"FOUNTAINS, NO DESERT !" Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert by breughel

Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Travel Guide: 79 reviews and 100 photos

Un nom paradoxal !

Quel paradoxe d'avoir associé ce village avec la notion de désert alors que partout jaillissent des fontaines!
En fait le mot désert réfère au paysage sauvage de garrigues qui caractérise les hauteurs de l'Hérault et ses gorges étroites.

Quant à Guilhem il était le petit fils de Charles Martel et cousin du futur Charlemagne dont il devint un fidèle ami et conseiller. Après avoir guerroyé contre les Sarrasins il se retira au monastère de Gellone qu'il avait fondé en 804. Ayant reçu de Charlemagne un morceau de la Croix il l'a déposa dans l'église abbatiale où elle est exposée. Au XIIIe siècle le monastère de Gellone fut rebaptisé Saint Guilhem le Désert.

What a paradox to have associated the word desert with this village when everywhere fountains gush out of the stones!
In fact the word refers to the deserted landscape of wild scrubland that characterizes the heights of the Hérault with its narrow gorges.

Guilhem was the grandson of Charles Martel and cousin of the future Charlemagne. He became his faithful friend and adviser. Having fought against the Saracens he retired in the monastery of Gellone which he had founded in 804. Having received from Charlemagne a piece of the Cross he placed it the abbatial church where it is exposed. In the thirteenth century the monastery of Gellone was renamed St. Guilhem le Desert.

  • Last visit to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert: Dec 2008
  • Intro Updated Apr 16, 2010
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (8)

Comments (5)

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    this is the kind of village that makes me want to rush over to jfk and hop on air france. beautiful pictures and as always the history that makes the town real. the tree is amazing.

    • breughel's Profile Photo
      Oct 1, 2013 at 6:42 AM

      A part of the cloister was moved to New York but the village by itself is fine enough to be worth the visit.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Thanks for sharing this interesting village with me! I really wondered what I was going to find when I read 'desert' in the name - I know what that represents now!

  • Nov 29, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    i didn't know whether to laugh or not at the thought of a donkey on the altar. what an amazing village, did not know this was included in the unesco list. the history is surely something to treasure.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    The history here surely to deep and to be a relative of Charles the "Hammer" is a tribute for him. That family was one that held back an intrusion that today we now face. Great job of describing this village

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Fascinating tips on this lovely village! I always have the feeling that I "know" Charlemagne because he is a character in the opera "Fierrabras" by Franz Schubert. Charlemagne's cousin Guilhem is not in the opera, however.


“Heureux qui, comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 5 8
Forum Rank:
0 0 6 0 7

Badges & Stats in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

  • 8 Reviews
  • 8 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 837PageViews

Have you been to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert?

  Share Your Travels  

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (4)