We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Southern France idealic small towns to stay

Wanaka, New Zealand
Level Contributor
10 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Southern France idealic small towns to stay

Hi

We are looking for a true small authentic French town to stay in for 5 weeks, we don’t need the big tourist spots just a relaxed quaint village feel.

Current ideas is around the Beziers area in southern France , any suggestions welcome

Mentioned in this post
Beziers
Beziers
Herault, France
France
France
Europe
14 replies to this topic
Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
1,983 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

First of all, do you want a mid sized town with a village feel (like medieval) or a true village ? For villages around Béziers there are obvious choices : Saint Guilhem le Désert, La Couvertoirade, Olargues, Minerve, Lagrasse... All historic villages with a medieval atmosphere. Not many shops or restaurants, some don't even have mobile reception. Out of all of those, Olargues feels the most authentic. It hasn't been run over by tourism, while Minerve and Saint Guilhem can be really busy in summer.

Mid sized towns in the area don't really have a village feel, like Nîmes or Narbonne. Only a few towns have that feel, and they're mostly around Dordogne : Sarlat, Figeac, Albi... People always want that authentic village feel but also want plenty of restaurants and shops. It's not easy to find.

Mentioned in this post
La Couvertoirade
La Couvertoirade
612 Reviews
Millau, France
Minerve Hotel
Minerve Hotel
800 Reviews
Paris, France
Lagrasse
Lagrasse
Aude, France
Narbonne
Narbonne
Aude, France
Dordogne
Dordogne
Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Figeac
Figeac
Lot, France
Albi
Albi
Tarn, France
Montreal
Level Contributor
3,055 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

Pézenas might be an interesting option for you.

Antibes, France
Level Contributor
11,086 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

Small villages in the South of France are certainly quaint and idyllic but I am not sure 5 weeks is a good idea...unless you need time and space to write a novel ..and can live on a diet of red wine and goat's cheese.

Ed

Mentioned in this post
France
France
Europe
Berkshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Avignon
Level Contributor
14,980 posts
147 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

Matthew K- you mention town and village - much different things ro me.

You might consider Uzès, a small town; it now seems to be firmly fixed on the tourist trail, but it has just about everything needed for everyday living. Plenty of shops, cafés, restaurants, boulangeries plus cinema, lots of medieval buildings, 2 markets each week. Buses to Nîmes and Avignon and other smaller places, so not too far from other places to explore. Best outside high season, otherwise hot and crowded in the summer months - July and August.

Mentioned in this post
Avignon
Avignon
Vaucluse, France
New York City, New...
Level Contributor
7,552 posts
501 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

I view the term “village” to apply to smaller places with a couple of main streets and maybe one or two restaurants and a boulangerie.

I view “towns” as bigger, maybe a couple of dozen restaurants and cafes, some pubs/bars with some amount of nightlife.

Look at the town of Aups. Very real feel but you won’t get bored after 5 weeks.

Mentioned in this post
Aups
Aups
Var, France
Barcelona, Spain
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Berlin
Level Contributor
21,615 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

We once stayed two weeks in a gîte in Saint-Jean-de-Buèges, doing lots of day-trips (including to Cirque de Navacelles, Saint Guilhem, Nimes, Montpellier and to the Cévennes) . There was an 18km drive along a narrow, windy road to the nearest supermarket in Ganges, which was also the way to the "main road" to do most of those day-trips. I'm not sure if that is the kind of place you are looking for? https://www.escapadeslr.com/lieu-saint-jean-…

I have to say that after that experience, when looking for holiday rentals (eg in the Black Forest) I always checked that there was more than one easy way to get to the village, rather than always having to do the same route!

We were in Sarlat a couple of weeks ago, and it is absolutely delightful but definitely a big tourist spot. Figeac was a lot quieter (and also attractive). Cahors on a Sunday was pretty dead. But none of them are villages.

A friend of ours used to live in Sorède in Roussillon, quite near the coast (at Argeles).That is fairly untouristy, but not as quaint as some of the other places in the area (probably the two things are related!)

Edited: 11 June 2018, 00:03
Mentioned in this post
Cirque de Navacelles
Cirque de Navacelles
598 Reviews
Saint-Maurice-Navacelles, France
Nimes
Nimes
Gard, France
Montpellier
Montpellier
Herault, France
Ganges
Ganges
Herault, France
Black Forest
Black Forest
Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Figeac
Figeac
Lot, France
Roussillon
Roussillon
Gordes, France
Cambridge, United...
Level Contributor
1,411 posts
207 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

Idealic???

Is this some NZ word I’ve not come across before? Can’t find it in the dictionary so please tell us what it means.

Antibes, France
Level Contributor
11,086 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

Stuart..I did interpret this word as "idyllic".But "idealic" seems a good word, if not in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Ed

Edited: 11 June 2018, 03:07
Mentioned in this post
Oxford
Oxford
Oxfordshire, UK
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
28,356 posts
95 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

Quaint villages are mostly tourist economies; the local economy of barging or whatever has long yielded to people turning barges into their houseboats and their cottages into gites.

Pontorson, France
Level Contributor
248 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Southern France idealic small towns to stay

How incredibly fortunate to have five weeks to station in the south of France. Truly, you'll be able to take in so much by giving yourself the time! Well done! You want to be near Beziers? Its a busy city, and not so small... Personally I'd head just west of Toulouse in a wonderful town called Mirepoix. On THAT side you'd be stumbling upon all manner of historical material with the Cathars. It has everything, plus medieval. Check it out. Or closer to Beziers I'd vote for Arles - even over Avignon (which I love). The area is superb. There are countless gites that could house you throughout the region. And, St Maximin Ste Baume is a wonderful town, and home of the Basilica of Mary Magdalene and the Grotto - Much awaits you:)

Mentioned in this post
France
France
Europe
Beziers
Beziers
Herault, France
Toulouse
Toulouse
Haute-Garonne, France
Mirepoix
Mirepoix
137 Reviews
Occitanie, France
Arles
Arles
Bouches-du-Rhone, France
Avignon
Avignon
Vaucluse, France
Saint-Maximin
Saint-Maximin
Oise, France
Hotel Baume
Hotel Baume
474 Reviews
Paris, France
Reply to: Southern France idealic small towns to stay
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted