Gallery: Villages of Languedoc deehands
Quaint towns and villages dot the Languedocian landscape providing picturesque views and vibrant places to stop for a break. The traditional “circulade” villages are typical of the Languedoc region. Originating in medieval times, these villages are so named because they have been built in concentric circles generally with a church or chateau at the centre. Steeped in over 1000 years of history and winemaking, they have changed very little over the centuries.
There are literally two many worthy villages to mention, but in this gallery we feature a few of our favourites. In all of our cycling tours we endeavour to get you off the beaten path to explore these hidden gems for yourself.
The pretty town of Caux is our homebase. Surrounded by vineyards, Caux is a traditional “circulade” village typical of the Languedoc region. Originating in medieval times, the village is constructed in concentric circles with the 12th century church of Saint-Gervais de Caux at its centre. Steeped in over 1000 years of history and and winemaking, Caux is a friendly and thriving community.
Nestled between the Mediterranean, and the hills of the Haut Languedoc, it is also a great base for cycling. Many of our day rides start right from our doorstep. For an idea of the many different types of routes available from our homebase, check out our Come Ride with Me tour.
Pézenas was once the capital of ancient Languedoc. The medieval town centre is full of history and charm as well as many boutiques and cafes. It is a popular rest day choice on many of our guided and self-guided cycle tours.
Explore the pedestrian-only historic centre and the ancient Jewish Quarter. You will want to keep a camera handy. Pézenas is also a local artistic hub. Pop in to the many artisan workshops and galleries; there are marked routes you can follow. You will be spoiled for choice with an abundance of quality restaurants from local to gourmet cuisine
St. Guilhem le Desert, Languedoc
St-Guilhem le Desert is both the name of an abbey and the village that grew up around it. The romanesque Gellone Abbey is a rare beauty and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The village has retained its medieval personality with old houses in amber stone, an ancient tower, and a shady square with a fountain at its centre. Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is counted among the “Plus Beaux Villages” of France and is home to numerous artists’ studios, shops and restaurants.
The extensive underground stalagmite caves the “Grottes of Clamouse” are nearby as is the roman “Pont de Diable”.
The village of Sommières is one of the most picturesque in the region. It has a Roman bridge, a medieval centre, a fortified gate and the ruins of a castle. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of cycling. There are many cafes and quaint shops in which to recover and refuel. Trek up the hill to the chateau, even if you don’t have much time to visit the historic castle itself as the panoramic view over the rooftops is worth it. Each weekend during the summer months, Sommières hosts one of the largest and most vibrant Brocante Markets in the south of France.
The town of Uzès dates from Roman times. The architecture is beautiful, and its elegant squares are the perfect place for lunch or coffee. Well preserved and restored, the old town provides a tranquil backdrop for exploring. Wander the circular streets which follow the route of the medieval walls that once protected the castle in the 11th century. Relax in La Place aux Herbes in the historic centre with its many outdoor cafés and arcades. Admire the tall Fenestrelle cathedral tower fashioned after the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Alternatively, take a short day ride out to the magnificent roman Pont du Gard. The Pont du Gard, a UNESCO World Hertiage site stands almost 50m high on three levels and 275m wide – a technical as well as an artistic masterpiece.