Discover the charming village of Le Bec-Hellouin with its half-timbered houses and its old abbey.
It is one of the most beautiful villages in Normandy and deserves a visit.
Here is our guide to help you plan your stop in this village: map, photos, tips… Best things to do in Bec-Hellouin!
Why visit the village of Le Bec-Hellouin?
Is Bec-Hellouin worth it?
Yes. Le Bec-Hellouin is one of the most charming villages in Normandy:
- it is built around several rows of old half-timbered houses of different colors
- the village is nestled in a valley with green hills on either side
- it houses an old abbey with a fascinating portal and a peaceful environment
It is a typical Norman village that is very well maintained for the pleasure of photographers. Look at this view!
One of the most beautiful villages in France
Le Bec-Hellouin is officially one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has received the label “Les plus beaux villages de France”.
And it was definitely one of my favorites and among the places not to be missed in Normandy.
Best things to do in Bec-Hellouin
Our Top 4
We will detail later our visit of the village and the places to see, with photos, but here are our top 5, to give you an idea already:
- Stroll through the streets of the village to appreciate the half-timbered houses
- Take a seat on the abbey square to admire it from all perspectives, including the very special front door.
- Visit the abbey with its square tower
- Sit down at a café to enjoy the country life
Video – virtual visit
Below is a short video that will give you an idea of what a visit can look like.
First you have the abbey, then the village.
Practical tips and map – Le Bec-Hellouin Normandie
How to get to Le Bec-Hellouin
- Department of Eure
- South of the Seine, in the heart of Normandy
- Rouen to Le Bec-Hellouin = 45min drive
- Evreux to Le Bec-Hellouin = 50min drive
- You need a car to get to the village
- Here is a map to help you find your way:
Need to rent a car in Normandy?
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a compact car (some city streets are narrow).
- Think of thefull insurance (some winding passages in the old villages and tight parking in the big cities).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
Voir nos conseils
Tips for visiting
- The access is easy.
- Parking is limited near the abbey, but there are more spaces near the river.
- Free access to the abbey or guided tours
- The abbey is closed on Tuesdays – more information on the official website
- It is easy to walk around with slight slopes.
- Allow 2 hours to enjoy the village and the abbey
- But you can also enjoy a good lunch in one of the restaurants.
- See the best rated accommodations in the area
Norman half-timbered houses
Many towns and villages in Normandy have a few half-timbered houses.
But at Bec-Hellouin, there are several rows of them.
They are impressive and beautiful. They all have different colors and are well maintained.
They are simply charming, as you can see:
As you can see in the picture above, the village is surrounded by hills covered with trees. It is nestled in the Bec Valley. (The name Bec comes from bekkr of Scandinavian origin, which means stream).
It is therefore very green, which enhances the beautiful houses.
Also, as you can see from all the photos, the city and the homeowners are careful with their gardens and land.
Flowers and beautiful landscaping make the views even more beautiful!
It was so charming that we made an early morning stop at the little café downstairs (blue building on the right). It was really nice.
We wish we had been there for lunch because of the atmosphere…we just wanted to sit back and relax.
Plan your trip to Normandy!
→ Inspiration destinations
Deciding where to go in Normandy – the best destinations
Our weekend ideas: best-of, romantic, unusual, seaside, luxury, family
Best things to do in Normandy
Best cities in Normandy
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Most beautiful villages of Normandy
Best castles of Normandy
Best abbeys of Normandy
Read our complete guide to visit the Mont-Saint-Michel
Discover the D-Day sites
Where to stay in Normandy – best places and hotels
See our tips for renting a car at CDG airport, Orly airport, Beauvais airport, Caen, Rouen, Bayeux…
Abbey gate and history of the village
One of the most striking architectural pieces is the door of the abbey of Notre-Dame-du-Bec.
And they made it even more special with the landscaping of the square.
Below is the view of the gate from the outside.
You can see :
- the 2 towers of different shapes and sizes
- and the rectangular stones in 2 colors
And below, you can see this same door from inside the abbey. You can see more clearly the difference in size of the towers.
History of Le Bec-Hellouin
You have now entered the abbey and this is where the history of the village began.
The abbey was founded in 1034/35 by a man called Hellouin or Herluin. He was first a knight, then converted to the monastic life.
It quickly became a famous spiritual center thanks to two famous Italian religious who brought attention to the abbey:
- Lanfranc de Pavie, who founded a school
- Anselm of Aosta, who developed Christian thought and spread spirituality
They both later became Archbishops of Canterbury.
As is often the case, a village developed around the abbey where the workers who helped maintain the abbey lived.
The abbey was still shining in the 14th century. Unfortunately, in 1417, fearing an attack by English troops, the abbot destroyed the village.
It was reformed and re-established in the 17th century.
During the revolution, the buildings were transformed into barracks.
The monks finally returned in 1948.
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Now that you’ve learned a bit about the history of the abbey, let’s take a look inside.
On a self-guided tour, there is not as much to see as in the other abbeys of Normandy.
However, I really appreciated the peaceful environment of the park that surrounds it. I felt very relaxed after my walk.
You enter through a tunnel under the building.
On the other side, there is still a high tower that was part of the church: The Saint-Nicolas tower. It dates from the 15th century.
The tower is square, 11m on a side. There was a spire at the top, but it was destroyed by fire in 1810.
It was the bell tower with 4 big bells but they were destroyed during the revolution.
It’s quite impressive to see her, so high up, standing alone like that.
Afterwards, you can enjoy the walking path with beautiful trees and views.
On the one hand, the monastic buildings are quite impressive with rows and rows of windows.
They date from the 18th century.
If there is no service, you can enter the actual church which is quite amazing inside the same building.
It was set up in the old refectory.
There is almost no decoration and the long ceiling is quite fascinating in my opinion.
The alley is 75 meters long.
Don’t forget to stop by the store. The abbey is famous for its candles and ceramics.
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Saint Andrew’s Church
In the center of the village, you can also see another religious building. A small church : Saint-André
It is quite austere in appearance. However, it is built on a slope, so it is quite original to look at.
Until the Revolution, the church depended on the abbey.
Note: 2 kilometers from the abbey, there is also a convent, according to the rule of Saint Benedict, in modern buildings.
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