Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Travel Guide

  • Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert
    by elisabethsb
  • Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert
    by elisabethsb
  • Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert
    by elisabethsb

Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Things to Do

  • Le célèbre platane - The famous plane...

    Before anything else the plane tree at the center of the small square attracts the eye.Its greenery serves as umbrella for all tables located at its foot. Be careful when you sit because these tables belong to several cafes/restaurants and not just one.This plane was planted in 1855. He brought his strength and freshness to the Liberty square....

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  • The river Verdus.

    This medieval village, very well preserved, is built in the Gellone dale along the river Verdus that flows into the Hérault whose narrow gorges are spectacular. The village is spread over a length of approximately 800 m north of the Verdus till its junction with the river Hérault at the entrance of the village. Gardens are terraced on its banks. At...

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  • The scattering of the cloister.

    At the French Revolution the convent and the cloister were abandoned and sold to different owners who established industrial or artisanal activities in the premises. The last was a mason who used the stones for works in the region. 148 scattered sculptures were recovered by a judge of Aniane. His heirs sold them to an antique dealer from whom the...

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  • Remains of the cloister.

    At Saint-Guilhem not much remains of the famous cloister from the abbey of Gellone, jewel of Romanesque art, which stood on two floors of galleries built between the 11th and 13th centuries. It was a square of about 13 x 15 m. Presently are only visible the north and west galleries of the cloisters ground floor. To see the whole it is better to fly...

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  • What a beautiful Nature's masterpiece!

    La Gotte de Clamouse is one of the largest underground cave, formed by abundant aragonite and calcite. You are welcome to this awsome work of the Nature.I recommend to book a guided tour at the ticket office. Going alone i not so safe - its dark and full of hard stones.

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  • Take a panolamic view of...

    Facing the entrance gate, take a street on the left and start slowly walking up the ston-paved path. On your right you can see a panoramic view of the village. It's a lovely few minutes' walk. You will be guided to the peaceful square of the village. Have a second coffee there!

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  • Place de la Liberté.

    This small square is the center of the village. Here is the porch under the tower of the Church of the Gellone Abbey, the market hall and the huge plane tree under which stand the tables of the various cafes/restaurants. The houses are Medieval or Renaissance. The nice wall of the refectory of the monks closes the square to the east. From here one...

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  • A paradoxical name!

    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...

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  • Grottes de Moiselle - or how to see...

    One of the most beautiful caves of the region of L'Herault, with guided tours in French and English.

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Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Restaurants

  • Between the Herault river and the road

    This is an old traditional family run restaurant that has been there for a very long time. They serve traditional food, game, crayfish. Crayfish used to be abundant in the Hérault River and in torrents but I am not sure that to day, there remain enough to be served in the restaurant. I would not be surprised if they came from elsewhere ! We have...

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  • In the middle of the city

    Dinner is served in a vaulted room built in the XIth and XIIth century. They serve a soup with black truffles, a cockerel cooked in a pastry crust and other very yummy dishes. We have not tried it as we already had dinner.

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  • Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Hotels

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Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Nightlife

  • Twin thin stalagmites

    After some million years, once they will have grown enough, these thin twin stalagmites will grow into one single large column, or may be the beginning of a drapery. We will come back later to see how it looks then !

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  • Calcite efflorescences

    Calcite efflorescences are the most delicate of all these concretions. They have been found in very few caves in the world. It seems that they form when calcite, CaCO3 is not alone but contain as small percentage of Na2CO3 and of (NH4)2CO3. There are so delicate that they are protected by a glass.

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  • The jellyfish's head (hard one !)

    After the elephant, let us dive into the Ocean to find a large jellyfish's head. Its living model, 99% of water, is soft as jelly and stings as hell. Its Clamouse copy is 99% calcite, hard as stone and does not sting !

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  • Draperies and columns

    Draperies and columns can sometimes have really odd shapes. Here, I can see a decayed elephant head. On the left, the trunk. On the right, the large ears of the Africa elephant, completely tear to strips that hang loose !

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  • Natural chandelier hanging

    In the ''Galerie des glaces'' of the Château de Versailles they have no such chandeliers. These don't need any dusting out ! That makes me think of a very special "natural" chandelier that you can visit at Sedlec ! Thank you Michael !

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  • The elephant's teeth

    That cannot be an elephant tooth : it is too large for an elephant ! Could it be a Tyranisaurus rex tooth ? No, as it is not looking as a carnivorous mandible. Then may be a huge herbivorous dinosaurus that has eaten a lot of carrots ! May be !

