Touristified village

A touristified village is a village where tourism has become the main economic driver and an essential part of the social dynamics. It is the rural counterpart of the touristified town.

Indeed, villages in parts of the countryside have been touristified. In France, these are countryside with picturesque landscapes, where agriculture is diversified and geared to local products, and in upland regions with a low population density where tourism is predominant. This transformation process takes place in several ways.

Agricultural activities have moved out from the heart of the village to its outskirts, especially in isolated farms on the margins of the municipal territory. At the same time, the village centre has seen the emergence of services designed for tourism, like in Domme (Ill. 1), a hilltop village and royal fortress founded in 1281 which overlooks the Dordogne Valley, south of Sarlat-la-Canéda. The main streets are therefore lined with accommodation, restaurants, food, or souvenir shops (Ill. 2). Buildings have been patrimonalised, inviting contemplation and visits. These buildings include old houses, alleys, squares, covered markets (Ill. 3, 4 and 5), monuments such as churches, rather romanesque, and ramparts. The castles are not forgotten but they are rather isolated and sometimes located on higher ground.

Ill. 1. Village of Domme in Dordogne… or Périgord (source: IGN-Géoportail)
Ill. 2. Street transformed by a row of shops in the village of Domme (Dordogne) (Cl. Philippe Violier, 2008)
Ill. 3. The Domme covered market also houses the entrance to a cave. It has been regularly rehabilitated, as shown by the commemorative plaques on the left and right façade. See Figures 4 and 5 (Cl. Philippe Violier, 2008).
Ill. 4. Halles de Domme (Domme covered market), commemorative plaque testifying to a first rehabilitation in 1879 (Cl. Philippe Violier, 2008)
Ill. 5. On the Halles de Domme, commemorative plaque completing that of the first rehabilitation of 1879 (Ill. 4). Below, plaque for the “restoration” of 1954. They are testimony to the continued control by prominent families over the countryside (here the de Malleville) (Cl. Philippe Violier, 2008).

The pace of life has become seasonal, livelier in summer in countryside of moderate altitude, while in the higher altitude mountains, a winter season has developed thanks to the popularisation of skiing, alpine or cross-country practices, such as in Morzine (Ill. 6). It is common to describe these touristified villages as mountain resorts but this can create confusion if we recall that a resort is a place created by tourism. These villages existed before tourism and do not owe their creation to it (Ill. 7 and 8). So, we prefer the term “touristified village” for a place all the more overwhelmed by tourism that its small size offers little resistance. In contrast, Avoriaz is a comptoir (exclusive resort) created from scratch, between 1960 and 1967, at the site of summer chalets (Ill. 6).

Ill. 6. On the territory of the municipality of Morzine, a tourism duo: to the west, at the bottom of the valley, between 900 and 1,000 meters above sea level, the touristified village; to the east, on the plateau, between 1,800 and 1,900 meters, the Avoriaz comptoir (source: IGN-Géoportail)
Ill. 7. The map of 1950 shows that while the village did exist, there were only high-altitude chalets at the place called Avoreaz, a grassy flat terrain at high altitude suitable for mountain pasture, a period in summer during which cattle herds are taken at high altitude. The presence of slope lifts and the expansion of the habitat reveal the touristicity of the place since that time (source: IGN-Géoportail).
Ill. 8. In contrast, the map of the first half of the 19th century shows a narrow mountain village dedicated to traditional activities (IGN-Géoportail).

High attendance, repeated each season, has forced the local councillors to find solutions to bottlenecks. Traffic is greatly reduced or even prohibited, and parking spaces are provided outside the village for tourists to leave their vehicles (Ill. 9 and 10), while in the heart of the village there are signs of urbanity (Ill. 11).

Ill. 9. Village of Domme; parking located on the eastern outskirts of the village, clearly visible on the map (see Ill. 1) (cl. Philippe Violier, 2008).
Ill. 10. Link by small tourist train between the car park and the village of Domme. The distance between the car park and the village has prompted the creation of a connection at a moderate cost to allow all tourists access to the hilltop village (see Ill. 1) (cl. Philippe Violier, 2008).


Ill. 11. In Domme, meeting between heritage (the town hall building and May tree) and modernity (the parking meter) (Cl. Philippe Violier, 2008).

Philippe VIOLIER