Do try to pull yourself away from the soaring white escarpments, teal green water and gouged rock face around the Pont du Diable, as you will have nearly reached your destination: Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.
The eponymous Guilhem founded a Benedictine abbey there, in the lost reaches of the wind-lashed desert. Perched on an escarpment, less promising spots to begin an abbey, let alone village, could hardly be imagined. But the (it is also said) heartbroken Guilhem, cousin to Charlemagne, left the court life and battlefield as a time-tested and valiant warrior after the early death of his youthful, second wife, to build the abbey that would later take his name.
Having spent some thirteen years successfully defending the southern borders of France (on land that had been wrested from first the Visigoths then the Moors by his own grandfather), Guilhem turned to carving out a place that would later become a popular stage in the pilgrimage route to Spain's Santiago de Compostela, and still later a flourishing touristic village with still-functioning abbey--and this after intervening centuries of benign decline and outright destruction.But please, do be clever: avoid the congested periods in order to also avoid the Disneyland effect. Do take shelter from the burning sun under the century-old plane tree in the main square, its trunk a full six meters in diameter. Make liberal, cooling use of the fountains scattered across the village--drinking only from the ones marked eau potable. Lose yourself in the labyrinthine passageways. Peek into the well-maintained vegetable gardens of the order and other 250-some village residents.Admire the flowers growing in every possible cranny of the limestone walls, then duck into the cool of the Romanesque abbey itself. Only there will you find a small reprieve from the pressing heat and the sustained, fever pitch of the locusts.
I am fairly certain that regardless of your feelings on faith, the atmosphere of the village can be restorative, if you can remain open to the possibility.