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  • Pastry shop or nightmare ?

    Don't you feel it looks like a pastry shop ? Or, I should better say, as a pastry cook's nightmare with orange chocolate trickling from everywhere, impossible to master, invading every available space in his laboratory !

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  • Closup on the calcite crystals

    Closup on the calcite crystals. These calcite crystals are so delicate that they have to be protected from the visitors by glass. Spath of Iceland is another of calcite crystals. It is the purest form of calcite and its crystals are as transparent as glass. Spath of Iceland (or Doppelspath) have allowed to discover the phenomenon of birefringence,...

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  • Amazing stalactites with...

    These amazing stalactites have calcite crystallizations. Calcite is Calcium carbonate and is the component of limestone, chalk and marble. It crystallize in the rhomboedric system but can give way to various shapes.

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Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Transportation

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    by breughel Written Apr 30, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The main parking called "Le parking du Pré des Pères" is located at the top of the village and actually very close (about 100 m) from the main square Place de la Liberté.
    There are about 400 parking spaces most in the shadow of trees. There are spaces for disabled and toilets. The fee was moderate (3 € for the day if I remember well).
    There is a small parking (50 cars) called Saint-Laurent at the lower part of the village giving access to the tourist office located in the former St-Laurent church.

    On normal days these 450 parking spaces are enough but not on week-ends or during the tourist high season where cars will park with difficulty along the main road to St-Guilhem.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Warnings and Dangers

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    by breughel Written Apr 30, 2010

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Parking at St-Guilhelm can be difficult on week-ends, feast days and vacation periods even if the two parkings count about 450 places for cars.

    The main parking called "Le parking du Pré des Pères" is located at the top of the village and actually very close (about 100 m) from the main square Place de la Liberté.
    There are about 400 parking spaces most in the shadow of trees. There are spaces for disabled and toilets. The fee was moderate (3 € for the day if I remember well).

    There is a small parking (50 cars) called Saint-Laurent at the lower part of the village giving access to the tourist office located in the former St-Laurent church.

    When these parkings are full the only option is to park with difficulty along the main road D4 to St-Guilhem as long as it is tolerated.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip

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Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Tourist Traps

  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    by JLBG Updated Jun 1, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You cannot park in the city (only locals can) and their are several parking lots along the Herault river. They are not enough for the many tourists that visit Saint Guilhem and many park outside the city, along the road that follow the Herault, which is not allowed but tolarated as long as it is not too big a nuisance for the traffic.

    Unique Suggestions: We had to park 2.5 km away from the city and walk... It was fine to go to Saint Guilhem but when coming back, it was raining cats and dogs ! And as our little dog was with us, he did not like at all the cats !

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Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert What to Pack

  • elisabethsb's Profile Photo

    by elisabethsb Written Sep 24, 2013

    Luggage and bags: Although it's definitely a tourist attraction, this town doesn't feel like your typical tourist trap ... I'd bring a large tote bag over a backpack for this daytrip and try to blend in a little more.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you want to feel good and blend in, opt for comfortable shoes (people here love their sporty sandals) and loose linen clothing. If you're coming on a hot day, don't forget sunglasses and -- if you burn easily -- a hat! (But try to avoid the NY Yankees baseball cap look.)

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen is a must for this trip. Most tourists come to Saint-Guilhem in the summer and, let me tell you, it is HOT. Although there are shops and places to visit inside, the best part of your trip will undoubtedly be exploring the winding cobblestone streets ... and there is very little shade!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Saint-Guilhem is only a stone's throw from Pont du Diable, an ancient bridge over the Herault River and a very popular swimming spot for tourists and locals. Bring your beach bag ... or at least a swimsuit!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Beaches

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Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Favorites

  • The stone and the flowers

    L'alliance de la pierre et des fleurs, du minéral et du végétal. The alliance of the stone and the flowers, the mineral and the plant.

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  • Peoples of St-Guilhem le Desert

    Comme partout dans le bassin méditerranéen, les habitants vivent beaucoup dans la rue. Il est facile d'établir une discussion avec eux. As everywhere in the Mediterranean basin, the inhabitants live a lot in the street. It is easy to establish a discussion with them.

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  • House of Cevennes

    Les vieilles maisons accueillent désormais des boutiques et des artisans.The old houses welcome the boutiques and craftsmen henceforth.

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