Grand Site de France Gorges de l’Hérault, Hérault, Occitania
Le Verdus is a stream protected for its biodiversity nestled in the heart of the Gorges de l’Hérault «Grand Site de France», and has been home to many people over the course
of history. It flows through the medieval village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, at the foot of Gellone Abbey, a world heritage site. The place inspires harmony between humankind and nature, offering calm and revitalisation.
© Hervé Leclair_Aspheries
In the heart of the Grand Site de France Gorges de l'Hérault, the medieval village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is set in an abundance of vegetation. The Verdus, a stream, classified Natura 2000 and protected for its biodiversity, runs through the village and has allowed the settlement of men throughout history. The heart of the village is the Gellone Abbey, typical of the Romanesque art of Languedoc and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. A few years ago, the village was saturated with tourists. An ambitious and coherent territorial project made it possible to relieve congestion in the village and around the Pont du Diable, with the creation of a site house, discreet parking and the introduction of shuttles. The Grand Site de France approach has thus made it possible to spread visitor numbers over a wider area, to develop soft mobility and to showcase the richness of the gorges' landscapes, such as the terraced vineyards and olive groves, the perched villages and the pottery tradition. Through this unifying project, the site has regained a gentle way of life and boosted its economy.