10 most beautiful villages of France in the Périgord
In 2022, there are 168 labelled villages Most beautiful villages in France spread throughout France.
In the Dordogne, there are no less than 10 listed villages that bear witness to the region's exceptional heritage. Indeed, if each department had the same number of villages, there would be some 1,000 listed villages in the whole of France.
Limeuil, Saint Léon sur Vézère, Saint Jean de Cole, Saint Amand de Coly, Belvès, Beynac et Cazenac, Castelnaud la chapelle, La Roque gageac, Monpazier and Domme...
Would you like to discover these villages? We invite you to discover the very complete article of the blog Honey pack your bags which details each of the most beautiful in France in the Dordogne
But do you know what the "Most Beautiful Villages in France" designation means? Where does it come from? And how does one become one of the most beautiful villages in France?
History of the Plus beaux villages de France designation
The "Most Beautiful Villages in France" (pbvdf) is a label awarded by the eponymous association based in Collonges la rouge in the Corrèze, a neighbouring department of the Dordogne.
It was here in 1981 that the mayor of the village, reading a book from Reader's Digest in which 100 small villages in France, including his own, were presented, decided to contact the other mayors of the villages presented in the guide in order to set up the association "Les plus beaux villages de France" (The Most Beautiful Villages of France) and thus to promote the heritage and culture of the small villages in France. 66 mayors responded to his call and together they created the association which quickly became an institution and even a brand.
The members of the association define precise specifications and rigorously examine the applications of villages wishing to receive the label.
Becoming Plus beaux villages de France
To become a "most beautiful village in France", a village must have fewer than 2,000 inhabitants, at least two protected monuments or sites (classified as historical monuments or remarkable sites, for example) and demonstrate a strong and collective motivation on the part of the municipal council to join. Obtaining the "Pbvdf" label is not easy: only 20% of the applications examined by the members of the association and an expert committee are successful. Furthermore, every 6 to 9 years, the committees re-examine the member villages and decide whether to maintain or withdraw the label.
As a guarantee of quality, the accession or maintenance of a village in the association is based on a charter of 27 objective criteria.
The twenty-seven evaluation criteria for becoming a Most Beautiful Village in France
In general, the criteria assess the quality of the village's heritage, its overall architecture, its surroundings and the enhancement process.
1 Listed sites and / or outstanding heritage sites
2 Listed sites
3 Protected building elements classified in full
4 Protected building elements listed in full
5 Partially protected built elements
6 Quality of the surroundings and access to the village
7 Size and compactness of the built fabric
8 Homogeneity of the built fabric
9 Size of the road network and diversity of paths
10 Harmony and homogeneity of the built volumes
11 Harmony and homogeneity of roofing materials
12 Harmony and uniformity of roof colours
13 Harmony and homogeneity of facade materials
14 Harmony and homogeneity of facade colours
15 Presence and diversity of small heritage
16 Existence of an urban planning document and/or control of urban planning
17 Quality of the planning document and planning policy
18 Quality of building rehabilitation
19 Control and treatment of advertising and signs
20 Treatment of public spaces
21 Planting, flowering, landscaping
22 Highlighting heritage features
23 Organisation and control of parking
24 Organisation and control of traffic
25 Discretion of electrical networks
26 Discretion of telephone networks
27 Aesthetic treatment of street lighting
Other villages worth visiting...
As you can see, being labelled Plus Beaux Villages de France is a guarantee of quality, but it is also a real process and a desire to join the label. Of course, towns like Sarlat, Bergerac and Périgueux are far too big to join...
Many villages, dozens in fact, although not classified, are equally worth a visit...
To help you discover them and draw up a list, there is a very simple criterion: the presence of a tourist office... the receptionists will advise you and will certainly be able to guide you towards the most beautiful nuggets of the Périgord.
Find here all the tourist offices of Dordogne listed by the departmental tourism committee.