Walk upriver from Dinan for about half an hour and you come to the village of Lehon.
Lehon was a ford over the Rance River from time immemorial. In about the 9th Century a fort was built to protect the ford, or perhaps tax those using it. The English destroyed the fort in the early 1100s and it was completely rebuilt into a
fine medieval castle. Over the years it fell into disuse and slowly dissolved on its hilltop above the town. Today there are walls and the remains of some of the turrets still standing proud against the skyline. It takes a fair degree of imagination to see it as it was, but there’s enough there to make for a good game of hide-and-seek.
Beneath the Castle, the village itself is lovely. The gem at its centre is the ancient Benedictine Priory of Lehon. The priory has been pretty extensively rebuilt after years of neglect but it’s a lovely calm place with a lot of original features. The Priory dates back to the 1200s and contains the remains of several knights of the Beaumanoir family who are closely connected to both the area and Brittany in general.
Jean de Beaumanoir was the epitome of chivalry in his time. In 1351 he challenged the other side in a bitter war of succession to a chivalric combat in which 30 knights from each side fought in any way they could. It was a vicious and ugly fight in which de Beaumanoir was gravely wounded. When he asked one of his fellows for water that worthy responded by saying “Drink your blood, Beaumanoir, your thirst will pass.”
There’s a minor irony in the fact that about 100 years later one of his descendants prospered when given the rights to a tax on strong drink in Brittany.
Anyway, this evening we spent some time throwing a ball around in the park before Callum cooked us dinner. Today Callum chose our menu and was in charge of our meal in its entirety. We had, somewhat predictably, pasta. He did sensibly include vegetables in the sauce without any prompting and I can honestly say the result was extremely tasty.