Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert: Discover the unmissable treasure of the South of France

Located among the stunning Gorges de L’Hérault, this small but fascinating village is a gem that has rightly earned its title as one of “Les plus beaux villages de France”. Not only that, but at its heart lies the Abbaye de Gellone, a treasure that has been classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO as part of the Camino de Santiago.

Visiting Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert in the Hérault region is a wise decision, whether for a day or a longer stay. This oasis of tranquility offers everything from exciting hiking trails and afternoons on the beaches of the Hérault River to canoeing and kayaking adventures, cave exploration and historical immersion visiting prehistoric villages and other enchanting nooks and crannies. In this serene and peaceful setting, typical of the South of France, you will be enveloped by the breeze through the trees, the whisper of the river and the chirping of birds, making Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert the ideal place to enjoy family tourism.

ℹ️ Population en 2020 : 251 habitants. Source INSEE

The Complexity of Planning Your Trip

Planning a trip can sometimes feel like navigating through a complicated and never-ending maze. Between finding reliable information, comparing prices and booking accommodations and activities, the process can quickly become an overwhelming and tedious task. Saint Guilhem le Désert, with its rich history and breathtaking scenery, deserves to be enjoyed without the prior stress that often accompanies travel preparations. Finding the perfect balance between quality, comfort and cost can be especially challenging, and can often deter travelers from venturing into the beauty of this hidden gem.

Your Personal Guide in Saint Guilhem le Désert


But don’t worry, I am here to help you. As someone who lives in the region and knows Saint Guilhem le Désert like the back of his hand, I can facilitate the entire planning process. I will help you find the best accommodation options, the most authentic activities and everything you need to make your trip a memorable experience. With my help, you will avoid the usual complications and focus on the most important thing: enjoying your adventure in Saint Guilhem le Désert. Leave the organization in my hands and get ready for an unforgettable experience.

Transparency: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that when you sign up for the service, the company you do it with compensates me at no additional cost to you. This helps me maintain and grow this blog, and offer all my detailed content for free to readers (like you). I want you to know that I only recommend sites that I have personally visited and love.

The Climate in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert


If you’re planning what to see in the south of France, it’s crucial to know the weather in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert to make the most of your visit. Located in the Occitania region, this charming town experiences a Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild winters and warm summers.

In Spring and Summer

In general, the best time to visit is between May and September. During these months, temperatures range between 25 and 30°C, ideal for exploring the cobbled streets and medieval architecture that the place has to offer. In addition, the probability of rain is quite low in this period, which allows outdoor activities to be carried out without setbacks.

Autumn and Winter

On the other hand, the winter months, although cooler, offer their own magic. Between November and March, temperatures drop considerably, and it is not uncommon to find snow in the surrounding areas. However, there is a decrease in the number of tourists, which means you will have more space to yourself at the main sites of interest.

In summary, each season brings with it unique opportunities to discover the essence of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Whether you’re a sun lover or prefer a cooler and peaceful atmosphere, this village always has something to offer. Of course, it’s always recommended to check the weather forecast before making any travel plans. You can do so by clicking below.


How to get to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert


Your Gateway to France

Starting your holidays in France is a hassle-free process. Most travelers choose to fly, thanks to the many air connections available. France boasts numerous international airports that facilitate arrival from anywhere in the world. Notably, the cities of Nîmes and Montpellier have their own airports, allowing direct access to this region.

🛫 Do you want a hassle-free arrival in France?
Discover the best flight deals for an unforgettable travel experience.

Travelling to France by Train: Comfort, Speed and Sustainability

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Opting for the train as a means of transport is not only an environmentally responsible choice, but also an unrivalled opportunity to immerse yourself in the European landscapes while travelling quickly and comfortably. Thanks to SNCF’s extensive rail network, you can connect directly to iconic destinations such as Montpellier or Nîmes, directly from Spain, ensuring a hassle-free arrival to the region’s gems.

