Place. More than just a location on a map. Some places become a part of who we are.
There are five small towns in France that have become a part of my personal geography.
As travelers, this is what we seek. Somewhere that impacts the way we see everything else. And everywhere else.
Here are five small towns in France that changed my life:
This beautiful city is located in the Charente-Maritime department of southwestern France, and is just along the Gironde estuary. There are two parts of town. The old city is on the cliff and includes the traditional architecture of southwestern France, and has many small shops, a church, boulangeries, and friendly the office of tourism! The port is along the estuary, and has extremely cute bars, cafes, restaurants, and the most amazing antique shop ever.
It is the people and the view that make me love this place. Moragne-sur-Gironde is one of the five small towns in France that changed my life because after my 1 week of living there, I could not get it out of my mind. Everyone from the friends I lived with to the baker we got our baguettes from every morning treated me with kindness. Even an old lady who loved to talk to me, in French, about the flowers in her yard.
One evening I stumbled upon a field of sunflowers. Overlooking an old Christian Monolith and the sun setting over the Gironde estuary, I will never forget this place.
This beautiful Gironde department city in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France stole my heart immediately. (Pauillac Office de Tourisme).
When you are riding your bike into Pauillac, the first thing you think is, “is this real life?!” This is one of the five small towns in France that changed my life because if how much I blossomed as an explorer and global citizen within it. With the small shops and lovely estuary-fronted cafes, I wouldn’t often chose to spend my early-morning journal and coffee time anywhere else.
But let’s not forget, the world famous wines that this city produces. It has 3,000 acres of vineyards. Not only that, but three of the Bordeaux’s Five Premier Cru Wines ( Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Mouton Rothschild.)
Saint-Estèphe is bordering Pauillac just to the north. So, this could be #2.5 BUT Saint-Estèphe holds a large enough part of my heart that it could be 3, 4, &5. (Office du Tourisme).
There are so many beautiful chateaux to visit Saint-Estèphe. Along with the Maison du Vin, there may not be many more things to see in the “town” proper. But, having lived in this town for two months, I couldn’t not include Saint-Estèphe on my list of small towns in France.
Heading up to the North of France, let’s sip some Champagne. Épernay is a commune in the Marne department in northern France. It is closest to the Reims, France. But it can also be referenced as 130 km west of Paris.
The feeling that comes with this small French town is one that inspires 4 kisses in everyone you meet. The bubbles mixed with the beautiful surroundings makes everyone very happy!
The biggest deal about all of Épernay is the Avenue de Champagne. All of the BEST champagne in the world is made here, and it is a pleasure to see. The architecture is heavily influenced by the German-inspired parts of France. Nevertheless, Épernay is one of the Frenchiest cities I have visited. (Office du Tourisme).
Other than a few short nights in Saint-Estèphe, Monbazillac is the first of all the Small Towns in France that I became familiar with. To this day, it is where my favorite wine is grown.
Monbazillac is in the Dordagne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. It is near Bergerac, another beautiful town in France.
Monbazillac is full of beautiful people and tasty wines. (Maison du Tourisme).
What is your favorite town in France? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
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