In the heart of Languedoc-Roussillon and the Hérault gorges in Southern France, the "Grand Sites of France"-labelled village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is one of the region's finest gems. It is also classified as one of France's Most Beautiful Villages.
Nestled between towering cliffs and stretching along winding alleyways, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert was built around the Gellone Abbey and sits just kilometres from the Pont du Diable (Devil's Bridge), both of which are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites as part of the St. James pilgrimage route.
Both the Pont du Diable and the village's surrounding mountains are popular with hikers, as they offer stunning panoramic views and are dotted with rare plant species.
The village's medieval past is well conserved, an example of rare harmony in the Languedoc region.
Not to be missed
- Gellone Abbey: a lovely example of early Romanesque art in Languedoc, this early 9th century sanctuary is also one of the area's most important spiritual and cultural centers and houses the best preserved organ in France.
- Its cloister: a large part of the abbey's original cloister bore the costs of increased sale and dismantling of national assets. Much of it has since been exported to the United States, as it is currently one of the masterpieces of the Cloister Museum in New York.
- The abbey museum: located in the refectory, the museum presents some of the cloister's sculptures, the tomb of Saint Guilhem and a film documenting the abbey's history and the reconstruction of the cloister.
In the surrounding area
- The Devil's Bridge: one of the oldest Romanesque bridges in France, it owes its name to an old legend in which the devil continuously destroyed at night the work done on the bridge during the day.
- The prison tower and Géant castle, elements of the towns fortifications and defense.
- The Clamouse grotto, one of the most beautiful in France.
- Montpellier Mediterranean airport (55 km away)
- Béziers - Cap d’Agde airport (70 km away)
By train: SNCF stations at Lunas or Montpellier.
- From Montpellier: route A 750 towards Millau/Lodève.
- From Millau: route A 75 towards Béziers/Montpellier.
- From Béziers: route A 75 towards Millau/Montpellier.
Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert/ Hérault Valley Tourism Office
3, Parc de Camalcé - 34150 GIGNAC
Tel:+ 011 (33) 04 67 57 58 83