🚅 Ready to see France from a moving window and let yourself be carried away by the magic of its landscapes?
Discover the best routes and exclusive promotions that SNCF Connect has for you.

The Magic of Driving in France

Once in France, traveling by car has become the preferred option for many. Not only for the convenience it provides, but also for the freedom it gives to marvel at picturesque landscapes and make impromptu stops.

I usually use Rentalcars to compare and book rental cars worldwide. I highly recommend them, especially for their outstanding cancellation policy, which allows you to cancel most bookings up to 48 hours in advance at no charge.
It’s the largest car rental agency comparator I’ve come across!

🚙 If you don’t have your own vehicle, no worries.
Rent the ideal car for your adventure, which you can pick up at the airport or train station

Additionally, while traveling along the charming French roads, what better company than a good playlist? You can find the special playlist I’ve prepared for you at the end of this page.

Tips for driving in France?

By Car from Montpellier


If you are planning a trip to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, that captivating corner in the south of France, you should consider the car trip as an adventure in itself. Traveling these roads is undoubtedly a truly amazing experience, you’ll see.

Montpellier, the closest major city, offers different options to make your trip a memorable experience. You have two main routes to consider: the A750 highway and the secondary road D27.

On the A750 highway

If you decide to take the A750 highway , you will get there faster. You get on the highway in Montpellier and, in about 40 minutes, you are in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. It is the fastest and most convenient route, especially if you are short on time or if you already have a well-planned itinerary in Saint-Guilhem.


By the departmental road D27

But if you prefer, you can take the departmental route D27 and then you will turn the journey into a true adventure.

As you progress, you will be surprised by the numerous Chateaux that you will discover, or what is also common is to pass through different wine-growing domains with their wineries, silent witnesses of the rich wine tradition of the region. You will also pass through pretty towns like Viols-le-Fort or Saint Martin de Londres, which will make you want to stop, stretch your legs and enjoy a coffee at a local boulangerie.

I love it when, as I drive, I spot in the distance the church steeples of these villages that begin to appear on the horizon, beckoning to uncover their secrets.

Both routes have their advantages. If you are looking for efficiency and speed, the A750 is your best option. However, if you have more time and are attracted to the idea of ​​a more exploratory trip, the D27 will not disappoint you.

and you? Have you had any special surprises on your trip?

Take a day trip from Montpellier


If you are looking for a getaway from Montpellier, here is the perfect plan: In a single day, they take you to the majestic Hérault gorges, the famous Pont du Diable and the historic Abbey of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Are you a fan of crafts? Get ready, because you will also visit pottery artisans in action. 🏺

The best: forget about maps and transportation, because you will travel in a comfortable minivan with air conditioning and in a small group of maximum eight people. 👥

Don’t miss this unique opportunity. ✨
▶️ From 130,22 € per person 👉 CLICK HERE AND BOOK NOW your tour¡Limited places!

Achieve maximum immersion

in French culture

The 4 Best Accommodations in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

When it comes to accommodation in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, the hotel offering might seem somewhat limited at first glance. But don’t worry, the beauty of this charming town is reflected in its variety of options to stay. Beyond the traditional hotels, you’ll find an abundance of gîtes and rental houses that offer a more intimate, home-like experience. Whether you’re looking for a more rustic vibe or a luxurious stay, there’s something for every type of traveler here. Let’s explore some of the best options so you know where to stay and make the most of your visit to one of the most captivating destinations to see in the south of France.

Comparison of accommodation in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Swimming Pool
Book Now
La Taverne de l’Escuelle
7,8 / 10
From 88 €
Château de Valloubière
From  99 €
La Bergerie des Rêves
9,7 / 10
From 550 €
A Great House
4,9 / 5
From 370 €

La Taverne de l’Escuelle

Image by La Taverne de l’Escuelle

La Taverne de l’Escuelle is a super nice hotel-restaurant located in the heart of the medieval square of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. This hotel in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert not only stands out for the quality of its rooms, but also for its home cooking with local products. In addition, the surrounding area offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling.

