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Why You Should Visit These 6 Underrated Towns In France This Summer 

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As the world’s most visited country, France has been welcoming tourists with open arms season after season, and their tourism industry shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

With record numbers of visitors anticipated for summer 2023, France is now aiming to combat over-tourism at its most sought-after destinations and seeking to find ways to get visitors to explore the country’s lesser-known places instead.

woman tourist in medieval french village- Najac copy 2

France has seen a massive explosion of visitors in areas made famous by popular shows recently, such as Lupin’s Channel beach of Etretat, not to mention the country is facing a massive housing crisis (that some are blaming on tourism and short-term rentals) and loss of biodiversity in ecologically fragile areas from over-tourism. 

Can an official campaign convince its 37 million tourists to skip the main attractions and spread out across the country to explore instead?

Time will tell, but you have to applaud France for attempting to tackle its over-tourism problem, joining the ranks of other mega-popular countries in the process.

woman with hat in french countryside copy

We might always have Paris, but why not save the city of lights for another visit and instead head out to the many other regions of France that are all speckled with towns and villages straight from the pages of a storybook?

Not only will you be able to experience a much more authentic way of French life, but you will likely be avoiding the masses of tourists as well, and helping France combat its over-tourism problem in the process. 

Here Are 6 Underrated French Towns To Visit This Summer:

Annecy

Is Venice too busy for you this summer?

Then France’s Annecy is just the answer, with its network of canals snaking their way across the old town. Located along the turquoise Lac d’Annecy, the town is romantic and historic, and the backdrop of the Alps in the distance doesn’t hurt either.

Annecy provides the perfect summer inspiration for your photos, and the food and wine scene here is a delicious blend of French and Swiss influences. 

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@observetecoute Ville coup de ❤️, et vous ? #love #travel #holidays #paysage #paysagemagnifique #eauclaire #nofilter #chill #vacancescouple #family #travelactivities #annecy #france #goodplace #summer ♬ M83 Outro Versaille Intro – yaten82

Limoges

This compact, pretty city in southwest-central France is worth a visit and has plenty to offer those who make the trip.

Besides being jam-packed with history, there are many stunning buildings to check out here, including the town hall and train station.

Limoges is well known for both its cattle and its porcelain production. The street markets here are a highlight, as is the grand La cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Limoges. 

Limoges, Haute Vienne, France June The Charming Streets of Limoge

Beynac

The stunning village of Beynac is spread out on the northern bank of the river Dordogne and is topped with an imposing castle that overlooks it all.

Take a canoe along the river and marvel at the sights, or wander among the narrow streets with yellow stone buildings around every corner.

Visit the Chateau de Beynac or head across the river to see the Chateau de Castelnaud. If the town looks familiar, you might have seen it in the film Chocolat or The Joan of Arc Story.

France, the picturesque village of Beynac in Dordogne

Besançon

Less than three hours by train from Paris, you can find yourself in the underrated city of Besançon, tucked along the edge of the Jura mountains.

Boasting an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Citadel, the city also offers some impressive museums to wander around when the summer heat gets a bit much.

Enjoy some local fortified wine along the Doubs River, wander among the town square, and learn about the area’s importance in watchmaking history.

Aerial view to the old city from the citadel in Besancon of Bourgogne Franche Comte region in France

Gerberoy

Often referred to as the prettiest village in all of France, Gerberoy looks right out of the opening scene of Beauty and The Beast. Best known for its postcard-perfect 17th and 18th-century cottages, the village is the perfect place to soak up the ionic French atmosphere.

Another nickname for this colorful destination is the village of a thousand rose bushes, and you will see no end of them in every garden, trellis, and park. 

@noemmilly Officially one of the prettiest villages in France, Gerberoy is full of charm and abundant in flowers especially roses, wisteria and hydrangeas. The best time to visit is from late spring to the end of July, to see the flowers at their best. #gerberoy #oisetourisme #discoverfrance #foryou #fypシ #lesplusbeauxvillagesdefrance #hautsdefrance #tiktoktravels ♬ Planetarium – Justin Hurwitz

Brantome 

This beautiful village lies in the north of Perigueux, on the banks of the River Dronne.

Often referred to as the Venice of Perigord, Brantome offers both Renaissance and medieval architecture and showcases its popular Benedictine Brantome Abbey.

Spend your time strolling along the Boulevard Charlemagne and the Monks Garden, and don't miss the many fantastic restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Moulin de l’Abbaye.

Near Brantome, you can also find the impressive cave system of Grotte de Villars, with prehistoric paintings and rock formations.  

A nice small house in Brantome (France)

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.