How to spend the day in a medieval French village

medieval french village 3 croppedFrance is home to some of the most beautiful medieval villages. After exploring the South of France, I can finally present to you a real hidden treasure, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

You will find yourself on the doorstep of this medieval village after passing by a steep gorge and crossing Le Pont du Diable (the Devil’s Bridge). Here, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, is Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

It is a sanctuary of rustic and rocky emerald green vegetation and flowing rivers. And only a 45 minute drive from Montpellier. This is one village that shouldn’t be missed.

So come along with me as I talk you through five things to see and do.

1. Stroll through the narrow, winding cobbled stoned streets and admire the tumbling maisons with their quaintly decorated and elevated garden terraces.

2. Explore the Abbey of Gellone, which was built long ago in 806. The church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the village and the Devil’s bridge.

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3. Wander through the village, and stare in awe as you make your way to the main square, Place de la Liberté, where a tree planted in 1855 still stands.

4. Sit back and take in the soothing sounds of the many overflowing ancient fountains that surround the square.

5. If you’re feeling a bit peckish and looking for an authentic French meal, I would definitely recommend the family-run restaurant, Sur Le Chemin De Compostelle (38 rue de la Font du Portal, Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, France). You will be welcomed into an arched stoned cellar dating all the way back to the 11th century.

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Lost in a field of olive trees, set against the backdrop of impressive mountains and green cliffs covered in Southern French herbs, the charm has not worn off at Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. So what are you waiting for? France is so much more than just Paris! 

What is your favourite medieval French village? Join the conversation in the comments box below.

All images courtesy of Christina Phung.

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Christina Phung

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  1. Elise Mellor Jul 10, 2014 at 4:57 PM - Reply

    My advice: find a boulangerie and a fromagerie, get yourself a rustic bread and some gorgeous cheese and have yourself un petit pique-nique in the most picturesque spot you can find!! PS if you can manage to include a bottle of wine in this… well. That’s just paradise.

  2. Christina Phung Jul 11, 2014 at 1:13 AM - Reply

    Hi Elise, yes I totally agree. Nothing beats great old French bread and wine!

    • Elise Mellor Sep 11, 2014 at 10:42 AM - Reply

      Absolutely… I know this isn’t actually France but I have a happy memory of sitting in Gruyères, Switzerland, on the top of the battlements (I suppose that’s what you’d call them?) eating Gruyère (what else??) on French bread on a late winters afternoon. It was superb 🙂
      In my defense we had driven over that day from Ferney-Voltiare in France so it was actually French bread 😉

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