Bécherel

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Bécherel
Begerel
Bécherel - Scorcio (2).jpg
Coat of arms of Bécherel
Coat of arms
Bécherel is located in France
Bécherel
Bécherel
Coordinates: 48°17′46″N 1°56′38″W / 48.2961°N 1.9439°W / 48.2961; -1.9439Coordinates: 48°17′46″N 1°56′38″W / 48.2961°N 1.9439°W / 48.2961; -1.9439
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Ille-et-Vilaine
Arrondissement Rennes
Canton Bécherel
Intercommunality Pays de Bécherel
Government
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Mélina Parmentier
Area
 • Land1 0.5 km2 (0.2 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Population2 748
 • Population2 density 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 35022 / 35190
Elevation 113–177 m (371–581 ft)
(avg. 166 m or 545 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Bécherel (Breton: Begerel, Gallo: Becherèu) is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France.

History[edit]

During the Roman times the town was positioned close to the important road linking Rennes with Dinan to the north.

In 1124 Alain de Dinan was granted a substantial portion of land which he used to build a (stone) castle. This dominated the valley and the present town grew up around the castle.

In 1168 Henry II, the Le Mans born English king, seized the strategically important town of Bécherel and fortified it.

In the middle years of the fourteenth century, during the Breton War of Succession the English, who were allied with Jean IV (sometimes called Jean V according to the writer's point of view) of Brittany, occupied Bécherel. In 1363 Charles of Blois, accompanied by Bertrand du Guesclin, known also as the Black Dog of Brocéliande, laid siege to the town, but Jean's forces aggressively and successfully resisted. The parties decided to meet near Évran to resolve their differences, but the bishops now intervened and a partition of Brittany between the two parties was determined.

Troubles returned in April 1371 when Olivier de Clisson laid siege to the town. Bertrand du Guesclin joined in against the English, who still held Bécherel, in August 1371.

In 1419 Anne of Laval, who had inherited the barony through the decease of her brother, restored the town's fortifications, but by the sixteenth century the place had fallen into ruins. Between the sixteenth end eighteenth centuries prosperity returned, thanks to the cultivation and weaving of linen and hemp. Under Napoleon the "Continental System/Blockade" caused much damage to these industries, however, and they also suffered increasingly through the import to Europe of cheap cotton during the nineteenth century.

Many in Bécherel welcomed the 1789 French Revolution, especially after 1794 when the worst of the blood letting came to an end. The anniversary of the king's execution was still being widely celebrated each January 21 at the start of the twentieth century.[1]

The nineteenth century saw the development of various leather based industries, and a factory manufacturing agricultural machinery underpinned the local economy. Between 1914 and 1971 the town was also the home of a large Dairy business. More recently the economy has increasingly been based on tourism and on the book trade.

Book town[edit]

Bécherel is a small village, called the "village of the books"[2] because there are fifteen bookstores for around 660 inhabitants. Events and performances taking place at Bécherel include: the European Festival of Ancient Greek and Latin, in March, for the national "Spring of Poets" weekend. The "Fête du Livre", each Easter week-end, the Night of Books (August), "Lire en Fête" (October), Treasures of Bécherel (December).

Population[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1793 882 —    
1800 493 −44.1%
1806 655 +32.9%
1821 690 +5.3%
1831 802 +16.2%
1836 817 +1.9%
1841 844 +3.3%
1846 836 −0.9%
1851 895 +7.1%
1856 820 −8.4%
1861 818 −0.2%
1866 780 −4.6%
1872 816 +4.6%
1876 740 −9.3%
1881 760 +2.7%
1886 798 +5.0%
1891 846 +6.0%
1896 852 +0.7%
1901 855 +0.4%
1906 890 +4.1%
1911 793 −10.9%
1921 788 −0.6%
1926 709 −10.0%
1931 723 +2.0%
1936 724 +0.1%
1946 733 +1.2%
1954 633 −13.6%
1962 659 +4.1%
1968 626 −5.0%
1975 543 −13.3%
1982 528 −2.8%
1990 599 +13.4%
1999 660 +10.2%
2009 748 +13.3%

Inhabitants of Bécherel are called Bécherellais in French.

Town hall

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Louis Dubreuil, « Fêtes révolutionnaires en Ille-et-Vilaine », in Annales de Bretagne, volume 21, tome 4, 1905, p. 398-399
  2. ^ Office de Tourisme de Bécherel: Arts & Culture - Loisirs - Informations touristiques

External links[edit]