30 minutes from the campsite, the Abbey of Saint-Gilles in the Gard is a real jewel of Romanesque art which has been welcoming pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela since the 12th century.
At the gateway to the Camargue region of the Gard, Saint-Gilles has always been a major pilgrimage site on the route to Santiago de Compostela. The abbey church of the former Benedictine monastery, built between the 5th and 15th centuries, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This masterpiece of Romanesque art has a richly decorated Romanesque facade which depicts episodes from the life of Christ. As early as the 7th century, the tomb of Saint-Gilles attracted crowds of pilgrims who came to meditate in the crypt.
Legend has it that Saint Gilles lived here as a hermit after donating his possessions to the poor. His tomb attracted so many pilgrims that a town emerged, with up to 30,000 inhabitants, where everything was organised around an abbey.
From the abbey church, which has been severely damaged by centuries and conflicts, there remains the Romanesque Provençal facade decorated with sculptures, a crypt which houses the saint’s sarcophagus and the famous Vis de Saint-Gilles, a spiral staircase which is rare throughout the world. Don’t hesitate to linger around this famous spiral staircase of the old choir
End your visit to the abbey church with the crypt! It is reached by a small stone staircase from the nave. Here you will find the tomb of Saint Gilles around which pilgrims come to meditate. The atmosphere is quite special, it is very dark, cool, damp and yet the silence resounds.
To complete the visit, go to the Maison Romane museum, which has been awarded the Musée de France label. Built at the end of the 12th century, the building houses beautiful archaeological and ethnographic collections that tell the story of Saint Gilles, its abbey church and, more broadly, the department.
In the Middle Ages, the Abbey of Saint-Gilles was the fourth most important place of pilgrimage in the Christian world. Today, the site is part of the tradition of the “Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela in France”, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
If you are looking for a 5-star campsite near Saint-Gilles in the Gard, contact the Domaine de Massereau***** on 33 (0)4 66 53 11 20 to find out about availability and book your mobile home or caravan site.