The House on the Square

The village of St Guilhem le Désert

View of St Guilhem
St Guilhem olive grove

The village is in a beautiful valley full of olive groves and wild flowers, with the Verdus stream running along its length providing small waterfalls and plunge pools for cooling off. Numerous springs provide a constant flow of water along channels running through the village streets.

Perfectly preserved and full of historic interest and medieval charm, St Guilhem is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. Thanks to this and its historic significance, the village is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

aerial view village

The village owes its existence to the Abbaye of St Gellone which was founded here in 806 by Guilhem, a knight and counsellor to the emperor Charlemagne.

In his later years Guilhem sought a place of refuge and discovered this secret valley where he founded his abbey. It subsequently became a significant stopping point on the Chemin de St Jacques pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostella.

The village square is shaded by “le Roi Platane”, the largest plane tree in France, planted in 1855. The square is lively during the day with cafe tables and from time to time local vendors selling their produce.

In high summer and holiday weekends the village can be very busy but come the evening all is quiet and peaceful.

The village restaurants range from simple pizzerias to excellent local cuisine. Food shops are pretty limited but there's a good range of supermarkets and local shops nearby.

A large car park is within easy walking distance of the house.

VIEW via cemetery
green waterfall 1
village passage 1
village street
Outskirts of St G

The river Herault runs through the gorge at the bottom of the village, providing numerous swimming spots. Some are secluded, others are more popular thanks to the shallow river beaches and cafe nearby. Dramatic canoe trips from the village.

A path above St Guilhem

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