The French Pyrenees are not only famous for their excellent ski resorts - they also boast a wealth of places voted among the "most beautiful villages in France". From the summits to the valleys and the coast, this dazzling nature contains treasures of sacred and secular architecture, regions rich in flavors and traditions as well as villages you will delight in strolling through.

If you venture into these lands of plenty, we promise you exciting discoveries, rejuvenation amid soothing landscapes and wonderful shared moments. Check out the 10 most picturesque villages of the Pyrenees.

  • 1

    Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

    Stroll between the sacred and the traditional

    Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
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    Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, an integral part of the route to Compostela, is both a haven for pilgrims and a delight for history and architecture enthusiasts. The last stop on the Jacobean route before the Spanish border and the Roncesvaux pass, the village is surrounded by pink sandstone ramparts and crisscrossed by medieval streets lined with charming old-fashioned buildings that are easy to explore at leisure.

    Crossed by a beautiful river, the center is the ideal spot for relaxation and contemplation. The old houses decorated with sculpted lintels provide an attractive reflection in the river waters and the pretty shops showcase local crafts and gourmet products of the region, evidence of its attachment to traditions. Basque dances and pelota, the local court sport, are a delight.

    Location: 14 Place Charles de Gaulle, 64220 Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)5 59 37 03 57

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  • 2

    Eus

    The sunniest village in France

    Eus
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    Eus, a must-see village, stands on a granite hill whose flanks shape its terraced layout. With its cobbled alleyways lined with bougainvillea, cactus and lemon trees, it provides an idyllic backdrop for your summer strolls blessed with generous UV rays. As natural as it is cultural, it boasts sublime panoramas of the scrubland and Mont Canigou as well as high quality artistic and musical entertainment.

    The center of the village is pedestrianized and the ideal place to discover its craft shops in complete tranquillity before heading for the summit. This is where the majestic Saint-Vincent-d'en-Haut church now stands, on the site of the former castle.

    Location: Carrer de l'Ajuntament, 66500 Eus, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)4 68 96 06 27

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  • 3

    Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminge

    The Mont-Saint-Michel of the Pyrenees

    Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminge
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    Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminge nestles at the foot of the Pyrenees. This ancient village proudly displays its medieval ramparts and sets the tone from the moment you enter. In the heart of these surroundings with a strong spiritual influence, time seems deliciously frozen. You enter through one of the three imposing gates and wander through its steep streets, discovering old houses with unspoilt charm and some important religious buildings, including the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral of Sainte-Marie and its superb cloister.

    Along your route, breathtaking views are a treat for your eyes, between green hills and snowy peaks. Artisan boutiques give you the opportunity to see local products, while the fields at the foot of the village are a window on the pastoral activity of the region.

    Location: 31510 Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)5 61 95 44 44

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  • 4

    Arreau

    Quiet nature and wild waters

    Arreau
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    Arreau is characterized by the presence of water, as fast-flowing as it is rejuvenating. At the confluence of four rivers that flow down from the mountains, the town boasts a typical Pyrenean architecture. Stone houses with wooden balconies, lined with galleries and with slate roofs pierced with skylights to let the generous rays of sunlight filter through.

    The Maison des Lys, the town hall and the Château des Nestes are all worth a visit, but more than anything it is the serenity of the vast surrounding spaces that people seek here. Shimmering with greenery in summer, they are adorned with a poetic white quilt against a background of hazy peaks in winter.

    Location: 1 Rue Saint-Exupère, 65240 Arreau, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)5 62 98 63 15

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  • 5

    Evol

    On the plan - whim and relaxation

    Evol
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    Evol is the very definition of picturesque. This mountain hamlet, a jewel of the Regional Park of the Catalan Pyrenees, seems frozen in time and has a host of surprises in store for you. A bread oven here, a pretty inner courtyard there. Its traditional schist houses are topped with slate roofs, unfortunately in danger of disappearing in their native South-West. In this rocky world, a thousand and one bright flowers smile at you, brightening your walk with photogenic contrast.

    The ruins of a castle dominate this remote village and fascinate the imagination. To complete the visit, tour the garret of the novelist who is the pride of the village, Ludovic Massé, and then the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions.

