Saint-Guilhem Way

Saint-Guilhem Way : Chemin de Saint-Guilhem

Saint Guilhem Way – Chemin de Saint-Guilhem is an ancient transhumance route linking the lush green plateaux of Aubrac in the Massif Central to the parched Mediterranean lowlands of the Languedoc.

One for the purists – arguably the best walking tour in south-central France.”

- Maddie-Morganne, The Enlightened Traveller.

For concise tour details, download the appropriate tour pdf. Run your cursor over the image to download either the 10-night [left] or the 12-night [right] version to suit. Alternatively, click through the sub-headings in the right-hand column for information on how to access the tour, accommodation, what’s included in the price and the relevant costs – and of course read the summary below.

Saint Guilhem Way – Chemin de Saint-Guilhem was, from the early Middle Ages, bustling with caravans of mules and traders eagerly transporting their produce to the fairs of Meyrueis and Le Vigan: salt, wine, oil, cheese, lace and leather. Close on their heels were pilgrims, keen to visit the abbey of Gellone: resting place for Saint Guilhem of Aquitaine, 812 AD, with its relic of the Holy Cross donated by his cousin, Emperor Charlemagne. From here they would join the Arles Route and kick on eastwards to Rome or westwards to Santiago de Compostela.

This is Languedoc’s drovers’ trail par excellence which, unlike its more famous cousin to the east, Le Chemin de St-Gilles, has not fallen foul to tarmacking and the automobile. The path offers an extraordinary variety of landscapes en route as you cross the three departments of Lozère, Gard and l’Herault; the Northern Causse, the Causse de Sauveterre, the River Lot and the Tarn Gorge; Causse Mejean, the Mont Aigoual massif and the Causse de Blandas, before plunging into the topographic marvel that is La Cirque de Navacelles. Explore the Vis Gorge on the penultimate day before enjoying one of the best day’s hiking Le Midi has to offer as you descend to the grande finalé of Saint-Guilhem-le-Dèsert.

Stevenson Trail - Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70 map

11-night rate:

    • Per person in a shared double or twin-bedded room:
      £0.00 Pounds Sterling or €0.00 Euros
    • Single person rate:
      £0.00 Pounds Sterling or €0.00 Euros

9-night rate:

  • Per person in a shared double or twin-bedded room:
    £0.00 Pounds Sterling or €0.00 Euros
  • Single person rate:
    £0.00 Pounds Sterling or €0.00 Euros
  • “Arguably the best walking tour in southern France.”
  • Enjoy a transhumance, medieval trading and pilgrimage trail crossing Lozère, Gard and l’Herault.
  • Hike an extraordinary variety of landscapes, including Causses, Gorges and Cirque.
  • Visit and stay in some of southern France’s most picturesque villages.
  • Big finish in Saint-Guilhem-le-Dèsert.
  • 11 or 9-night, moderate self-guided tour
  • Start any day from May to mid-October (from mid-April from Banassac), with best periods being May and June, and September and October.
  • 11-night tour starts in Nasbinals and finishes in Saint-Guilhem-le-Dèsert.
  • 9-night tour starts in Banasac-La Canourge.
  • Best access: for 11-night tour is Aumont-Aubrac gare SNCF via Claremont-Ferrand; for 9-night tour, from Claremont-Ferrand in 3.30 mins. or from Montpellier gare SNCF to Millau by SNCF bus (90 mins) and change for Banassac (40 mins).
  • Welcoming mix of ‘2-star standard’ hotels and rural auberges.
  • We transport your luggage, you just carry a light day pack.
  • 11 or 9 nights nights B & B in ‘2-star standard’ hotels and auberges and all hotel taxes
  • 11 or 9 evening meals respectively plus two snack lunches.
  • Luggage transfers¹ & incoming taxi transfer from either Aumont-Aubrac or Marvejols (11-night trip).
  • Hiking Insight Notes™ that empower & make orientation easy
  • 1:50,000 scale maps & themed vacation dossier.
  • Emergency telephone help-line service with native-English speaking backup.

Notes:
¹ You are entitled to take one suitcase per person weighing up to 15 kgs – i.e., no suitcase must exceed 15 kgs. Supplements apply for overweight luggage.

