‘Exceptional’ medieval village crowned southern France’s most beautiful hidden gem

Malzieu is in the Lozère region of southern France (Picture: Getty Images)

If you want to avoid tourist traps and spend your next holiday somewhere breathtaking, this tiny French village is well worth your consideration.

Car rental firm Avis recently conducted a study into southern France’s most beautiful hidden gems, using destinations from the PBVF’s (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France) official list alongside data from Tripadvisor and Google.

And according to the research, Le Malzieu-Ville takes the crown for the remotest and most picturesque spot, with an overall score of 90.77 out of 100.

This quaint hamlet, nestled in the heart of the Lozère region, was a hit with visitors thanks to its medieval architecture and array of natural beauty spots.

A trip to Le Malzieu-Ville also offers exceptional French cuisine, charming gite accommodation options, warm summer weather, and a chance to explore off the beaten track.

Why you should visit Le Malzieu-Ville

Le Malzieu-Ville only has around 900 inhabitants, so you certainly won’t have to fight through crowds if you choose to have your next holiday there – and you can drive there too, which is perfect if you’re a nervous flyer.

Many buildings in the quaint spot have stood since the 13th century (Picture: Getty Images)

Speaking of the 13th century medieval city’s nickname, Pearl of the Valley, France Voyage states: ‘Natural curiosities, tourist facilities and shops mingle harmoniously with its exceptional heritage and nature of the Monts de la Margeride which still earn it its name.’

‘The small village of Malzieux is beautiful with lots of little cobbled streets,’ said Cindy in a review of one local Airbnb, while Charlotte described the area as ‘A real little slice of paradise.’

Things to do in Le Malzieu-Ville

As mentioned, this spot is known for its rich history. To get a feel for the centuries that have gone by here, explore Malzieux’s Bodon Tower (now Office of Tourism) and Clock Tower, both of which offer amazing panoramic views. Then, take a walk around the village’s ancient walls and gates, and trace the story of the ‘Beast of Gévaudan’ who roamed the streets in the 1760s through a series of statues and a mini museum.

The Museum of the former Ursuline convent is well worth a visit too, as is the treasure-filled Saint-Hippolyte church. And if you don’t mind going further afield, the historical site of Apcher tower is just 10 minutes’ drive away.

If you’re more of a nature lover, the Sainte-Eulalie European Bison Reserve is 20 minutes from Malzieu, while the Gévaudan wolf park (just over 20 miles away) lets you observe 115 of these majestic animals as they roam the spacious enclosure. Adventurers also have the gorges of the Truyère and a number of hiking routes right on their doorstep.

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It’d be remiss to talk about a French getaway without mentioning the food, and Malzieu’s offering is as quintessential as it gets. Chez Pierrot has a sweet little terrace where you can enjoy a delicious dinner, and Le Margeride serves up regional delicacies in a familiar bistro-style setting.

Explore cobbled streets and museums galore (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

How to get to Le Malzieu-Ville

Le Malzieu-Ville doesn’t have a major train station directly within its limits. To travel to Le Malzieu-Ville, you can take a train to St-Chély-d’Apcher from a transport hub like Clermont-Ferrand or Nîmes, and it’s a roughly 10-minute drive.

If you’re flying, the closest airports with routes from the UK are Montpellier and Lyon, although you’re looking at between two and three hours’ drive once you arrive in France.

Alternatively, you can take your car and go through the Eurotunnel, with the journey taking around 10 hours from London to Le Malzieu-Ville.

Weather in Le Malzieu-Ville

During the warmest month, July, you can expect average temperatures of 24°C in Le Malzieu-Ville, with nine or 10 hours of sunshine each day. It does have a tendency to shower here, but the summer climate is mostly dry and not too windy. 

Winter time is much colder with averages of around 6°C and occasional snow. Ski resorts in Aubrac and Mont Lozère are nearby, though, if you’re looking for a different type of getaway in the region.

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