Annually, French people vote for their preferred village from 13 selected new villages representing metropolitan France’s 13 regions via a TV show on France’s Channel 3. French people vote based on many factors including beauty, heritage, gastronomic features, local crafts, activities, and great atmospheres, among others.

Esquelbecq, the Preferred Village of the French in 2023.

In 2023, the village of Esquelbecq, conveniently located 50 minutes from Lille towards Dunkirk, ultimately won the crown. So, I immediately booked a regional TER train ticket to discover this village and understand why it was selected as the best French village this year.

The logo of the French TV show that crowns the best French village on a yearly basis.
The Gare de Esquelbecq train station is where your journey of discovery of France’s most preferred village begins. Warning: When I arrived here, there was a disturbing odor that made me think there was a pigpen nearby.
Bienvenue à Esquelbecq !

Esquelbecq: Le Village Préféré des Français

From Esquelbecq train station, it takes only about 10 minutes of walk to reach the centre of the village. On its path, there were visibly many large and cute houses which gave me the impression that this village is well maintained and loved by its residents.

You will pass by this school as you walk towards the village centre.
Cute looking houses give you a hint why the French people love this village.
The sight just before you enter the village centre. Like any other town or city in Europe, the church marks the centre of this commune.

The centre of Esquelbecq is a small town square which features a beautiful church with a rather unique façade, some restaurants and cafés, and other commercial establishments. There’s also a wine store that looks super inviting to those who are into wines.

Here are some photos I have taken myself during my trip to Esquelbecq, the most preferred French village in 2023.

A wine store called La Cave du Château in Esquelbecq with cute, Instagram-worthy entrance.
The Saint-Folquin Catholic Church in Esquelbecq has a beautiful edifice. Even more so, when you visit inside.
Aren’t those patterns on the church’s walls lovely?
There’s also a cute bookstore in Esquelbecq that will delight all book lovers.
The sign above the bookstore’s shop says “Enjoy your present day”
Got questions about Esquelbecq? Ask someone in the Maison du Westhoek, which is home to the tourism office in Esquelbecq.
I highly recommend to have your lunch in the La Régalade restaurant. Aside from yummy and affordable local gastronomic options, they also offer power outlets and free WiFi which are important for travellers.
Colourful buildings encircle the village square of Esquelbecq.
On a tight travel budget? No worries, you have food and drink options in this friterie!

The picture-worthy Esquelbecq Castle: Château d’Esquelbecq

I thought I found the partial answer why Esquelbecq was voted as the preferred French village by the French people when I saw the Esquelbecq Castle (French: Château d’Esquelbecq) which is located and attached directly to the village centre.

Esquelbecq: a small village with a castle. How fascinating!
The entrance of Esquelbecq Castle is accessible from the village square.
I was happy to pay 5 EUR for the entrance to the castle gardens. If you want to enter the castle building, you will have to pay a bit more. I missed it on purpose so I can return to this place on a future trip!
I was stoked to realize that I was about to enter a castle.
Right after the castle entrance, you’ll be met with a pigeonnerie or a dovecote. Basically, a house for pigeons. It has an elaborate design and the year 1606 on its wall.
Magnificent view of the main entrance of the Esquelbecq Castle.
View from the inside entrance of the castle.
I wish there was a boat tour around the castle moat.
Such a spectacular view of the Esquelbecq Castle.
A glimpse from inside the castle grounds.
The Esquelbecq Castle is fully surrounded with a moat.
It’s absolutely stunning!
A fancy entrance to the Jardin des Paysages of Esquelbecq Castle.
The gardens outside of Esquelbecq Castle feature statues, decorations, flowers and fruit trees.
The Esquelbecq Castle gardens also has life-sized decorations perfect for selfies and group shots.
Wouldn’t you want to sit on that chair and take a glorious picture like a royal?

Ready to explore Esquelbecq, one of France’s best villages? Let me know in the comments!

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