Les plus beaux villages de France is a label invented in 1982 in the Correze village of Collonges-la-Rouge, to signal a particularly attractive village; but also one that has signed a quality charter to offer visitors an especially high standard of welcome.
Villages are assessed each year, and can be removed from the list as well as added, and criteria are strict - in 2004, 203 villages applied for inclusion, but only 40 were accepted, and at the same time 10 previously listed were disqualified.
The initial three criteria are:
- a population of less than 2,000 inhabitants
- a rich natural or built heritage, with at least two protected buildings or sites
- the willingness of the inhabitants, and particularly of the administration, to ensure that the village adheres to the quality charter
After passing this stage, villages are assessed on a further twenty-seven criteria which include the importance and interest of its heritage, the quality of its architecture, the application of planning laws to the village, and the quality of its presentation to the visitor.
Some of "les plus beaux villages" in Normandy:
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