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Seillans: Officially One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France

Seillans, France, has been official designated one of the prettiest villages in France.

Seillans, a tiny town in Provence, is one of the prettiest villages in France. But you don’t have to take my word for it, or even decide based on these photos. That’s because Seillans is officially one of Le Plus Beaux Villages de France. This prestigious association began in 1981 when the mayor of Collonges-la-Rouge published a book of the same name to celebrate the heritage of exceptional villages. Now there are 152 villages in the association; villages can apply but only approximately one in seven are successful. Not only do you have to be extremely beautiful, but you have to be tres petite (2,000 or less inhabitants) and have at least two protected sites or monuments.

Max Ernst lived in Seillans, France, in the 1960s and '70s. The village owns a lot of artwork including this sculpture.

Max Ernst lived in Seillans, France, in the 1960s and ’70s. The village owns a lot of artwork including this sculpture.

Seillans definitely fulfills all of these requirements. As hard it as to tear myself away from the pool at Terre Blanche and to tear my son from the world’s best kiddie pool, we decided to go sightseeing one night before dinner. We had been seeing Seillans and Fayence at a distance, nestled in the mountains. We only had time for one and we were told that while both were nice, Seillans was more special. This tiny perched village was only about a 15-minute drive from Terre Blanche.

That's not an alleyway -- this the main street of Seillans, France!

That’s not an alleyway — this the main street of Seillans, France!

It had been raining on and off for the past two hours that evening, but it stopped raining for good as soon as we parked in the village. The grey skies (which were clearing up as we left) and wet cobblestones actually gave the village an even more romantic feel. And it was so quiet! The village is very hilly (not surprising as it’s in the mountains) and I didn’t see a soul as I started my descent and came across La Place du Thoroun (photo at top). So many chairs and tables surrounded the fountain but alas it was completely empty. I loved the trees and I also loved the Max Ernst hanging sculpture! Max Ernst, a painter-sculptor, and his wife Dorothy Tanning lived in Seillans in the 1960s and 1970s and he donated a lot of his artwork to the village.

The path curves around the church... Love that church door!

The path curves around the church… Love that church door!

I continued totally alone (husband and baby were blowing off some steam in the Place Republique area that doubles as a parking lot) uphill along a little path. It’s a pedestrian-only village and for parts of it, I don’t even think you could comfortably walk two-abreast. So it was just me, some Max Ernst pieces and some black cats.

There's a dragon (by artist Ivan Ivanoff) guarding the sweet village of Seillans.

There’s a dragon (by artist Ivan Ivanoff) guarding the sweet village of Seillans.

And then I started my descent again, and encountered a dragon! This was the second piece by artist Ivan Ivanoff, as a spiky fish greeted me at the start of my walk. Soon I started to hear voices… This would have been disconcerting but fortunately I was around the corner from Hotel Les Deux Rocs and I was hearing the lively din from the restaurant. The restaurant is supposed to be terrific but they weren’t seating anyone outdoors this evening because the chairs and tables were all wet. As neither the menu nor atmosphere seemed child-friendly, we decided we would head back to Terre Blanche, where we had an excellent meal.

Seillans' Fountaine Font D'Amont is next to the crumbling Porte Sarrasine, which dates back to the 11th Century.

Seillans’ Fountaine Font D’Amont is next to the crumbling Porte Sarrasine, which dates back to the 11th Century.

It was too bad that we couldn’t sit outside at Les Deux Rocs because the setting was magificent. The chairs surrounded the Fountaine Font D’Amont and were next to the crumbling Porte Sarrasine, an entryway that dates back to the 11th Century. I enjoyed my walk back on the slippery cobblestones in solitude but couldn’t help but wishing that I could return to Seillans on a bright, sunny day when more things were open and when I could ask people to point me to all of the Max Ernst art.

Seillans certainly deserves to be called one of the most beautiful villages in France!

Seillans certainly deserves to be called one of the most beautiful villages in France!

21 Responses to Seillans: Officially One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France

  1. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    August 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    I SO WANT TO GO THERE! It’s incredibly beautiful – and all that art! wow!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..My Love/Hate Relationship with China’s Transportation

  2. Linda Bernstein August 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    This is now on my list. It’s lovely. Let’s see. In about 12 years Josh will be in summer camp and you can return and eat dinner there.

