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France’s Most Beautiful Villages: Talmont-sur-Gironde

This post about the French village of Talmont-sur-Gironde is the first instalment in a series highlighting Les Plus Beaux Villages de France –  the most beautiful villages of France!

In a country blessed with postcard-perfect villages, the coveted title of ‘most beautiful’ has been awarded to a select 155 villages (correct as at the time of writing). There are strict criteria these villages must adhere to in order to receive – and keep – the title of most beautiful.

Other villages in the series: Mornac-sur-Seudre, Roussillon en Provence

Exploring Talmont-sur-Gironde

Talmont-sur-Gironde Church, France

There’s something about village life in France that radiates the romantic nostalgia of yesteryear. The cities are amazing in their own way, but give me an afternoon to stroll aimlessly around a pretty village with crumbling ramparts and a manicured town square and I’ll be a happy traveller.

When I recently came across the concept of Les Plus Beaux Villages I wanted to see what made these revered villages special. Consulting the list, I realised I was living a mere 30 minutes away from one such village – Talmont-sur-Gironde, also known simply as Talmont.

Click here to find out how to incorporate Talmont-sur-Gironde in your itinerary through South-West France.

Talmont-sur-Gironde, beautiful village in France

Driving towards Talmont you get the feeling you are entering a special area. Rustic farmland gives way to neatly plotted vineyards, and ancient statues stand guard over the sloping fields. Talmont juts out into the Gironde estuary at its widest point and offers a view to Point de Grave in the distance. 

Formerly an island, the village is now easily accessible by road. Parking in the dedicated lots, I can see the famous church rooftop peeking above the terracotta rooftops. Low-slung houses huddle around the perimeter – their stone façades protecting the magic within from prying eyes.

I have my (3-year-old) son Arthur with me, so I follow his curious lead into the village. There is no traffic here, meaning we can safely wander through the maze of narrow streets and sheltered alleyways.

Visiting Talmont, France.
Streets of Talmont-sur-Gironde

Where is Talmont-sur-Gironde?

Talmont is in the Charente-Maritime department of France. Around a half-hour drive south of Royan, 40 mins south-west of Saintes, and just less than 2 hours north of Bordeaux.

Talmont Mairie office, France

What makes Talmont worth a visit?

The town’s inhabitants are undoubtedly proud of their town. The houses and gardens are perfectly sculptured in that slightly ‘unkempt-on-purpose’ way the French are experts at.

They aren’t afraid of colour around here, and the artistic flair is evident on the streets, well before you step inside the galleries and art studios that dot the town.

Streets of Talmont-sur-Gironde, France
Art studios Talmont, France

As you amble past sagging sea walls and monuments honouring fallen heroes, the colourful history of the town is prevalent.


Talmont has endured changes of rule and natural disasters that have altered the landscape of the town and its surrounds. Despite this, the layout of the village has remained the same for the last 700-odd years, since it was founded under the rule of King Edward I of England.

Map of Talmont village, France

We visited mid-November when the last of the Autumn leaves were falling, creating a crunchy carpet beneath our feet. During the summer months, wildflowers burst through each crack in the pavement adding more colour to the village canvas.

Colourful village of Talmont, France

Talmont’s main attractions

Talmont-sur-Gironde is most famous for the Sainte-Radegonde Church. It’s an imposing sight perched on the promontory, like the figurehead of a boat ready to set sail.

Built in Roman style by the monks of Saint-Jean-d’Angély in the 11th Century, the west face of the church was rebuilt in a gothic style in the 15th century after sustaining considerable damage from the ocean. The two styles make it an interesting and unusual building to visit. Next door lays a well-cared-for cemetery with bright flowers creating contrast between the tombstones.

St Radegonde Church, Talmont-sur-Gironde
Talmont church

Nearby you will find a small museum detailing the village’s history and fishing traditions. It wasn’t open when we visited, so if you do plan to go – check the opening hours beforehand.

Few of the traditional fishing huts (carrelets) remain, their counterparts destroyed by a tidal wave that battered the headland in 1999. Those that were spared add a rustic charm to the promenade walk.

Carrelets in Talmont, France
Fishing Carrelets in Talmont, France

Where to stay and eat in Talmont

There are a number of eateries in the village offering everything from crepes to confit. You’ll be spoilt for choice during the summer. But visit during the cooler months and you may need to look a little harder to find food.

The restaurants and cafés reduce their hours or close completely over winter, in tune with the decreased demand of diners.

Where to eat in Talmont, France

For those wanting to extend their visit to Talmont, there are plenty of vacation rentals available in the area. Browse them here.

Accommodation in Talmont-sur-Gironde, France

Events in Talmont-sur-Gironde

There are brocantes (flea markets) held throughout the year, as well as Xmas markets and local festivals. For up-to-date information about events in Talmont-sur-Gironde, see the local tourism Facebook page.

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Talmont-sur-Gironde, Les plus beaux villages de france

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Sunday 8th of January 2017

Love it! I so much prefer going off the beaten track, and this is an excellent suggestion that I will keep in mind. Thanks!

annette charlton

Thursday 5th of January 2017

What a stunning collection of villages, I love this post. Congratulations on making Phoebe of Lou Messugo's #AllAboutFrance favourites list. I am delighted to share this honour with you this month... Annette of a french collection xx

David Alliband

Wednesday 21st of December 2016

I absolutely love French villages and this one embodies everything that's so great about them!

Nadine Maffre

Thursday 22nd of December 2016

Thanks David! You're right about that :-)


Friday 2nd of December 2016

Great article! I've also been writing a series about some of the "plus beaux villages" (specifically on those in the central regions of France), and I enjoy seeing how they compare with places like this one. Your photos are very evocative, and certainly capture the character of a "most beautiful village"!

Nadine Maffre

Friday 2nd of December 2016

Thanks Richard! I can't wait to discover more... I know central France has some beautiful villages - we have family in Cantal, so visit often. I'm going to pop over to your site and check out your series!

Phoebe | Lou Messugo

Friday 2nd of December 2016

Me again, I hadn't finished but I couldn't carry on writing, does your comment box have a character limit or is my computer playing up? In case I reach the limit again I better wind up by saying thanks for joining in with #AllAboutFrance, great to have you here!

Nadine Maffre

Friday 2nd of December 2016

Hmm.. I'm not sure - will have to check that out! Thanks for letting me know :-)

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