St-Guilhem-le-Desert tourism

x saint guilhem-le-desertHugging the western banks of the Gorges de l'Herault in Languedoc, is the stunning village of St-Guilhem-le-Desert. The ancient village of St Guilhem, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, is nestled amongst stunning Languedoc scenary. St Guilhem is regarded as one of the prettiest villages in France and has been attracting visitors across the South of France for centuries  St Guilhem le Desesrt grew up around the eleventh-century abbey of Gellone situated at the upper end of the village (free entry, 8.00-12.00 and 14.30-18.30). The abbey was founded by Charlemagne's counsellor Guilhem, who returned to Languedoc from Rome in 800 AD with three pieces of wood, purportedly remnants of the Cross. The following centuries saw St Guilhem and the monastery thrive as a pilgramage destination, as well as a stopping off point to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The church is the only surviving part of the powerful monastic house that existed here from the eigth to sixteenth centuries. Inside the impressive church is the casket holding the remains of Guilhem (who was canonised after his death). From the church you can climb down to the crypt (dating from eigth century) as well as the ruined cloister, parts of which are still in place.

 

St-Guilhem-le-Desert tourism

 

St-Guilhem-le-Desert consists of narrow windy lanes leading down to the Gorge. Dotted about are ancient Pilgrim fountains, marked with the scallop-shell symbol of St James. Parking in St-Guilhem-le-Desert in the height of summer is a bit of a nightmare. Your best bet is to get there early or late in the day. Our favourite spot is to park at the upper end of the village. It costs about Euros 5 for the day. From hear you are well placed to walk out to the ruins of a castle (Cirque de l'Infernet) which offers dramatic views of the St Guilhem le Desert below. The walk takes about 1 hour to reach the castle. An alternative walking route is to follow the D4 road down through the Gorge and past the Grotte de Clamouse. These famous caves contain immense and delicate crystalline formations. There are guided tours on the hour (mainly in French unless you can encourage the guide to speak in English). The entrance price is around Euros 7 (Euros 20 for a family ticket). The tour lasts about 1 hour (make sure you go to the toilet before you go on the tour because it is a long way back up!).

 

Canoeing in St Guilhem

One of our favourite activities when we visit St Guilhem is to take the children canoeing up the Gorges d'Herault. Just south of st Guilhem there is a small lake where you can rent canoes by the hour and canoe under the maginificent ancient Pont Diable and up the spectacular Gorges d'Herault (see Canoeing in St Guilhem).

 

Getting there:
St Guilhem le Desert is located in Languedoc in the middle of the triangle between Montpellier (20km west), Lodeve (15km east) and Clermont l'Herault. The best route is from Gignac, through Aniane on the D32. As you leave Aniane you take the D27 towards St-Guilhem-le-Desert. It is well signposted to St Guilhem (and also Grotte de Clamouse) After about 3km and just as the mountains start to rise up, you will arive at Pont du Diable. Parking can be a bit difficult, it is worth getting here early. You can either park at the designated car parks or if these are full try and park up on the road. For more information on local events and visitor attractions in St Guilhem le Desert please visit the St Guilhem-le-Desert tourist office website.

Staying near St Guilhem:

If you would like to stay near to St Guilhem, please see our selection of houses in Clermont l'Herault and the Cevennes


Search Go Languedoc

Related items

Best South of France cities to visit
Best South of France cities to visit The South of France is home to some of the most picturesque cities in France to visit. Apart from the well-known cities such as Nice, Cannes and Marseille, you will find a wealth of beautiful French c... 27646 views Thu, 28 Jan 2021
Aix-en-Provence tourism
Aix-en-Provence tourism The old University town of Aix-en-Provence is a wonderful place to spend time in. Perhaps the most recognisable part of Aix is the Cours Mirabeau, the wide avenue with rows of plane-trees that follows... 4832 views Sun, 14 Mar 2021
Languedoc Roussillon tourism
Languedoc Roussillon tourism With a civilisation stretching back thousands of years, the Languedoc region in France is home to some fantastic historical sites and places to visit. The Canal du Midi, Pont du Gard, Nimes Amphitheat... 1720 views Sun, 21 Mar 2021
Where to stay in the South of France in ...
Where to stay in the South of France in ... If you are planning your summer holidays to France then follow our guide on where to stay in the South of France in 2021. We have grouped these best places to stay in South of France into distinc... 15902 views Fri, 30 Apr 2021
Where is Saint Tropez?
Where is Saint Tropez? Where is Saint Tropez? Saint Tropez is located on the South of France coast in between Marseille and Cannes. This small fishing village on the Mediterranean coast shot to fame and fortune through its ... 5365 views Fri, 12 Mar 2021