Avec une équipe dédiée à répondre à vos besoins jour et nuit, cet hôtel-restaurant se présente comme une option d’hébergement imbattable pour ceux qui recherchent des choses à voir dans le sud de la France et en particulier à Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

  • Free Parking
  • Wi Fi connection

Room rates from 88€ 👉 BOOK IT NOW

Chateau de Valloubière

Image by Château de Valloubière

Located on a sprawling 9-hectare vineyard in Languedoc-Roussillon, this castle offers a unique and luxurious experience. Guests can enjoy wine tastings, a full spa with a sauna, hammam and gym, and a heated outdoor pool with a terrace. The air-conditioned rooms feature unique décor, garden views, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Some even offer extras like hot tubs or Nespresso coffee machines. In addition to a daily breakfast buffet, the establishment serves dinners paired with its own wines.

  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Spa
  • Fitness room
  • Wi Fi connection
  • Free parking

Room rates from 99€ 👉BOOK IT NOW

La Bergerie des Rêves

Image by La Bergerie des Rêves

This écogite is designed for an experience in nature, located in the picturesque setting of “Saint Guilhem Gorges de l’Hérault”, it offers a warm and authentic atmosphere thanks to its construction with sustainable materials.

The lodging is perfect to enjoy in a group. It also includes a vinothèque where guests can discover delicious local wines. For those interested in the well-being of the planet, the écogite uses a system that stores rainwater, contributing to water conservation.

The outdoor space includes a swimming pool and areas where you can practice water sports, hiking and fishing. With free WiFi, air conditioning and private parking, this is an ideal place for those looking for a getaway in nature without giving up modern comforts.

  • 3 Rooms
  • 4 Bathrooms
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Capacity 15 People
  • Wi Fi connection
  • Air conditioning

From 550 € per night for 15 persons€ 👉 BOOK IT NOW

Rent a house nearby: The Perfect Option for Families

If you are looking for an intimate and personalised experience, especially if you are travelling with family or a large group, renting a whole house can be the perfect solution. Not only does it give you the comfort of feeling at home, but it also offers you the opportunity to live like a local, cook your own meals and have communal spaces to share unforgettable moments.

Abritel is the leading platform in France for vacation home rentals and is my trusted platform for vacation home bookings.
Whether I am looking for a rustic villa with a pool, a modern house in the city center or a traditional country house, I always find in Abritel an option that perfectly fits what I need. I invite you to discover it for yourself and experience something unique from the comfort of a home chosen especially for you.


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12 Things to do in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

My selection

Well, since you are here looking for what to see in the south of France, let me tell you about some fantastic experiences you can have in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. The truth is that, beyond its charm, this town offers you unique opportunities to immerse yourself in its culture and landscape.

Visit the Gellone Monastery


It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the Gellone Monastery, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although its architecture is impressive, inside there is a museum full of history. Also, don’t miss taking a walk through its gardens and entering its church. After all, it is a gem that has remained intact through the years.

Artisan Shopping

Within the town, you will find small shops that hide handmade treasures. Whether you’re looking for local honey, delicate pottery, or a unique souvenir, you’re sure to find something special.
Here you will find a sausage shop, a cheese shop, a craft brewery among others.

A Treasure for Hikers to experience and see in the south of France


What better way to connect with nature than to walk through it! Here you will find dozens of hiking trails for all levels, all very well marked and maintained, and I guarantee that the panoramic views that await you are the kind that will take your breath away.


When deciding what to see in the south of France, always have your camera ready. Trust me, you will want to capture every corner. Whether you’re marveling at a historic building or witnessing an enchanting sunset, every moment in this region is worthy of being eternalized in an image.

Kayaking on the Hérault River


For those with an adventurous spirit, you can take advantage of even more of the Herault Gorges (Les Gorges de l’Herault) by kayaking on the Hérault River, it is an experience that you cannot miss. It’s super fun and not only gives you a unique perspective of the landscape, but also allows you to feel the excitement of the waters that run through the heart of the town.