Not included:
Remaining meals and all drinks and extras;
personal expenses;
entrances into any optional cultural visits and venues;
hiking, personal and travel insurances;
travel to Nasbinals or Banassac and from Saint Guilhem.

1

How to get to Nasbinals

Nearest SNCF stations are in Aumont-Aubrac or Marvejols from where a taxi will be waiting to take you onto Nasbinals. The taxi is included in the tour fees.

By air to the following airports: Paris, Claremont-Ferrand, Bezier, Marseilles, Montpellier or Nimes. Rodez is an option if coming from the UK

By rail

  • From Paris and change at Claremont-Ferrand for onward SNCF train or bus to Aumont-Aubrac.
  • Example – from Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF: dep at 10.50 by SNCF coach, arrive in Aumont at 12.32; or dep at 13.03 by train, arriving in Aumont at 15.53.

  • From Nimes via Mende with onward SNCF bus to Aumont-Aubrac.
  • Example – from Nimes gare SNCF: depart at 12.22 by train, change at Mende and arrive in Aumont-Aubrac at 16.48 (4 hrs 26 mins); or depart at 14.13 by train, arrive in Marvejols at 18h17 (4 hrs 4 mins).

  • From Montpellier gare SNCF to Millau by SNCF bus (90 mins) for onward SNCF bus to Marvejols (65 mins).
  • Example – from Montpellier gare SNCF: depart on SNCF bus at 12.05, arrive Millau at 13.35; onward SNCF bus departs Millau at 15: 05, arriving in Marvejols at 16.10.

  • From Bezier, there’s one direct morning train to Aumont-Aubrac in as little as 3.30 mins.
  • From Bezier gare SNCF: dep at 09.37, arrive in Aumont at 13.10.

    These details are non-contractual and subject to change.
    Please See:
    https://www.sncf.com/en
    or the TER Site here.

    By bus:

  • From Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF to Aumont-Aubrac.
  • This service is run by Autocars Lozère and there are two services each day:
    Example: departure from Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF at 10.50 by SNCF coach, arriving in Aumont at 12.32 (not on Sundays or National holidays); or departure at 16.50 by SNCF coach, arriving in Aumont at 18.37.
    See: autocars-lozere.com

  • From Millau Gare SNCF to Marvejols.
  • There is one bus per day, departing from Millau at 15.05, arriving in Marvejols at 16.10.

    2

    How to get to Banassac La Canourge

    By rail:

  • From Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF in 3.30 mins.
  • Example from Clermont-Ferrand gare SNCF: dep at 10.50 by SNCF coach, arrive in Marvejols at 13h05; change for Banassac La Canourge, dep at 13. 53 by train, arriving at 14.17.

  • From Montpellier gare SNCF to Beziers by train (49 mins), for onward train to Banassac La Canourge (2 hrs 50 mins).
  • Example from Montpellier gare SNCF: depart on SNCF train at 08: 20, arrive Beziers at 09: 09; onward train departs at 09: 37, arriving in Banassac at 12: 27.

  • From Bezier there’s one direct morning train to Banassac in under 3 hours.
  • From Bezier gare SNCF: dep at 09.37, arrive in Banassac at 12h27.

    These details are non-contractual and subject to change.
    Please See:
    https://www.sncf.com/en
    or the TER Site here.

    • By bus:

  • From Montpellier gare SNCF to Millau by SNCF bus (90 mins) for onward SNCF bus to Banassac (40 mins).
  • Example from Montpellier gare SNCF: depart on SNCF bus at 12: 05, arrive Millau at 13: 35; onward bus departs Millau at 15: 05, arriving in Banassac at 15: 45. 

  • From Millau – as above.
  • See: autocars-lozere.com

    3

    Departure from St Guilhem.

    • By Taxi

  • Gignac bus station for onward coaches to Bezier, Montpellier or Millau will cost about 25€ (Monday to Saturday) and 40€ on Sunday.


