April 3, 2024 – Montpellier – Montarnaud – 22 Kms – Chambre d’hotes Le Bois Des Frênes

April 4, 2024 – Montarnaud – Saint Guilhem le Desert – 22 kms – Gite de la Tour

April 5, 2024 – Saint Guilhem le Desert – St. Jean de la Blaquiere – 24 kms – Municipal Pilgrim Hostel

Is there anything more flattering and touching than to see yourself through the eyes of a dear friend ? 

We had two days and three nights with our  friend Ewa. Our last night was spent in Saint Guilhem le Désert, one of the «Plus Beaux Villages de France». Most of the descriptions of the Chemin d’ Arles list this place as one of the highlights of the route. It’s nestled in an amazing tight valley with tiny medieval streets winding up to the Abbey. While it is absolutely magnificent, tourism has transformed the place from a living village into something else. As I cycled past the village just before Saint Guilhem I noticed a huge parking lot with a free shuttle service to deliver the throngs of tourists to Saint Guilhem, three kilometres away.  Life must be somewhat complicated for the 244 villagers still living there. Although there are countless tourist shops selling expensive wine, honey and soaps, there is no longer a grocery store , bakery or even a convenience shop. At one time this community would have been completely self reliant and, I suspect, more livable. 

It was lovely to spend the night together in Saint Guilhem, but it was the togetherness that made the time really beautiful. Honestly we could have been anywhere. I’m so grateful and touched that Ewa made the long journey to walk with us. 

As they said on the always insightful show, “My Little Ponies”: “Friends are Magic!”

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