👉 Reserve your Kayac for the family at CANOE Rapido here

Take a dip at the beach


Just 5 minutes away, you will find a beautiful river beach with cool waters: the perfect haven to take refuge from the heat.

The calm, cool waters of the Hérault River invite you to immerse yourself, while on the horizon, the iconic Pont du Diable stands as a silent witness to millennia. This ancient structure, with its imposing architecture and rich history, creates a stunning setting as you enjoy the coolness of the river.


It is the ideal place to relax, sunbathe and maybe have a picnic. Of course, don’t forget to bring your camera, because the photos with the bridge in the background are simply spectacular.

It is definitely an activity that you cannot leave off your list of what to see in the south of France!

A Refreshing Descent. Trails, River and Waterfalls


The trails that guide you directly towards a refreshing river are not a dream, but a palpable reality. As you advance along these paths, the tranquility of the surroundings becomes increasingly evident. Suddenly, the Hérault River reveals itself, showing a spectacle of nature in all its splendor.

The waterfalls, with their energetic flow, create small pools that invite you to take a refreshing dip. Many claim that these waters have a revitalizing power, but that is something that must be experienced personally.

To make the experience even more memorable, the iconic Pont du Diable stands a short distance away, adding a historical and visual touch to the panorama. And after diving and enjoying the waterfalls, you can always relax on the banks, taking in the surroundings and just letting yourself go.

The Grotte de Clamouse: An incredible Underground Excursion

Located in the heart of the Gorges de l’Hérault and a few meters from Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, the Grotte de Clamouse is more than just a cave; It is a portal to a magical and mysterious world beneath the surface that I strongly recommend you visit. Internationally recognized for the abundance and beauty of its rock formations, such as the rare aragonite and excentrique crystals, every corner of this natural wonder immerses you in an enchanting journey out of time.

Grotte de Clamouse

What distinguishes the Grotte de Clamouse and places it on the list of Occitanie’s top tourist destinations is the diversity of underground landscapes it presents, offering panoramas that are difficult to find anywhere else in Europe. And if thinking about walking through its halls already sounds exciting, imagine experiencing it through unusual and adrenaline-filled activities.

The Clamouse team has designed unforgettable experiences for visitors. The “spéléopark” offers two sports routes inside the cave, promising chills and intense emotions for adventurers. And for those looking for a mental challenge combined with the majesty of the environment, the Escape Game proposes a large-scale escape game, where the cave becomes your setting and enigma at the same time.

This experience is unique and I recommend living with your family. If you are looking for something to see in the south of France, La Grotte de Clamouse is a must-see stop.

ℹ️ You must reserve your tickets online to secure your place. You can do so on their website here.

Prepare to be amazed!

More things to do in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Immerse yourself in the Art of Ceramics at Argileum

This is a super nice and fun experience to live as a family. Children also need their moments of quiet activities.

The “Maison de la Poterie” is located in Saint-Jean-de-Fos, a village 5 minutes from Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, which is known for its ceramic tradition in the Occitanie region of southern France . This tradition of making pottery in the town goes back many centuries.

The “Maison de la Poterie” is a center dedicated to this artisanal tradition. It is both an exhibition venue and an information center for those interested in learning more about the art of ceramics in the area. Here, visitors can discover the history of ceramics in the town, see exhibitions of current pieces, and sometimes even participate in workshops to experiment with ceramics for themselves.

Furthermore, in Saint-Jean-de-Fos, there are several workshops and shops where local artisans sell their ceramics, offering a wide range of products, from tableware to decorative objects. It is an excellent opportunity to acquire authentic and unique pieces while supporting local art and tradition.

ℹ️ Find more information on the website by clicking here.

Feel like you’re on Mars at Lac du Salagou

Located in the heart of the Hérault and Languedoc, Lac du Salagou, an incredible site to see in the south of France, is distinguished as a true natural jewel. It is not simply a lake; It is an unmatched combination of arid landscapes that contrast with a vast expanse of water and remarkable Mediterranean biodiversity.

