Have you ever been to a place so beautiful, so peaceful and relaxed that you felt like never leaving it?
I have, and that place for me was Léhon, a small French medieval village near Dinan, in Bretagne (Brittany), France.
I arrived there after a 30-minute walk, following a trail from Dinan. It was a beautiful day, and when I entered Léhon I thought I was in a movie setting. In front of me was a 13th-century castle on top of a hill, centuries-old houses facing a river crossed by a stone bridge, narrow cobbled alleys and a 19th-century monastery. To complete the pristine look, there were flowers everywhere. Only three thousand people live in town, and for all its charms Léhon is listed as a ‘cité de charactère (town of character), a group of French destinations that have kept their authentic looks and ways.
Like its neighbor Dinan, Léhon was spared the bombings that destroyed many other Breton communities during World War II. The village was actually liberated by American soldiers, in the first days of August, 1944, an event that ended the Nazi occupation of Bretagne. Museum 39-45 tells that story in amazing detail; it’s dedicated to memories of the war, ‘so we never forget,’ according to the sign outside. All objects on display in the museum were donated by private citizens, mostly descendents of people who lived in town during WW2.
Today peaceful Léhon attracts tourists and artists, and it’s often a movie setting. Its restaurants are renowned; La Marmite de l’Abbaye, where I had lunch, was a true immersion in the wonders of the Breton cuisine.
I heard that Léhon was recently added to the municipality of Dinan, but I’m sure nothing has changed since then. The pretty ‘village of character’ is one of those places that need no change, it’s perfect as it is.