The Most Beautiful Villages in France: Ancient Belcastel


Tiny Belcastel lies on the banks for the Aveyron River in the department of the same name. With a population of less than 300 souls it remains much the same as it has been for centuries. The 15th century bridge still leads to the 15th century church. (I always like to think that these structures were standing there when Christopher Columbus set sail for the new world.)

The name refers to the chateau which has been perched above the village for more than one thousand years. Built as a fortress, the castle was abandoned in the 16th century and stood unused until 1973 when Fernand Pouillon, an architect, began its restoration. Today the chateau is open for tours during the summer season. Learn more about it here.

One rainy morning a few years ago my husband George and I wandered around the village with cameras in hand. I had learned of the beauty of this tiny place from references on the web to the excellent small hotel and restaurant there, the Hotel du Vieux Pont.(The name means “hotel by the old bridge”.) We didn’t have time then to experience this well-recommended place but I hope to do that in the near future.

Here are some rainy-day images of a perfect French village.


The façade of the Hotel du Vieux Pont in the town of Belcastel. It’s a small, 3-star hotel with a fine restaurant.


This photo has been “borrowed” from the website of the Chateau of Belcastel. Hope they don’t mind my sharing it with you.


Wet scene of the street below the chateau.


The bridge built in the 1400s leads to the church — also built in the 1400s. Things last a long time in the countryside in Europe.


The Aveyron river divides the village.

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