The prettiest village in France

It was a nice spring day in March when we set out for Yvoire from Bourg en Bresse, the city in Southeast France where I was living at that time. Both Yvoire and Bourg en Bresse are in the Rhone-Alpes region of France, but we figured it would take a little over two hours to drive the distance of 150 kilometers or 94 miles. We had also planned to stop and have a look around at Evian, the birthplace of the the famous mineral water, and the thermal spa.

On the way we filled up on gas at Thonon-les-Bains another lakeside town which is an attraction by itself. When we reached Evian it was close to noon, and there were already a lot of people in the city center. We parked near the town spa with its promenade and elegant casino. As you know, the Evian mineral water brand is very popular around the world, and it comes from this small city on the banks of Lake Geneva. Not surprisingly, the people of this community are quite proud of the fact that their water is so well known. As a matter of fact, the French people as a whole are very proud of their country and history, not to mention their language! I came to find out about this during my 8 years of residence in France.

Yvoire is not far from Evian and we arrived there in time for lunch. Yvoire is a very picturesque village known for its medieval buildings and exquisite flower decorations. It is also one of the most beautiful villages in France, with 700 years of history. No wonder it is known as the Perle du lac Léman or 'Pearl of Lake Geneva.' (Lake Geneva is called Lake Leman in French). The village was once a fishing and boatmens' port, and you can still see the boat pier at the edge of the big lake. On the other side of the lake is the city of Geneva in Switzerland, another beautiful country.

We really enjoyed walking through the narrow streets full of old alpine style buildings with its stone walls, steep roofs, wooden balconies and shutters. From all around the village you can see the steeple of the Saint Pancrace church which dates back to the 11th century, and which is now considered as the landmark of the village. The most striking appearance of Yvoire was the abundance of flowers, masses of them all over the village. I believe Yvoire has won numerous awards for its flower displays which I am sure were all deserving!

There is also a chateau (castle) near the main square, but we were told that it was a private mansion so we couldn't go there. However, inside the grounds of the castle, there is a part now open to the public, the Jardin des Cinq Sens or The Garden of Five Senses. Unfortunately, when we were there, it wasn't.

I hope that one of these days, Ipernity members will have the opportunity to visit this part of France and enjoy the splendid scenery of the country's small towns, forests, lakes and mountains. There's definitely much more to see in France than Paris!