Is Saint-Guilhem really one of the most beautiful villages in France?



I will take you to the Herault valley, three quarters of an hour north of Montpellier, in the village of Saint-Guilhem le Desert.

It is a rather special village for me. I am very attached to it.

I'll tell you why in this article.

Why this article will serve you

You like to visit medieval villages. You have already visited many.

In France, Italy, Spain. And elsewhere.

So much so that you forgot some of them.

Because you just didn't hang on the day you got there.

Can this happen to you in Saint-Guilhem?

I take the bet that no! This article will convince you.

View of the Lorimy house which dates from the Romanesque period

Lorimy house, on the main street

View of the Place de la Liberté in Saint-Guilhem le Désert

On the main square of the village

Watch the video in French

Watch the video in English

The apse of the church of Saint-Guilhem le Désert

The Romanesque apse of the abbey

Many shops are spread out along the streets of the villages

In one of the alleys of Saint-Guilhem

Why is this village dear to me?

I discovered this village when I was a student, in the XNUMXth century. During my tourism studies in Montpellier, to become a guide, my classmates and I had to prepare for a visit to this village.

I then scoured libraries and bookstores looking for information and anecdotes that might captivate my audience one day.

Without ever coming to the village. I didn't have a car. I don't even know if there was a bus at that time between Montpellier and Saint-Guilhem.

The big day arrived. I was feverish. But it was a success. My teachers were won over. I had found my way.

In my memory, this is where I guided for the first time. It marked me a lot.

Saint-Guilhem is first and foremost a site.

To get to Saint-Guilhem, you have to walk along a river, the Herault.

This is where a small stream, the Verdus, ends its course in the Herault that Guilhem, Count of Toulouse, founded an abbey a long time ago, in 804.

The Verdus was once much more impressive; it was he who dug the valley, where the village and its abbey are located, across the mountain that surrounds it today.

Saint-Guilhem le Désert is located in the gorges of the Hérault

The village is in the hollow of a rocky landscape

View of an alley in Saint-Guilhem le Désert

Through the alleys of Saint-Guilhem

Gellone Abbey is the origin of the village

Panorama of the village and the abbey

Saint-Guilhem is then a village.

A main artery leads from the river to the abbey. Along this street, a set of beautiful restored facades, made of limestone which takes on a golden hue in the sun.

A few local craft shops, in season, attract visitors. Let's take the time to stroll. No rush.

You have to move away a bit to enjoy magnificent views of the village. Follow me, I know where to go to enchant your eyes.

Here we are. So ? Yep, you can tell, the view is great.

Saint-Guilhem is finally an abbey

By the way, why Saint-Guilhem-LE-Desert ?

The Desert, this is how we qualified in the Middle Ages the uninhabited places in which a religious (our famous Guilhem as far as we are concerned here) decided to withdraw.

Listen the silence of the church. Raise your eyes, look at the Roman vaults. Simplicity. Grandiose.

Do not leave the abbey church without finding the relic of the True Cross. It was she who made the success of the monastery by attracting donations from the faithful and other pilgrims on their way to Compostela.

How lucky, here the cloister is (in part) preserved. Walk around it, and there too, look up. Here are the remains of the Giant's castle overlooking you.

The cloister of Saint-Guilhem le Désert

The cloister dominated by the ruins of the Giant's castle

Harmony of Romanesque architecture

The 18th century organ. at the back of the Romanesque church

So, does that really make it one of the most beautiful villages in France?

It depends on each of us.

My opinion ? I think so. 

The quality of the restorations, the color of the stones, the location of the village protected by the mountain, and the magnificent abbey in the middle, all this seduces me. It really is one of the most beautiful villages in our country in my opinion.

How long does it take to get to Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert?

From Sete, it takes an hour to reach Saint-Guilhem. See here

Leaving from Montpellier, if there is no slowing down, it will take approximately 45 minutes. look here

If you are in Beziers, it will also take an hour to go to Saint-Guilhem le Desert. The route is here

Finally, if you are staying in Meze, it will take 50 minutes to arrive in Saint-Guilhem le Desert. Discover the route to follow here

I will bring you to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Sign up for the excursion I am organizing, visit my page dedicated to this excursion to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert for more information (program, timetables, prices).


Saint-Guilhem le Désert, unesco site, Hérault valley, medieval village

These articles will interest you

Do not miss the abbey of Valmagne

Do not miss the abbey of Valmagne
{"email": "Email address invalid", "url": "Website address invalid", "required": "Required field missing"}
List of my 10 favorite places in Languedoc

Receive this gift.
I send you the selection
of my 10 favorite places in Languedoc.

To help you make the right choices during your stay in Languedoc, 
I give you advice to visit each site

Don't like spam? Me neither ! Your email address will never be communicated or sold to anyone. 
Your email will allow me to send you my welcome gift and then my future advice.
To unsubscribe, an unsubscribe link will be visible at the bottom of my messages.


We speak French, English and Spanish. For other languages, this site is translated automatically. Thanks for your understanding.