In 1994 the association "Les Plus Beaux Villages de Wallonie" was created by Mr. Alain Collin, of Chardeneux (Somme-Leuze), during the Conference on Tourism of the Province Namur. Based on the experience of the "Most Beautiful Villages of France", created by Mr. Ceyrac. Our goal is to promote, preserve and enhace the image of a rural Wallonia through a mosaic of picturesque villages and landscapes,
Synonymous of quality, friendliness, sociability and sharing, the association now oversees a network of 30 labeled villages for which it impulses projects and activities with the help the inhabitants of these villages, the public authorities and local associations.
Whether it's one-off events or long term actions, they are based on the element that make these places unique: a remarkable rural heritage.
A heritage that comprises many components: the landscape, the town structure and buildings, but also the traditions and local flavors.
The Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia, an intimate way to discover Wallonia, trough a guarantee of quality, promotion and projects of development. The association has anchored its strategy in the preservation and enhancement of the village heritage in order to increase their visibility and thereby promote economic development:
- Preserving the authenticity of villages by building a network of associations and cultural dynamics;
- Impliment a policy of sustainable development based on the protection of the architectural heritage of the villages and of regional identity-related products.
- Amplify awareness of the network by supporting a conciliatory policy towards resident comfort while enshuring visitor satifaction.The approach also aims to better assess the cultural wealth of rural Wallonia pursuing a policy of products and events that enhances the quality of life in the village.
- Ensure recognition of the specificity of villages by public authorities (EU, state, region, ...).
Four goals, and a challenge: "between the need for enhancement of the built and landscape capital inherited from the past, the legitimate demand of the people to live by the standards of contemporary comfort and the requirement to build the future, the balance is not always easy to find. "(F. de Panafieu)
The label of the "Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia" is a starting point, not a conclusion.