Andrew J. Wein - Nov 17, 2023
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France is a country filled with countless amazing places to visit, making it challenging to decide where to go for your next vacation. However, we can use the various French heritage rankings as a guide to help design a successful travel itinerary. A list of France's most beautiful villages is released each year, introducing us to some exceptional towns. Grazia also regularly highlights hidden gems within the country, such as its 15 most beautiful lakes or destinations that are so exotic they might make you feel as though you're abroad.

France's ugly 2023 ranking unveiled

The Paysages de France association has recently released its 2023 Franche Moche awards, which reveal the places in France that are considered not pretty to look at. This ranking contrasts with the usual tourism rankings. It may be surprising to know that the four towns voted the ugliest in France are Paris, Honfleur (Calvados), Carnac (Morbihan), and Chavelot (Vosges). This raises some questions, like: Is Paris really ugly? Is Honfleur, known for its beauty, considered ugly? Is Carnac, with its rich history, not pretty? This year's winners can be perplexing at first glance.

Towns disfigured by advertising and modernity

"Paysages de France" has recently clarified that their latest list does not rank the ugliest cities in the country. Instead, it is a compilation of four places in France that they believe represent the less attractive side of the country. The organization aims to draw attention to the harm caused to landscapes by uncontrolled commercial development, overuse of advertising hoardings, and excessive concrete development. These factors can ruin the beautiful views that cities have to offer.

Some French towns have been awarded "ugliness" prizes for their disfigured heritage sites. Paris has won the prize for the "Heritage Enhancement" category for the gigantic billboard that spoils the beauty of the sublime Place des Vosges. In Honfleur, the entrance to the town was singled out for its excessive use of tarpaulins, billboards, banners, flags, and other advertising signs. Carnac was awarded the Obélix 2.0 prize for the line of plastic studs placed right next to its menhirs.

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