Bécherel The City of Books. One of the highlights to a recent trip to Brittany was a visit to Bécherel The City of Books also the Village of Books. Being a collector of first editions, antiquarian and children’s books it was exciting to visit the 15 or so bookshops all within a short walk of each other.
Located northwest of Rennes, Bécherel officially became a Book Town in 1989 when the first Fête du Livre was held; it is now an annual event, which takes place at Easter and is complemented by a series of events throughout the year including a reading festival in October. Sadly my visit did not coincide with an event or the book market that takes place on the first Sunday of every month.
The tourist information office (Maison du livre et du tourisme) has an excellent map of the village detailing the places of interest and most importantly the bookshops and their book subjects and specialities. Each shop has their own appeal and character. Most are in old shops and houses with many rooms and winding corridors.
The village is full of character and every bookshop and related shops are within a couple of minutes walk, with some next door to each other. So what was I looking for as being a French town the majority of books are in French. There were small collections of English books in the shops but I was looking for Asterix, French comics and vintage French Agathie Christie books which have fantastic covers.
The Librarie Abraxas and Pochoteque Abraxas has over 125,000 books including sections on literature, sci fi, manga, thrillers, children’s books, science and humanities. I also found a great selection of Asterix and French comics at Le Donjon, and a great selection of Agathie Christie and The Saint (Le Saint) books at Les Perseides (which also has a small cafe).
The only problem I had was not having enough time to do fully explore every bookshop. You could happily spend a couple of days in Becherel. If you love books and are in the region Becherel The City of Books is a must.