Welcome to the department of Orne
The Orne region constitutes the southern part of Normandy, the only one of the 5 Norman departments that does not have access to the sea. This is a part of the Normandy region where the nature is supreme, a perfect destination to plan a weekend or a relaxing stay and completely disconnect from daily life and other hassles in our modern society. Here you can take a breath of fresh air, in touch with a grandiose nature, free from all the hustle and bustle and just have fun, as you are in the department of Orne.
What accommodation will you choose in the Orne ?
Which are the main regions of the Orne department ?
The Orne is located in the former region of Basse-Normandie and houses various treasures such as its many chapels, churches and even its manor houses. The department ensures the preservation of its heritage. This is a very romantic place with green landscapes and bucolic charm that is ideal for the practice of open-air activities. Cultural heritage, alternative green tourism, thermalism and local gastronomy are the major points of the tourism potential in the Orne, which are spread over 4 historic geographic sectors, the Ouche country, the Houlme country, the Perche region and the Alençon country.
The country of Ouche
This natural region, located in the administrative zone of Normandy, includes the northeast of the Orne department, which extends over a part of the nearby Eure region. The Ouche country is mostly centred on the valley of the Risle upstream from Beaumont-le-Roger. The area has been inhabited since Neolithic time, as evidenced by menhirs and dolmens found in the region. The country of Ouche is composed of a vast plateau with an average altitude of 200 to 300 m, crossed by the Risle, the Iton, the Charentonne and the Avre. It is traditionally a farming region with a landscape of fields and bocage, interspersed with forest massifs, creating a paradise for hikers and fishers. Ouche country still preserves the vestiges of the past, so many medieval castles are scattered in the countryside, and the traditional housing is half-timbered, as in the rest of Normandy, but the most ancient dwellings used wood panelling mixed with silex or with bricks.
The country of Houlme
Situated in the heart of Normandy, this region is little known, a preserved land where granite dolmens and megalithic sites reign supreme. The limits of the territory have always been rather vague, but it is now defined as part of the Bocage Ornais, from La Ferrière-aux-Étangs to the north of Putanges-Pont-Écrepin. Protected by the Normandie-Maine Regional Natural Park, the region is partly covered by the Andaines forest and green bocages. The region is criss-crossed by sunken roads, and by apple and pear trees, especially in the Donfrontais region, which is known for being the land of pear cider. The bucolic scenery in this part of the Norman bocage is embellished with large manor houses and half-timbered houses, set here and there in the landscape, on the banks of ponds and fish-filled rivers. It's also a land of legends, in the area of La Fosse-Arthour, you will discover twin caves facing each other, the place where King Arthur, his wife Guinevere and the knight Lancelot are said to have been born.
The Perche region
The region of the Perche natural park is an ancient entity born in the 10th century from wooded lands that had not been included in the duchy of Normandy at the time it was formed. During the revolution, the province of Perche was split between the departments of Eure-et-Loir, Orne and a small part of Eure. With the creation of the Perche regional natural park in 1998, the area could reaffirm its identity, which has remained very much alive over the centuries, and even if this park only represents a small part of the Perche region. The growth of green tourism has allowed it to increase its visibility and notoriety in this field and to promote the origin of the Percheron horse which is, undoubtedly, the strongest and best known emblem of the region. Among fields, green hills and humid bocages, the Perche is forging an undeniable image of rural and bucolic landscapes, with green valleys irrigated by fish-filled rivers, with large forests full of mushrooms.
The countryside of Alençon
It is from the highest point of the western region of France, from the top of the 417 m of the signal of Écouves, that the countryside of Alençon is revealed. A large and wide plain that spreads out to the north of the regional capital of Orne, where horses and cattle graze in green bocages. The Écouves forest, populated with oaks, beeches and Scotch pines, is full of mushrooms and serves as a refuge for an abundant fauna of stags, hinds, wild boars, hares and foxes. Alençon, the capital of lace, has a remarkable heritage of noble residences, beautiful churches and museums that are a must see. The bocage frame, still relatively dense, tends to gradually open up to large-scale cultivation as it approaches the Sarthe River in the north, while the wooded areas contribute to the recognition and enhancement of the rich built heritage and the towns. The regular management of the forest for the production of timber and its development for leisure activities make it a living and dynamic environment for nature lovers.
What to visit during your stay in the Orne department ?
Although there are no beaches, the Orne region offers you a multitude of interesting sights, which not only make up the richness of Normandy's heritage, but also ensure that you have a successful vacation in the region. A land of history, since the Roman era, the Orne is like an open book of history. It is also rich and plentiful in natural beauty, with many parks and gardens contributing to color the region's landscape.
The castles and stud farms of the Orne
The castles, manor houses and stud farms of the Orne are all different, with their medieval or classical appearance, in brick and stone or half-tihalf-timbered. You are welcome to discover over thirty of these castles and mansions, all located in various and pleasant environmets.
