We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Less touristy areas

Hampshire, United...
Level Contributor
667 posts
56 reviews
Save Topic
Less touristy areas

We love France and really enjoy staying in less touristy areas in/near a village/town with a nice restaurant and boulangerie.

Any recommendations please? And what about Noyers-sur-Serein?

Many thanks for any help.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
84,633 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Less touristy areas

Noyers-sur-Serein is *very* small: it is not somewhere I would choose as a base.

In the same general area, you might stay in Semur-en-Auxois. This is a real town, with an interesting centre, and not overwhelmed with tourists.

Hampshire, United...
Level Contributor
667 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Less touristy areas

Thank you for your suggestion... will look it up.

Menlo Park...
Level Contributor
5,083 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Less touristy areas

every village in France considers itself to rank as one of the prettiest villages, but here's an "official" list for the Burgundy area. And nearly every village has a good restaurant (I've never seen a bad one) and boulangerie. And most of these would even have an ATM. These all would be easier to deal with than a major city, easy to come and go. WE've visited several of these ourselves last month. maybe search on these through the Michelin red book and then visit individual web sites. The fact that these are considered so pretty will, by itself, attract tourists, so you won;t have it to yourself, but it would be more likely to have a nice hotel.

les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/en/…

Hampshire, United...
Level Contributor
667 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Less touristy areas

Thanks dhauk. I know, I don't expect to have somewhere to myself, but it's just that we prefer places with a true French feel and that aren't over run by tourists - And yes, I know I am one, lol. Whilst running the risk of offending people (but certainly not intending to) we are not fans of the Dordogne area for that reason.

Edited: 19 July 2012, 17:43
Hampshire, United...
Level Contributor
667 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Less touristy areas

I am doing a PS to my post above,as I don't feel I have expressed myself very well....

We have holidayed in the Dordogne area and have sat for hours in queues of GB cars and walked amongst throngs of English accents and I'm afraid it is just not for us.

I guess that's the type of scene we try to avoid.

Edited: 19 July 2012, 18:24
Beaune, France
Level Contributor
425 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Less touristy areas

To be fair, most villages in Burgundy will suit you then but Semur would be a good choice whereas Noyers is very small (but a great place to visit for the afternoon)

Hampshire, United...
Level Contributor
667 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Less touristy areas

Brilliant - thanks, BurgundyGuide. I will definitely have a look at Semur then. I very much appreciate your advice.

Paris, France
Level Contributor
11,460 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Less touristy areas

I don't know if I've given you this link in another thread but I've written a trip report (full of photos) about visiting Noyers, Semur and a bunch of other anonymous, off the beaten path villages in that area. You can have a look if you'd like:

http://tinyurl.com/6wtm6u5

If you want to find charming villages that's easy to do anywhere in France. Just put down the guidebook and pick up a Michelin map, learn how to read the icons and then get lost. I know this style isn't for everyone but it's the way I travel and the report above is an example of how to explore using nothing more than a Michelin map. Here is my standard advice about how to use the Michelin maps to find all those off the beaten path places to visit:

Get your hands on the Michelin maps. You want the ones of the scale 1:200,000 (regional maps) or 1:150,000 (departmental maps, more detailed, cover slightly less area) for whatever regions you visit. A nice feature of the 1:150,000 maps is they show the starred attractions in the corresponding Michelin Green guidebooks. The Michelin maps have icons for all kinds of historically/touristically interesting things such as châteaux, ruins, churches, abbeys, scenic view points, caves, Roman sites, megaliths, designated scenic roads and many other things. Usually when I'm exploring various regions in France I just look at the map and I am able to plan interesting and scenic drives just reading the map. For instance, I usually look for a designated scenic road, which are highlighted in green, and I especially look for towns with the historic church and/or château icon. I also try to make sure the route goes through as many small villages as possible. Usually putting all these things together I find interesting and scenic drives without even knowing where I am going and with no assistance from a guide book. Often these places are never mentioned in guidebooks and remain completely unknown to many tourists.

You can buy the Michelin maps from their website and here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:200,000 scale the maps of France: http://tinyurl.com/4bt96ev

And here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:150,000 scale maps of France:

http://tinyurl.com/6mt4n64

You could also buy them here but then you can't do research beforehand. The maps can be bought in many places such as bookstores, news stands, magazine stores, larger supermarkets, department stores, hypermarkets and in the full service rest areas on the autoroutes, just to name a few.

dhauk gave you some good advice and another great resource if you want to study up on places to visit is to use the tourist office websites. You will find loads of info on these websites including hotel/accommodation and restaurant info as well as what to see and do in the area. Occasionally the websites have English versions. In doing a google search enter the words "office de tourisme" or "site officiel" followed by the name of your town and this will bring the town to the top of your search. Another thing I like to do to see if a town may be worth visiting is enter the town name in a google search followed by the word "photos". Sometimes I visit a town if I find it looks charming/interesting in photos.

Hampshire, United...
Level Contributor
667 posts
56 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Less touristy areas

No, I haven't come across you before and I haven't seen your trip report and those wonderful photos, which are really amazing! The area and those villages look gorgeous. We love to get lost too! Thanks also for your advice on using the Michelin map - I can tell you are a geographer!

I guess what I need to do now is to find a holiday rental in the area. You have all convinced me!

Thank you so much everyone. Very kind.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
24,118 posts
79 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Less touristy areas

pretty villages, especially those on lists of the most beautiful villages in France are all very tourist driven. there isn't much of an economy outside tourism. some of them don't even have a bakery (our minimal definition of an actual town rather than an 'attraction') --

amongst pretty villages -- and Burgundy has many -- Semurs en Auxois is a lovely spot to visit. it is a tad bakery challenged (our first Sunday we discovered that the one bakery that was 'open' only had bread for those who had reserved a loaf ahead. since we had arrived on Saturday, we were not aware of this until we had stood in line for half an hour hoping to find breakfast bread. The other bakeries we spotted were perpetually closed when we were there in July.

In the peripheral areas of the town there are traditional grocery stores and there is a butcher shop and several restaurants and pubs in the historic center.

It is beautiful. We loved the week we spent in a cottage below the walls. You can see our experience at www.janettravels.wordpress.com as well as our visits to a couple of other towns in the area.