France’s big towns may be sprawling cosmopolitan monsters but in the villages, time stands still. They are still the sort of places you imagine in fairy tales; strolling down a roman road while nibbling on a baguette and looking across a field of grapevines at the remains of a castle perched atop a cliff. Those are the moments where France really steals your heart.
There are around 32,000 villages in France and we had heard about this list of 157 deemed ‘the most beautiful villages’ in France created by Charles Ceyrac. One of these is St Guilhem Le Desert, which is just a short bus ride away from our home town of Montpellier. With me dressed appropriately for walking around a pretty village eating ice cream, we started by doing just that; strolling, enjoying the picturesque village, eating lavender and chocolate ice cream looking at the ruins of a monastery atop a cliff of some sort imposing over the village. Then we decided we wanted to get a bit closer, so we climbed.
I saw a fashion blogger recently tweet something along the lines of “Always dress as if you might meet someone fabulous.” I however, am always going to follow the slightly different mantra of “Always dress as if you might meet a mountain.”
Adventures in St Guilhem Le Desert
How to get to St Guilhem Le Desert from Montpellier:
There are a lot of places you need a car for but not here, thankfully as we’re just on feet, bikes and public transport at the moment. Jump on a tram line 3 to Mosson and then from Mosson the 308 bus takes a picturesque route through Gignac and Pont Du Diable (another stunning place to visit) to St Guilhem Le Desert. There are a three of four buses a day going there and back so it’s important to check times.