A village in central France has beaten 13 others to be named the “Favorite French Village” for 2021.
After weeks of voting, Sancerre, in the Cher, was named successor to Hunspach, in the Bas-Rhin, for the title The Preferred Village of the French in a special Wednesday, June 30, presented by Stéphane Bern.
The hilltop village, surrounded by world-famous wine vineyards, beat Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, in the Sarthe, in second place in the annual competition, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Samois-sur-Seine, Seine-et-Marne, finished third of the 14 nominated municipalities.
Connexion reader Tony Collard and his wife have been coming to the village of less than 1,500 people for over 40 years and owning their own property there since 2008. He said: “It is very quiet except during the harvest season – it’s very an agricultural area with vines so there is quite a bit of traffic at times.
“It’s a very nice place – very nice. The vineyards extend over a fairly large radius and there are pretty little villages all around the area, with fantastic restaurants ranging in price from € 13 for four courses and wine, to € 74.
Mr Collard said they had recently returned to France from their London home for the first time in nine months, due to the health situation. “Now it’s a battle with nature, which has taken over us a bit! He joked.
“The people are very friendly – most of them speak English and like to speak English. And there are quite a few things to do here.
“You canoe on the Loire; you can hire a boat from a nearby village and go down the canal; then there is the bicycle. There is a great bike shop that rents bikes – and e-bikes for the elderly, as it’s hilly. Electric bikes take all the effort out of it.
“There are art galleries and, of course, the wine, which is world famous, as well as the Chavignol goat cheese made in a nearby village.”
Sancerre can expect many more tourists after the vote. The competition is in a way a tourist springboard for the winning village and it is likely to be particularly popular given the persistent health situation and the likelihood that more French people will spend their holidays at home rather than going abroad. .
Each year, the show strives to represent France in all its diversity, from mainland France to its overseas territories. This year, the latter were represented by the Guadeloupe village of La Désirade, which came 5th in the ranking.