My first little voyage in Southern France to Saint-Guilhem proved to be a nice start to warm up my travel muscles and make me excited for more to come. It is a small village by the Hérault River that is part of the French Chemin de St. Jacques (St. James Way) to Santiago de Compostella in Spain.
As expected in September, Mediterranean weather did not disappoint, and we strolled into the nearby mountains first for a quick hike before exploring the village.
For me, the highlight was the river surrounded by rocks and moutains, shimmering in a deep blue color with the Pont du Diable blending perfectly into the scene. Unfortunately, the Grotte de Clamouse was closed when we arrived, but we got over it as we sunbathed by a nearby lake and watched as people jumped from the cliffs or engaged in kayak races.
The Pont du Gard or Devil’s Bridge was built by monks more than 1000 years ago where the Hérault Gorges open out, making it the oldest Romanesque bridge in France. It got its name from a story where the devil sabotaged the construction of the bridge each night, until St. Guilhem made a pact with him and promised him the first soul that crossed the completed bridge. The devil agreed but clever Guilhem sent a stray dog across the bridge on the day it opened, which made the enraged devil jump into the river.