-Mer (Hauts-de-France)

Montreuil-sur-Mer © Rainette 62 - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Montreuil-sur-Mer © Rainette 62 – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Montreuil-sur-Mer is a fortified little town built on a promontory above the River Canches. Situated in the Hauts-de-France, Montreuil is famous for its ramparts from the 13th to the 16th centuries.


#01: Rochefort-en-Terre (Brittany)

Village of the French people in 2016
Rochefort-en-Terre, the favourite village of the French people in 2016 © Selbymay – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The great winner of the 2016 edition of the competition is Rochefort-en-Terre in the Morbihan département.  Rochefort-en-Terre is listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages by French association ‘Les plus beaux villages de France’.

The historic village was built on a rocky crest bordered to the North by the Landes de Lanvaux. Rochefort-en-Terre has a number of historic houses, a Collegiate church and a feudal castle originally built in the 13th century.


The favourite village of the French people in 2016: English-French Vocabulary

Nonza 2 © Pierre Bona - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Nonza 2 © Pierre Bona – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • Brittany = Bretagne (f)
  • channel = chaîne (f)
  • to elect = élire (v)
  • favourite = préféré(e) (adj)
  • region = région (f)
  • village = village (m)
  • vote = vote (m)
  • winner = gagnant (m)

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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