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Favourite Villages of the French

Tuesday 03 September 2013

The village of Eguisheim in the Haut-Rhin department of Alsace has been voted by the French as their favourite village.

This is the second year of the competition «Village préféré des Français», an event which is organised by the French television channel France 2.

The competition is very popular, with around 5 million viewers who watch each of the programmes, broadcast over several weeks each spring.

Also on the podium this year with Eguisheim were the villages of Locronan in Brittany and Sainte Suzanne in the Pay de la Loire.

The list of the top ten finalists were as follows:

1 – Eguisheim (Alsace)
2 – Locronan (Brittany)
3 – Sainte-Suzanne (Pays de la loire)
4 – Pérouges (Rhône-Alpes)
5 – Conques (Midi-Pyrénées)
6 – Veules-les-Roses (Upper-Normandie)
7 – Talmont-sur-Gironde (Poitou-Chatrentes)
8 – Flavigny-sur-Ozerain (Burgundy)
9 – Turenne (Limousin)
10 – Moustiers Sainte-Marie (Provence Cote d'Azur)

Last year’s winner was the village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, in the Lot department of the Midi-Pyrénées.

Eguisham, near to the town of Colmar, is already on the list of one of the ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France‘, but by contrast with the panel selection made for this award, their investiture as the 'Favourite Village' was as a result of a popular vote.

In both cases the criteria used in the selection is the charm, authenticity and beauty of the built environment.

The village of Enguisham seems to have all of that in spades, with a wonderfully historic street pattern and richly flowered half-timbered houses.

By contrast, the architectural heritage of the village of Locronan is stone and granite, while the medieval promontory village of Sainte Suzanne is notable for its ancient fortress and chateau.

The distinguishing characteristic of all of these villages is that they have managed to escape the functional and unsympathetic new small scale housing developments that have disfigured some of the once otherwise attractive villages of France.

This competition sits along other official and non-official labels that have emerged to promote an alternative vision - Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, Station Verte, Petite Cité de Caractère, Pays d'art et d'histoire and Concours des Villes et Villages Fleuris.

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