At first glance, you are captivated by the contrast of its waters with the hills of red earth that surround it, offering a setting that seems Martian. This geological wonder has been sculpted by both geological events and the continuous efforts of generations of farmers.

For those with an adventurous spirit, the Salagou becomes the perfect setting. It is a meeting point for mountain bike and hiking enthusiasts, and it is not uncommon to find champions of the discipline walking its trails. Additionally, for those looking for an active break, water activities are offered, from supervised bathing to aquagym and swimming classes.

And as if all this were not enough, the area is presented as an open-air geological book. The “ruffes”, those red earths that define the Salagou, give way to black volcanic rocks and mysterious white formations in the Cirque de Mourèze, leaving testimony to a past where reptiles before the dinosaurs left their mark.

If you are looking for a unique experience and want to immerse yourself in the natural and cultural magic of the region, Lac du Salagou is, without a doubt, one of the places you cannot miss near Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

Lodève Museum: A Journey between History, Fossils and Art

Ideal for visiting with the family, The Musée de Lodève, located in the heart of the Occitanie region, is a window to the past to see in the south of France, to art and the evolution of life on earth. This museum is a jewel that combines archeology, paleontology and plastic arts.

In its archeology section, the museum presents a rich collection that portrays the life and customs of the ancient civilizations that inhabited the region, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. Paleontology fans will find a real treasure in the rooms dedicated to the evolution of life, where fossils are exhibited that tell the story of our planet over millions of years.

Additionally, the museum houses an impressive art collection, with a particular focus on the work of modern and contemporary artists. This section offers a unique insight into the artistic and cultural development of the region.

The Lodève Museum is not only an exhibition venue, but also a meeting and learning space, with numerous activities and workshops designed for audiences of all ages.

For those looking to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of Occitanie, a visit to the Musée de Lodève is, without a doubt, a super nice, enriching and revealing experience.

ℹ️ Find more information on their website by clicking here.

Experience the Neolithic: A Family Adventure at the Cambous Prehistoric Site

The prehistoric site of Cambous is one of the most emblematic places of prehistory in the Occitanie region, and what to see in southern France. It is located near Viols-en-Laval in the Hérault department. It is an archaeological site that dates back to the Neolithic and is known mainly for being one of the oldest and largest towns of the time in the south of France. Excavations have revealed a variety of structures and artefacts that provide a detailed insight into life during the Neolithic in the region. It is a site that attracts both researchers and tourists interested in history and archaeology.

ℹ️ More information on the prehistoric village website by clicking here.

Things to do in Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert : The Map

In France, family holidays are synonymous with fun and adventure.

Around all the villages you will always find a huge amount of places to enjoy with the little ones and everything is really prepared for a great time.
Near this charming village, you’ll discover a plethora of exciting activities to enjoy with them. From exploring fascinating castles and quaint villages to immersing yourself in fun-filled theme and water parks, there are endless options to entertain the whole family.
Here is a list of activities to enjoy with the family and places nearby, which I selected for you.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Where to eat in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Its Gastronomy


When it comes to what to see in the south of France, the region not only offers breathtaking landscapes and charming villages but also a rich culinary tradition. And Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is a perfect example of this culinary legacy.

This small yet charming medieval village is a hidden gastronomic treasure. Located in the heart of the Hérault valley, the fertile land and temperate climate provide the ideal conditions for wine production and a wide variety of fresh produce.

One of the jewels of local cuisine is the goat cheese, crafted artisanally and with a flavor that captures the essence of the surrounding mountainous terrain. This cheese is often served on a cheese board along with fig bread and local honey, creating a blend of flavors and textures that delight the palate.


Wine enthusiasts will be thrilled to explore the nearby wineries, where they can taste the wines of the region, known for their strong and earthy character. Varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault are especially popular and make perfect pairings with the local meats and fish.

You can’t leave Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert without trying its local pastries. The “fougasse”, a type of flatbread often filled with olives or anchovies, is a must-have. For something sweeter, don’t miss the “oreillettes,” small fried treats sprinkled with powdered sugar.