  • • By bus:

  • From St Guilhem Le Désert (Bus ligne 308, excl. Sundays) to MONTPELLIER (in 55 minutes). One bus per day departing at 12:45 hrs and arriving at 13:40.
  • From GIGNAC (Bus ligne 301/381) to MILLAU (in 100 minutes) and MONTPELLIER (in 25 minutes).
  • Further details from: herault-transport.fr

  • A mix of comfortable, family-run,’2-star standard’ hotels or equivalent chambres d’hotes and auberges.
  • En-suite facilities.
  • Evening meals follow a fixed menu format for all half-board guests and do not include drinks. All showcase ‘produits du terroirs’ typical of the regions through which you walk.
  • Most hotel menus provide a meat or fish dish, plus a vegetarian option. You can opt for greater choice from the whole menu (à la carte) for a supplement – please ask your hosts about this.
  • Chambres d’hotes and auberges function around one common meal of which all guests partake, bar vegetarians, who would have an alternative dish.
  • Hot and dry summers; mild and sunny spring & autumn
  • Unless you are used to walking in temperatures of 28+c, we advise you to avoid choosing this trail for July & August.
  • Enjoy extremely varied countryside: the High Aubrac plateaux and Causses; the deeply incised canyons of the Tarn, Jonte and Vis; not forgetting the schist hills and valleys of Cevennes.

Stevenson Trail - Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70: Lozere Gard Upper Loire Ardeche map

This self-guided walking tour offers a moderate challenge, with a total distance of 120 miles, averaging 12 miles or 19 Kilometres per day. The Trail is unlikely to be given its own specific GR Depart from the highlands of World Heritage Aubrac in the north (1350 ms altitude) and walk south to UNESCO’s Saint-Guilhem (105 ms). En route your hiking trip is punctuated by some of southern France’s most picturesque villages, farmsteads and churches; an impressive assortment of stone crosses, menhirs, bridges and hermitages; and complemented by a mix of small-scale characterful and comfortable accommodations. Due to bottlenecks, the maximum group size is eight.

Saint Guilhem Way – Chemin de Saint-Guilhem is best accessed by train via Aumont-Aubrac (full tour) or Banasac-La Canourge (abridged version) and the trail best walked in May, June, September and the first half of October. Customers who have already walked our Le Puy to Conques and Tarn Gorges trails can fear not: you will not re-walk any paths hitherto hiked, but you do get the chance to revisit the bijou villages of Aubrac, Ste-Enimie and Meyrueis!

Saint Guilhem Way – Chemin de Saint-Guilhem

Distances, elevations and timings are approximate, with no breaks included.

Day 1: Arrival in Nasbinals by train followed by taxi transfer and hotel check-in.

Day 2

Aubrac to Col du Trébatut

[14.5 miles/23 kms,
6.5 hrs walking]

Chaos de Rajas

Short transfer to Aubrac where you see the first of the eponymous cows before descending to an ancient Roman trail. Cross a denuded plateau, follow a minor road to Laz Croix de la Rode before branching out across prairie to the isolated gîte des Rajas. Enjoy refreshments at the Relais des lacs de Bonnecombe (1391 ms) before commencing the descent through the forest to the col des Trébatuts and your comfortable auberge.

Night in Col du Trébatut.

Day 3

Col du Trébatut to La Canourgue

[9.5 miles/15.5 kms,
5 hrs walking].

Sacré Croix

We continue our descent through forest and across prairies to the picturesque and busy village of Saint Germain du Teil. Then climb to the Croix du Bois du Juge with its impressive belvedere before enjoying some fine countryside trails en route to the River Lot at Banassac and its twin village, La Canourge.

Night in La Canourgue.

Day 4

La Canourgue to Sainte-Enimie

[17.5 miles/28 kms, 7.5 hrs – optional 4.5 mile/7 km transfer cuts out initial scenic 450 mètre climb]

Causse de Sauveterre

A picturesque morning’s climb takes us up to the le plateau du Plo de la Can (option to cut the climb out via a 5 km after-breakfast transfer on demand at the time of booking). Cross the Causse de Sauveterre, a vast limestone plateau and home to herds of grazing sheep roaming between isolated hamlets, testimony to the harsh life of the few who still choose to live here. After picturesque Champertoux, we start the impressive descent into the Tarn Gorge for your overnight stay in the honeypot village of Sainte Enimie.

