France Locals Name Hunspach As The Best Town To Visit

In 2020, a French TV show called "Le Village Préféré des Français" named the town of Hunspach as France's favorite village. Located in the country's northeastern Alsace region near the German border, Hunspach is actually closer to Munich than it is to Paris, and its architecture and history make it stand apart from other neighboring villages.

The small town's population hovers at around 650 people. But its little size obviously isn't indicative of its big impact. Hunspach is also a member of the association, Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (the most beautiful villages of France). Part of its beauty comes from the town's traditional, near-identical white houses with timber-framed walls, which give Hunspach a distinct look.

According to Forbes, the town's volunteer guide Béatrice Kehrli told the TV show's presenter, Stéphane Bern: "The white walls that make the charm of the village dates back to the construction of the houses in the 18th century ... The local seigneur (fief) opted for the natural color of lime for coloring them, because it cost less than stains."

Attractions in Hunspach

Per The Guardian, Hunspach's recorded history dates back to 1298. It came under Swedish control in 1619 and was ultimately handed back to the French monarchy in 1787. After the French lost the Franco-Prussian War, the Alsace region became part of the German empire in 1871. The region went back to France in 1918 under the Treaty of Versailles, after Germany lost WWI. However, Germany once again took control of the area during WWII. Of course, it went back to France once again, where it remains today.

In addition to its newest claim to fame, Hunspach is known for the Fort de Schoenenbourg, a fortification that is listed on France's National Register of Historic Places. Fort de Schoenenbourg is part of the Maginot Line, which was built to defend France against Germany in the 1930s. You can tour the landmark, including the kitchens and barracks, for an immersive view into how soldiers defended the area. Along with its buildings and the Fort de Schoenenbourg, Hunspach is also well-known for the town's annual Fête du Folklore (folklore festival). 

Still, Hunspach should be seeing a lot more visitors, thanks to its recent designation. According to Forbes, Hunspach's deputy mayor Sylvie Heiby said, "We have everything in place to welcome tourists in the best conditions ... Alsace has been hit hard by Covid, its image too, so to see tourists come back will make us very happy."