The gastronomy of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is a true representation of the culture and geography of the south of France. It offers a culinary experience that not only satisfies the appetite but also tells the story of its people and its land. It is, without a doubt, a key element on the list of what to see in the south of France.


Where to eat in Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert

Ah, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, where the beauty of the landscape is only surpassed by the delight of its gastronomy. Wondering where to satisfy your appetite after a day exploring its charms? Below, we present the tastiest spots in this French corner according to Trip Advisor..

If you want to eat inside the town

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Top Tips for families in a restaurant in France

Follow a local’s tips for maximum enjoyment in a restaurant in France Exploring the charming villages of France with your family becomes a journey that goes beyond the simple sight of beautiful landscapes and historical monuments; it is also immersing yourself in a world where…


Always call to make a reservation before you go to secure a table.
Also note that kitchens in restaurants close early. Around 14:30 or 21:30h approximately.
Most of them always have children’s menus.

Bon appétit !

Discover Other Charming Villages Near Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert


Montpellier, a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, perfectly combines its rich history with a contemporary spirit. Known for its medieval university and its mix of Gothic and modern architecture, Montpellier attracts visitors from all over the world.

The heart of the city is Place de la Comédie, a bustling pedestrian square surrounded by cafes, shops and historic buildings. From here, you can explore the maze of narrow streets and picturesque squares that are home to charming boutiques, restaurants and bars.

Montpellier is also famous for its culture and lively nightlife. With a large student population, the city offers a wide variety of options for entertainment, from theaters and cinemas to bars and nightclubs.

Art and history lovers will find a wealth of museums and monuments to explore, including St. Peter’s Cathedral, Place Royale du Peyrou, and the Fabre Museum, which houses an impressive art collection.

In addition, Montpellier is within walking distance of the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean and the Languedoc wine region, making it an ideal starting point for exploring the coast and surrounding countryside.

With its lively atmosphere, eclectic mix of cultures and diverse cultural offerings, Montpellier is a city that captivates its visitors and invites them to immerse themselves in the authentic experience of the South of France.

La Couvertoirade: A Medieval Journey that we love

When considering what to see in the south of France, you can’t overlook La Couvertoirade.
Located in the Aveyron region in the south of France, visiting this small village is a magical journey into the medieval past, fortified by the Templars in the 12th century. This charming village, considered one of “The Most Beautiful Villages in France,” has preserved its historic architecture with astonishing detail.

One of the most distinctive features of La Couvertoirade is its special climate, accentuated by the “Carreaux de pierre” or stone tiles roofs. These roofs not only add a picturesque air to the village, but they also create a unique feeling, as if time had stood still and the natural elements had woven their own story into the architecture of the place.

Walking through its cobblestone streets, surrounded by medieval walls, is like taking a stroll through history. The castle, the Church of Saint Christopher, and the Templar tower offer a visual narrative of a past filled with mysticism and bravery.

In addition to its rich history, La Couvertoirade is also a paradise for lovers of local crafts. From ceramics to textiles, you can find unique souvenirs that capture the essence of the region. And to top it all off, the surrounding landscape of the Larzac plateau offers unparalleled opportunities for hiking and photography.

If you’re seeking an authentically French experience, rich with history and graced by a unique climate and aesthetic, La Couvertoirade is a must-visit. Here, every stone and tile seem to tell their own story, making your visit an unforgettable getaway.

Villages near Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert: The Map

One of the great attractions of travelling to France is the proximity of its many charms.

In each region, there is not only one treasure to discover, but a multitude of them. And all in close proximity to each other.
So, once you’ve explored the particular charm of a village, there is always more waiting for you nearby.

When traveling to France, it’s always good to remember that part of the adventure is veering a little off the main route and discovering those small villages and communities that give the country its very special character.

So, don’t hesitate to add a few extra destinations to your itinerary.