Night in Sainte-Enimie.

Day 5

Ste-Enimie to Nivoliers

[9.5 miles/15 kms,
4.5 hrs walking]

Causse Mejean

Another morning climb gives up some glorious views back down to the village and along the Gorge. Take your time and take it all in! The tree-covered western Causse Mejean is a delight to hike and we prefer the wilder GR60 crossing favoured by transhumance. The village of Nivoliers is a peach, and the auberge comfortable and with great food.

Night in Nivoliers.

Day 6

Nivoliers to Meyrueis

[8.5 miles/13.5 kms,
4 hrs walking]

Superb GR60

Another reason we favour the GR60 is that we couldn’t bear the thought of you missing this day’s walking – short but very, very sweet. Unforgettable countryside, a lost hamlet and the GRP with jaw-dropping views of the Jonte Gorge and eventually of Meyrueis itself. Enjoy the descent and your evening canal-side.

Night in Meyrueis.

(Option to combine Days 5 and 6 – but makes two consecutive and challenging days)

Day 7

Meyrueis to L’Espérou.

[14.5 miles/23 kms,
6.5 hrs walking].

Mont Aigoual

Another morning climb and this time via a variant that is off-road and much more interesting than the standard GR6/66.  Pass the menhir de la Pierre Plantée and arrive at the abime de Bramabiau (impressive sink hole and river source, paid visits only) and its restaurant (optional visit). Your path climbs ‘Happiness Valley’ and continues in the shadows of Mont Aigoual via the Serreyride and Espérou cols before you descend to the latter.

Night in L’Espérou.

Day 8

L’Espérou to Le Vigan or Aulas.

[12 miles/19 kms, 5.5 hrs; or 16 kms to Aulas]

Original Languedocienne

Leaving the foothills of Mont Aigoual, we follow the Great Languedocienne Drover’s Trail. From the col de la Broue (1100 ms) we descend to Le Vigan, capital of southern Cévennes via the quaint medieval village of Aulas.

Night in Le Vigan or Aulas.

Day 9

Le Vigan to Navacelles.

[13.5 miles/22 kms, 6 hrs; with 25 kms from Aulas].

Neolithic Blandas

Follow the course of the River Arre out of town via Avèze before the climb up to Causse de Blandas and lunch at Montardier. An irate farmer has caused a long detour, but we recommend a short passage along a B road with some interesting menhirs, dolmens and stone circles, testimony to neolithic man’s presence on the plateau. Refreshments at Blandas before stepping out towards the Navacelles visitor centre and the panoramamic Cirque de Navacelles itself. The descent into the Vis Gorge is steep but spectacular, and your overnighter in the hamlet of Navacelles, memorable.

Night in Navacelles.

Day 10

Navacelles to Les Natges.

[11 miles/17.5 kms,
5.5 hrs walking]

Cirque de Navacelles

The climb out of the Gorges is rude but exhilarating and you follow a water canal carved into the rock before rejoining the plateau and arriving in the village de Saint Maurice de Navacelles for your picnic lunch by its XVII century Château. Then it’s a gentle descent down valley to the tiny farming hamlet of Natges.

Night in Les Natges.

Day 11

Les Natges to St Guilhem Le Désert

[10 miles/16 kms,
5 hrs walking]

Notre Dames hermitage

The final stage will remain long in the memory as you enjoy multiple panoramas on the cirque de la Seranne and the summits of Peyre Martine and Roc Blanc. The magnificent descent on dolomite rock and through Salzmann pines is a pleasure to behold and is guaranteed to delight your soles. Pass the Notre Dames hermitage and the clifftop castle ruins overlooking the Languedoc Plain before your arrival in saintly Saint Guilhem.

Night in St Guilhem Le Désert

.

Day 11: Departure day: end of Chemin de Saint-Guilhem – The Saint Guilhem Way – Breakfast, bon retour et a la prochaine! Bus or taxi transfer to Ales or Nimes [not included in the tour fees] or optional return transfer to Le Puy – please ask us for details.

Further Reading
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