"St Guilhem-Le-Désert" Top 5 Page for this destination Languedoc-Roussillon Things to Do Tip by kokoryko
Languedoc-Roussillon Things to Do: 76 reviews and 211 photos
Some forty kilometres North West of Montpellier is a small village named St Guilhem-Le-Désert, a street-village, with a central place dominated by a more than one thousand years old plane tree. I passed several times through St Guilhem during my trips to the Cévennes and last time I was here (2003), it was late evening and weather was not exactly “Mediterranean”!
What is this Desert? Not a real desert as we usually conceive it; here it is a landscape of limestone cliffs, deep gorges with small rivers, caves, shrubland where the protestants took refuge during persecutions of the religion wars; locals told at that time about members of their family: “he is out to the desert”, meaning this member was protestant, hiding somewhere in this area.
When you arrive from the south, you have a nice look out over the village (picture 1). In the village itself, dominated by high cliffs (picture 2), you will see many old stone houses, an old church, an abbey, (see the website), all very packed, close to each other, surrounding the central place with the huge plane tree (picture 3).
The narrow streets of the village are very picturesque and a few hikes around, with beautiful views on the village can be undertaken.
St Guilhem owes its name to a knight named Guilhem (William), cousin of Charlemagne, who founded not far from here the monastery of Gellone, after a long life as a soldier.
More on the website (in French).
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