The History of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert: A Journey to the Past


Located in the Occitanie region of southern France, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is a small medieval village that offers more than just a getaway; It is a journey into the past filled with fascinating layers of history.

The village is built around an abbey founded in the 9th century by Guilhem, the great-grandson of Charles Martel and childhood friend of Charlemagne. Guilhem was a prominent warrior who fought alongside Charlemagne against the Moors near Nimes and drove them across the Pyrenees. However, his life took a drastic turn when he returned from war to find his wife had passed away. He then decided to retreat to a monastery he had founded, but was called back into service by Charlemagne. After years of loyal service, he received several noble titles, including that of Prince of Orange.


EThe monastery Guilhem founded was not merely a place of retreat for him. Over time, it became a prominent pilgrimage center, especially on the Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela. The monastery housed a fragment of the True Cross, a gift from Charlemagne, which heightened its spiritual significance and drew pilgrims and monks from all over Europe. During the 11th and 12th centuries, over a hundred monks lived in the monastery, leading to a wealth that enabled the construction of the magnificent structures that can be admired in the village today.

This multifaceted legacy of war, faith, nobility, and architecture makes Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert a unique destination. Every stone and every alley in this village bear witness to its rich past spanning both military feats and profound spirituality. It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and significant villages in France, and a place where history remains alive, echoing through its streets and buildings.

Learn about the Legend of the Pont du Diable
Le Pont du Diable

The legend of the ‘Pont du Diable’ (Devil’s Bridge) in the south of France is a fascinating blend of myth, history, and folklore that has stood the test of time. According to the legend, every night the Devil would destroy the work of the Aniane and Gellone abbeys in their attempt to build a bridge over the Hérault river.

Frustrated but determined, Guilhem, the founder of the Gellone abbey, decided to negotiate with the Devil. He offered him the soul of the first creature to cross the bridge in exchange for his help in building an indestructible one. The Devil agreed to the deal, and when the bridge was completed, he was “rewarded” with the soul of a dog carrying a pot tied to its tail. Furious and deceived, the Devil tried to destroy the bridge but couldn’t.

In a fit of rage and spite, the Devil threw himself into the river at a spot known as “The Black Abyss.” However, his story did not end there. He disguised himself as a goat or ram and haunted the neighboring St-Jean de Fos, spreading fear and discord. The locals, tired of his mischief, decided to confront him. After a failed attempt by the local priest to expel him with holy water, the villagers, armed and brave, chased the Devil shouting “Pica lou! Pica lou!” (Stab him! Stab him!).

Finally weakened by the holy water, the Devil fled and submerged himself again in the ‘Black Abyss’. Since then, pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago who cross the Pont du Diable throw stones into the river, ensuring that the Devil will never emerge from the abyss again.

This bridge, more than just a structure, is a symbol of the eternal struggles between good and evil, cunning and betrayal. To this day, the legend remains alive, and the Pont du Diable continues to be a place of mystery, fear, and admiration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to visit Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert?

Spring and autumn are ideal due to the mild weather and fewer tourists. However, summer is also popular because of the local festivities. Click here to read the section about the weather in this small town.
Looking for what to see in the south of France? Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is a must-visit option.

What activities can I do around the Hérault River in Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert?

You can enjoy a kayak tour, take a dip in its refreshing waters, or simply relax on its shores and soak in the scenery among many other activities. Click here to discover all the activities to do in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

Are there guided tours of the town?

If you’re wondering what to see in the south of France, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is a historical gem.
Yes, there are several guided tour options that will take you through the history and architecture of this charming medieval village.

How long is recommended to visit Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert?

Although the village and the abbey can be visited in one day, I would recommend spending at least two days to fully enjoy its atmosphere, explore its surroundings and live all the experiences that the region has to offer. If you want, you can stay up to a week! Click here to learn more about all the experiences you can live in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

Is it easy to get around the town?

Yes, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is a small village and can be easily explored on foot. Additionally, the peaceful atmosphere makes it even more enjoyable.

Diego en France

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