    Location: Annexe d'Evol, Place Ludovic Massé, 66360 Olette-Evol, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)4 68 97 02 86

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  • 6

    Peyre

    Where two worlds combine

    Peyre
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    Peyre, a unique blend of traditional and contemporary architecture, is an interesting base for your trip to the French Pyrenees. Situated entirely within the borders of the Grands Causses Regional Nature Park, the village seems to hang from the cliffside and boasts, among other things, sumptuous examples of tufa cave-dwellings, starting with the fortified Romanesque church of Saint-Christophe.

    Stroll through the village's cobbled streets, that often consist of staircases, to soak up the charm of the old stones, which offer a striking contrast to the hints of modernity scattered here and there. These include the panoramic view of the Millau viaduct, designed by Norman Foster, or the stained glass windows of the church created in 2001.

    Location: 40700 Peyre, France

    Open: 24/7

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  • 7

    Sarrancolin

    Nature as a showcase

    Sarrancolin
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    Sarrancolin is the gateway to the stunning Aure valley and is an ancient medieval town with an unspoilt charm. Renowned for its marble production - examples of which can be admired in Versailles, the Petit Trianon or the chateaux of the Loire - the town is built around the old quarter and its half-timbered houses, whose distinctive galleries overlook the water: cool air guaranteed.

    Here and there, the green landscape is studded with conical roofs that plunge you into an almost legendary era. As for the views of the Crête des Coqs or the Lannemezan plateau, they are simply breathtaking. Hikers, cyclists or mere strollers will be at home here.

    Location: 5 Rue de L Hôtel de ville, 65410 Sarrancolin, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)5 62 98 77 30

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    photo by France64160 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

  • 8

    Ainhoa

    Religious art in the spotlight

    Ainhoa
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    Ainhoa, an ancient fortified village on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, is as small as it is fascinating. With its unique street lined with Labourdine houses with typical Basque red or green half-timbering, the village offers you a natural retreat in complete tranquillity, without falling short in terms of culture. Discover the disc-shaped and tabular headstones in its superb landscaped cemetery open to the horizon.

    Visit its 13th-century church with its coffered wooden ceiling and admire its wooden galleries and golden altarpiece as well as its vaulted choir or linger in front of its square bell tower. But don't forget your taste buds - the local specialties will be a welcome addition to your table thanks to the food shops that are sure to grab your attention.

    Location: 64250 Ainhoa, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)5 59 29 93 99

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  • 9

    Navarrenx

    Capital of salmon, from the river to the kitchen

    Navarrenx
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    Navarrenx was one of the first fortified towns in France, a status that still permeates its cultural heritage today. The village is encircled by imposing ramparts, which were built in the style of Vauban a century before the advent of the famous military architect. Considered impregnable, the village is proud of its reputation, which also owes much to its famous musketeers. At its feet flows the Gave d'Oloron, a river where salmon abounds.

    Fishermen, prepare your rods and foodies, forks at the ready! Discover other local specialties at the Navarrenx market. And if you like thrills, don't miss the chance to canoe, raft or paddle board up the river with the walled town as a backdrop.

    Location: 2 Place des Casernes, 64190 Navarrenx, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)5 59 38 32 85

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  • 10

    Collioure

    The seaside meets the mountain range

    Collioure
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    Collioure is a little jewel on the Côte Vermeille When you think of the "Pyrenees", you normally think of mountains, but it would be a real pity to miss it. An inexhaustible source of inspiration for many painters (including Matisse and Picasso), this small town is bewitching and is the perfect setting for a break from the hectic pace of everyday life.

    Pebble beaches, azur waters, secluded creeks, shimmering facades whose colors match those of the boats moored in the harbor. It has all the ingredients for an idyllic stay. Add a castle overlooking the ocean, a museum of modern art or the Maison du fauvisme and you have a cultural and historical offer worthy of a big city. Not to forget its famous anchovies which will entice food lovers.

    Location: Place du 18 Juin, 66190 Collioure, France

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +33 (0)4 68 82 15 47

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