© Yannick Derennes
Treat yourself to a calligraphy lesson in BécherelPleasure at the stroke of a pen in the Cité du Livre® (“Book Town”)
Brittany Experiences

Treat yourself to a calligraphy lesson in Bécherel

If you love beautiful handwriting and feel nostalgic about the dip-pens of yesteryear, come and immerse yourself in the art of calligraphy. With Richard Lempereur as your calligraphy teacher, come and share a real passion and enjoy a day devoted to learning, relaxation and the re-discovery of peace and serenity.

Rendezvous in the Cité du Livre®

In a beautiful, well-lit room, lulled by soft classical music, I get a warm welcome from Richard, a former pupil of the Strasbourg School of Decorative Arts who’s been an artistic director in advertising for 20 years. In the room there’s an exhibition of his work, which provides some idea of his dedication to an art that’s as humble as it is noble, as ancient as it is demanding and precise. My first lesson in this skill takes place in the “Maison du Livre et du Tourisme”: an establishment dedicated to the history of books, booksellers and the Book Town. A threshold that opens onto a fascinating world…

Pick up your pens!

In a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, some people are resuming work they’ve already begun during an earlier session: Christine’s tackling English capitals. Sylvie is busy working on a citation. But I’m having my first calligraphy lesson. Richard provides the necessary materials. My writing tool isn’t what I expected: it has a flat nib, because pointed nibs are only used for styles of writing that require a certain level of skill. For ink, Richard uses walnut stain, which is “chic and not expensive”. We’re working on large sheets of white paper, and through them we can see a “stave” showing the lines we are to follow. Displaying an abundance of both teaching skill and humour, Richard suggests that I “draw some scales”. The exercise consists of a succession of strokes to be copied, to become familiar with the basic movements. Feeling a little apprehensive, I have a go!

Memories of schooldays

My first attempts at strokes are initially rather hesitant, but I persist and follow the lines. I feel as though I am rediscovering the sensations I had as a child doing my first writing exercises. Practising like this, far from being annoying, allows me to refine my style and I’m surprised at how hard I concentrate. After the basic exercises, I go on to produce an alphabet. Despite the flaws, it’s a real pleasure to watch the blank page filling up. Gradually I start feeling delightfully relaxed. “It’s as good as a yoga session,” says Richard with a smile, seeing how absorbed and serene I am.

We are paper dancers

Just like a choreographer, for each student Richard corrects a movement or the position of the body in relation to the sheet. The angle of the stroke, its thickness, its colour and its density are all signs that enable the calligrapher to assess and amend the work carried out. Here, though, it’s not a question of being judged. Sophie, who is sitting next to me, likes the sensation of “release” that she experiences when she comes to these classes. I spend a few moments going round having a look at the work of the other participants to see what they have achieved in terms of different approaches and techniques. Later, when we go our separate ways, we all feel satisfied that it’s been a day of achievement, and we are quite overwhelmed by the emotions that have been stirred up in us by practising a skill under the guidance of a true master.


Je me sens peu à peu délicieusement détendue.

Price from


per person

This Experience includes

  • A one-day calligraphy class with the calligrapher Richard Lempereur, in the heart of the famous book town of Bécherel

Languages spoken : English

Further details

In Bécherel, calligraphy courses with Richard Lempereur take place over one day

  • From 10:30 to 17:30, at the “Maison du Livre et du Tourisme”
  • The third Sunday of each month, from October to June
  • Tailored courses depending on your level of experience

Other classes and courses are also available in Rennes, Dinan and Fougères.

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