Bécherel

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Bécherel

Begerel
A general view of Bécherel
A general view of Bécherel
Coat of arms of Bécherel
Coat of arms
Location of Bécherel
Bécherel is located in France
Bécherel
Bécherel
Bécherel is located in Brittany
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
CountryFrance
RegionBrittany
DepartmentIlle-et-Vilaine
ArrondissementRennes
CantonMontauban-de-Bretagne
IntercommunalityRennes Métropole
Government
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Mélina Parmentier
Area
1
0.5 km2 (0.2 sq mi)
Population
 (2016-01-01)[1]
688
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
35022 /35190
Elevation113–177 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.

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.

Though Bécherel was in the heart of the territory claimed by the Chouan royalists in the 1789 French Revolution, others would support the Republic especially after 1794 when the worst of the blood letting came to an end with the execution of Robespierre; the anniversary of the king's execution was still being widely celebrated each January 21 at the start of the twentieth century.[2]. Sadly the Chouan freedom fighters may not be so well remembered.

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"[3] 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
YearPop.±%
1793882—    
1800493−44.1%
1806655+32.9%
1821690+5.3%
1831802+16.2%
1836817+1.9%
1841844+3.3%
1846836−0.9%
1851895+7.1%
1856820−8.4%
1861818−0.2%
1866780−4.6%
1872816+4.6%
1876740−9.3%
1881760+2.7%
1886798+5.0%
1891846+6.0%
1896852+0.7%
1901855+0.4%
1906890+4.1%
1911793−10.9%
1921788−0.6%
1926709−10.0%
1931723+2.0%
1936724+0.1%
1946733+1.2%
1954633−13.6%
1962659+4.1%
1968626−5.0%
1975543−13.3%
1982528−2.8%
1990599+13.4%
1999660+10.2%
2009748+13.3%

Inhabitants of Bécherel are called Bécherellais in French.

Town hall

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. ^ Louis Dubreuil, « Fêtes révolutionnaires en Ille-et-Vilaine », in Annales de Bretagne, volume 21, tome 4, 1905, p. 398-399
  3. ^ Office de Tourisme de Bécherel: Arts & Culture - Loisirs - Informations touristiques Archived 2007-08-19 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]