Bécherel is an ancient Medieval village which became rather popular for a curious detail. The village in fact reaches the incredible figure of one bookstore every 44 inhabitants, an insanely high average. The story of this little town, based in Brittany (France), goes back all the way to the Early Middle Ages when Alain de Dinan decided to build up his first stone fortress in 1124. The fort was overlooking the valley and it had been placed there where the town was rising.
Throughout the centuries, the village and its fortress witnessed conflicts first between the French then with the Brits. In 1419 the defensive walls were renovated but from the 16th century on the city fell into ruin. Between the 1700 and the 1800 Bécherel found a new floridity thanks to the cultivation and production of linen and hemp.Below: some bookstores in the ancient village
The crisis of agriculture and the import of raw materials from abroad put a strain on Bécherel. However a new era of growth arrived in 1900 due to the industry and tourism. In the tiny village 15 bookstores opened up supported by several cultural events. This fact draws plenty of visitors from outside of the French borders too and the numbers seem to be growing.
The shows that take place in Bécherel include:
- Ancient Greek and Latin European Festival (March)
- The “Poets Spring”
- The “Fête du Livre” (Easter weekend)
- The Night of books (August)
- The“Lire en Fête” (October)
- Treasures di Bécherel(December)
Bécherel has increasingly become a focal point for European culture and book enthusiasts, site of pilgrimage for many
Below: the map of Becherel: