My blog is called “Small Towns of Dee” for a reason. I love discovering those charming, unknown to the rest of the world places, towns and Villages, and almost everywhere I find something that fascinates me. My beloved country is France, which abounds in such pearls. There is even a list of the most beautiful French villages. I have already written about it several times : The most beautiful French villages.
But I do not know if I wrote that I had braved myself and decided to visit them all sooner or later. My husband does not know about it yet, although he probably guesses. Consciously or less consciously he took me last Easter to the town from the list: Le Bec-Hellouin and of course I fell in love with the cobbled streets, in the medieval church tower, in colorfully painted houses and in the medieval abbey.
The village is located in Normandy, in the Eure department, and the nearest major city is Rouen, which I will write about soon. It is not a big village, but it grew around the old medieval Benedictine abbey, which in times of the Anglo-Norman kingdom enjoyed so much esteem that they sent abbots to Canterbury.
The monastery was founded around 1034 by the knight Hellouin or Herluin, a warrior, who after years of fighting around the world devoted himself to spiritual duties. And the name of the village comes from him. The second part of village’s name, Bec is a spring, which flow happily around the valley, where the village is located.
The abbey has suffered badly twice in its history, first destroyed by the English during the Hundred Years War, but the greatest damage was of course the revolution when all monastery orders were liquidated and their buildings were effectively plundered. Le Bec Hellouin was then turned into cavalry barracks. The monks returned here only after the war, and after them in 1950 nuns came here and built their own monastery (on the photo)
The town of Bec-Hellouin is distinguished not only by its religious heritage, but also by the captivating, picturesque scenery, peaceful, colorfully flowered streets and beautifully renovated half-timbered houses. An imposing St Nicholas’ tower is visible from afar, and in the heart of the village there is another old church dedicated to Saint Andrew.
We went for delightful walk and after we as very hungry people do, we went for a dinner at the local Auberge De L’Abbaye. The interiors is typical for this region of Normandy. The owners have renewed the place, adding beautiful fabrics and decorations. They served food based on local, seasonal products, and the restaurant is primarily known for its home-made goose pate (foie gras). But I was delighted with the appetizer made of fish and seafood: