Abbey of St Felix de Montceau
Church of Saint Genies
18 kms from Montpellier
14 kms from Sete
Surrounded on one side by the Etang de Thau, the other by the Gardiole hills and another the vast plain of vineyards with gorgeous wines, Gigean is a lovely village boasting a jewel of a ruined abbey - L'Abbaye St-Felix-de-Montceau.
A highlight of the area is the Gardiole natural area of hills, culminating in Roch d'Anduze at 243 m. It has been classified as "protected site" since 1980. Protected from tourism projects and real estate. For the record, this risk was real, a few decades ago, and was at the time behind the rankings.
The Gardiole borders Balaruc le Vieux, Balaruc les Bains, Fabregues, Frontignan, Mireval and Vic la Gardiole. It has an exceptional ecological heritage with oaks and other trees that host rock blackbirds, red grouse, cuckoos, jays, buzzards ash, hawks, owls.
Of particular note is the Abbey of St Felix de Montceau that is in the heart of this natural heritage. (It is the abbey you see when going to and from Montpellier on the Autoroute, peeping out of the trees in the hillside to your east). The abbey reached its peak in the 13th Century, and looks over the plain. The ruins, extremely well preserved and restored through a partnership between the Municipality and the Association for the Protection of the Abbey of St Felix Montceau, reveal beautiful Gothic, arches and buttresses, with elements Carolingian Gallo-Roman. The renovation and rebirth of this lovely building is in part due to the energy of Luc Routier, who in 1970 started an association to bring the beautiful abbey back to life. Their love, seems to be embodied to the full in their lovely website on the abbey - St-Felix-de-Monceau.
In its historical center, Gigean, has renovated and brought life into the old 13th century church of Saint Genies, with carved capitals, vaulted nave, and 15th century porch and towers with a mix of concerts - jazz, classical, modern, folk - presented by the music organisation Musicathau.
There is also a Chapel of Penitents dated 1616, near the north gate of the ramparts.
Visit Montpellier - Cosmopolitan Capital of Languedoc France
or take a trip to the lively fishing port of Sete
View Gigean and Abbaye St-Felix-de-Montceau, Herault in a larger map