An afternoon out from Carcassonne can take you to several towns of the Languedoc. Collioure, a Mediterranean fishing village near the Spanish border is, I think, the prettiest. It was Spanish until the mid 17th century and it still has a very Catalan feel to it.
We visited many more rural villages in the Algarve and they did begin to merge into each other in my memory. Pale cobbled streets, hills, an old castle, remains of ancient walls and small museums. Each village had all or most of these things. Loule was nice, Alte was particularly beautiful (and hilly), Faro had mosaic pavements but only the villages of Querenca and Tavira stood out.