  3. Andi
    Twitter: andiperullo
    August 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    It’s so lovely I’d never want to leave!

  4. Val-This Way To Paradise August 20, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    Wow, this is a new place I have to add to my bucket list! Gorgeous….
    Val-This Way To Paradise recently posted..The Sanctuary Resort at Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

  5. Jennifer Miller August 20, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    France in the spring… can’t wait!
    Jennifer Miller recently posted..Road Schooling: A snap shot

  6. Terry at Overnight New York August 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    I love that impossibly narrow main street!
    Terry at Overnight New York recently posted..Ace Hotel: Music to Help Kids Get Better

  7. Adam
    Twitter: travelsofadam
    August 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Just beautiful!!! Added several of these photos to some of my Pinterest boards
    Adam recently posted..A Graphic Design History of the London Underground

  8. TheBarefootNomad
    Twitter: barefootnomads
    August 22, 2013 at 4:39 am #

    Oh, what a lovely town. Just the photo of the main street makes me want to pack up and move there immediately!
    TheBarefootNomad recently posted..Fuerteventura´s Top Attractions

  9. Marina K. Villatoro August 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    I’ve always wondered when you’re raised in such picturesque beauty what people from these types of villages think of when they visit some of the crude cities of the US or even worse, some of the ugly cities in Central America.

    Do they appreciate what they have or do they open their eyes to what other places have to offer?
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..How To Get Around New York City

  10. Dale
    Twitter: ai_followus
    August 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Every time I come on this blog, Liz, I fall in love with somewhere new and yet again it’s somewhere in France.

    Maybe it’s time we made the journey.

  11. Jennifer August 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    There are so many truly wonderful, beautiful little towns in Western Europe ….France especially. This one looks beyond charming. I’d totally love to go there!
    Jennifer recently posted..Club Carlson: A View from the Club

  12. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    August 23, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    The town reminds me a lot of Eze on the Cote d’Azure – it’s so pretty!! I just went to Spain’s most beautiful village, and it sadly didn’t live up to the hype. Seillans seems like it would!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..A Por Ellos: What to Know Before Attending a Spanish Soccer Game

  13. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    August 25, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Beautiful! Every photo looks like a postcard.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..GO GREEN TIP #100: 40 Healing Vegetables, Nature’s Medicine

  14. Melissa August 26, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    SO want to visit now that I’ve seen those photos!!

  15. Gabi (The Nomadic Family)
    Twitter: nomadfamtravels
    August 28, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Liz, the little things others may not ever discover, you just share with us. thank you. gabi

  16. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    September 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Gorgeous! What a decadent village to explore – between the stunning architecture and detailing, breathtaking views, and extensive outdoor art collection – beautiful! Thank you for sharing the details of the village as well as pointing us in the direction of the list of ” Le Plus Beaux Villages de France.”

  17. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    September 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Gorgeous! What a decadent village to explore – between the stunning architecture and detailing, breathtaking views, and extensive outdoor art collection – beautiful! Thank you for sharing the details of the village as well as pointing us in the direction of the list of the most beautiful villages in France!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: Lek Chailert, the Elephant Whisperer of Elephant Nature Park

  18. Christy September 3, 2013 at 4:18 am #

    France sure has a lot of beautiful villages. I didn’t realize there were 152. How fun would it be to see all of them on an extended stay in France?!
    Christy recently posted..The Travel Junkie’s Fix

  19. Bran Pavlovic September 19, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    Gorgeous photos! Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful city!
    I will definitely add it to my travel wish list!
    Bran Pavlovic recently posted..What the Heck is a Hoodoo and Why are We talking about Supernatural?

  20. Abby
    Twitter: abbytegnelia
    September 24, 2013 at 1:59 am #

    Oh, I could use time in a sweet French town right now!
    Abby recently posted..A Monthly Treat for Travel Fiends

  21. danee sarman April 29, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    So charming! I just love small towns in France.
    danee sarman recently posted..The Oldest Love Poem

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