Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, located in the Herault Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon, southern France.
The Hérault Valley is home to a Mediterranean landscape as well as a renowned wine region sprinkled with olive groves. It is a place of deep Gorges and picturesque villages with a great cultural heritage. The markets in this area heave with home grown produce, and the olives and wines are delicious sampled to the sound of cicadas.
In the heart of the Hérault Gorges, in the Val de Gellone is the preserved medieval village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. A town of narrow winding ancient alleyways and streets that spread out from the main square from Place de la Liberté with its imposing 150-year-old plane tree, great for resting under from the sun. The houses that lean against each and snuggle tightly together under their sun-baked tiled roofs. This is a classified site, one of the most beautiful villages in France and today its abbey is registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in conjunction with the French section of St James’ Way to Santiago de Compostela in western Spain.
A great place to visit.
What to see and do in Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert
Gellone Abbey: The abbey of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert owes its name to an 8th century French knight called Guilhem, grandson of the Duke of Aquitane, and one of the Emperor Charlemagne’s chosen knights. He was a devout Christian who ended his days in the monastery at Gellone, and endowed the abbey with a relic of the True Cross, given to him by Charlemagne. Because of this relic, the monastery soon prospered and became an important place of pilgrimage in southern France.
Must Visit spots in Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert
The abbey’s Musée Lapidaire (Stone Museum)
Musée d’Antan (discovering crafts of bygone days)
A guided tour of the village is available from the tourist office.