French People’s Favourite Village: Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in 2015?


Terracotta rooftops of Saint-Antonin by the Aveyron
Terracotta rooftops of Saint-Antonin by the Aveyron

In 2014, it was Cordes-sur-Ciel in our Midi-Pyrénées region, about 30 km from us. Which village will it be this year? The 2015 candidate for our region is Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Voting in this contest – Le Village Préféré des Français – run by TV channel France 2, closes on 19th May.

Annual Contest

There are 22 candidates for the favourite village title – one from each region of France metropolitaine (mainland France and Corsica). France 2’s website has a write-up for each one, summarising its history, extolling its virtues and showcasing its principal sights. Some, but not all, are Plus Beaux Villages de France.

According to the rules, anyone can vote for any or all of the 22 villages, but you can’t vote for the same one more than once. After 19th May, the weighted votes of a three-person jury of experts will be added to those of the public and the winner declared. See ‘How to vote’ below.

Worthy candidates

Naturally, I am biased in favour of Saint-Antonin, which is only about 12 km away, and noted for its long and turbulent history, well-preserved medieval architecture and impressive Sunday market. It also occupies a strategic spot by the River Aveyron, overlooked by limestone cliffs.

However, I know some of the others and can also vouch for their charms.

Lyons-la-Forêt in Normandy has been the setting for several film versions of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. You eat jolly well at La Licorne (well, you did last time I was there, which is more than 30 years ago).

Saint-Nectaire in the Auvergne was a popular spa town and the imposing buildings bear witness to its former grandeur. It also gives its name to a famous cheese. We stayed there once on a walking holiday.

Saint-Emilion in Aquitaine perches on a hill overlooking the vineyards for which it is famous. The Hostellerie de Plaisance at the top of the town has one Michelin star. We were persuaded into having the menu découverte when we stayed there once and swore we would never eat again. Of course, we did.

Solutré-Pouilly in Bourgogne is one of four villages in the Pouilly-Fuissé wine area. Before we visited, in our ignorance we thought it was one single village. But Fuissé is a separate place; one of the four. To be honest, I don’t remember much of the village, since we were intent on wine tasting. Pouilly-Fuissé is one of my favourite white wines.

How to vote

If you’re interested in visiting the website and voting, here’s the link.

If you’re in France, you can also vote by SMS, dialling 7 3003 and giving the number of the village in the list of candidates (Saint-Antonin is 16) or by telephone: dial 32 45 and put in the village number.

Images of Saint-Antonin

In the meantime, here are some of my photos of Saint-Antonin.

Saint-Antonin - Maison Romane
Saint-Antonin – Maison Romane
Market hall at Saint-Antonin
Market hall at Saint-Antonin
Quiet alley on an October day 2012
Quiet alley on an October day 2012
Tranquil Aveyron at Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
Tranquil Aveyron at Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
Saint-Antonin - one of many stone carvings in the town
Saint-Antonin – one of many stone carvings in the town

You might also like:

Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val: Haunting and Historic Town
Hollywood Comes to Southwest France
A Trip Along the River Aveyron
The Flood of the Century in Southwest France, 3-4 March 1930

Copyright © 2015 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved


    • I’m sure there will be one in your region, maybe not close to you. I am surprised that out of the whole Midi-Pyrénées region, the nominated villages for 2014 and 2015 are both very close to where we live. We do have quite a high concentration of plus beaux villages around here, but I’d be interested to know the selection criteria.


  1. Of course I must be loyal to St Nectaire – partly because I go there so often and partly because our very good friends are makers of the AOC cheese that bears its name. Thank you for drawing my attention to this, I would have missed it otherwise (being, as ever, Dans la Lune 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I rather liked Saint-Nectaire when we visited, although I think it is now a shadow of its former self. I do like the cheese, though. And we can, with some justification, say that we are dans la lune…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your choice looks well in the running, proved by your photos, but I’m going for Bonneval-sur-Arc in Savoie. St Emilion a close second, but too touristy for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clearly, everyone has to be true to themselves. I agree that Saint-Emilion is a bit touristy. I suppose you can ask where isn’t these days? Interesting to see which one wins.


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