Museums and themed houses in Orne
Whether it is the Fine Arts and Lace Museum, the Camembert Museum or the Lady of the Camellias Museum, there are a multitude of historical, intimate or unusual treasures to discover in the department. Over thirty destinations are offered to you and will be the wealth of discovering the region.
Parks and gardens in the Orne
More than thirty gardens and parks, both public and private, are waiting for you to explore in the area. They will amaze you with their abundance of colors and aromas. During your visit to the parks and gardens of the Orne, you will have the opportunity to discover a particular and well-ordered vegetal world in each of them.
The religious heritage of Orne
If you are a fan of gothic and romanesque architecture, you will appreciate the Orne's rich religious patrimony. From the high spires of the Cathedral of Sées to the paintings in the church of Ménil-Gondouin, passing by the Chapel of Montligeon or the Trappist abbey of Soligny la Trappe, there will be many discoveries for your greatest pleasure.
The battle of Normandy in the Orne region
Although the area is not famous for the D-Day landing beaches, there are many traces of this sadly famous part of history. Use your time in the region to visit the most emblematic places, the historical retrospectives of the museums and the exhibitions which bring to mind the people who have given their lives for our freedom.
The sites and vestiges in Orne
Enjoy the discovery of some historical treasures scattered throughout the region and appreciate the beauty of the view points offered to you. From the natural places, passing by necropolis of remembrance, along your way, you will move from one discovery to another, from old mills, castles vestiges, megalithic sites, all of them will be part of the richness of your memories.
Factories and know-how in the Orne
Savor unique tastes and find out about what the local know-how is like, through technical visits to manufacturing or breeding sites. The producers of the Orne have plenty of talent to spare, land of many AOC, why not meet these passionate people, they will share with you their love for work well done and you'll learn the secrets of Camembert, cider products, cookies, etc.
The towns and villages in the Orne
It's good to stroll through the old towns and villages of the region, where time seems to have stood still. Visit all these places and immerse yourself in their history. Discover the Norman architecture in detail, wander in the narrow medieval streets and find out all about these places full of history so that you can go back home with the feeling of knowing even more.
16 towns and villages worth visiting in Orne
Due to its medieval heritage, the Orne department in Normandy has preserved many half-timbered houses, castles and other monuments. Explore the history of the region's communes and capture those exceptional sites that you will surely be able to share with all your family and friends.
Alençon, regional capital of Orne
Located in the heart of the Normandy-Maine natural park, the city of Alençon has a particular elegance and a discrete charm, and with its picturesque quarters, it has a gentle way of life, within an exceptional setting. The lace queen became famous due to her needlework technique of "Point d'Alençon" to which her museum pays tribute with brio. In the birthplace of Saint Therese of Lisieux, the unconditional amateurs of spiritual tourism will be able to discover the family house and the other places where she lived. In the medieval district of St. Leonard, through its alleys, half-timbered houses, mansions with wrought iron balconies will delight the passing tourists. While visiting the town, you must visit the museum of Alençon Lace and the Basilica of Notre Dame d'Alençon, one of thirty classified sites. You should also pass by the Jesuit church founded in 1620, the fabulous decorations of the renaissance café, the circular building with its dome of the wheat market, the castle of the Dukes of Alençon and the medieval house of Ozé dating from 1450. The city also has an animal center, a leisure base and a karting circuit, enough for kids to have fun.
Domfront, the city of kings
This Norman village is located on the borders of Normandy, the Bocage and the Passais region, an obligatory passageway to neighboring Brittany, since its conquest in 1049 by William the Conqueror. It is a small town at the heart of the Anglo-Norman history and the great names such as Richard the Lionhearted or John Lackland. They all stayed in this stronghold which also marked the border of the duchy of Normandy. The first castle of Domfront was made out of wood and built around 1010/1020 by William I, Lord of Bellême, who also built the abbey of Lonlay, in the nearby village. The defense tower of Domfront, currently residential areas, and charming half-timbered houses with watchtowers in the heart of courtyards and squares, contributed to the medieval city's coveted classification as a "Petite Cité de Caractère". Notre Dame sur l'Eau church is also a major witness of the Middle Ages. Built in the 11th and 12th centuries, it represents a true jewel of Norman Romanesque art. In the same way, the region of Domfront is rich in manors with a sober granite architecture. Every two years, the Medieval Festival of Domfront is a great meeting place for lovers of historical epics. The town brings back to life the most important moments in its history and immerses visitors in the medieval ambiance.
Argentan, the town with multiple faces
Despite its small size, Argentan has the particularity of having a rich historical and cultural patrimony, making it a city well worth a visit to discover. Located in the heart of the horse breeding country, it is the ideal starting point for meeting the horse world in the various stud farms in the area and particularly at the Haras National du Pin. Another pride of the city is the Argentan lace stitch, which is less famous than the one in Alençon, but equally as technical. The secrets of lacemaking are revealed either at the Maison des dentelles or at the Benedictine abbey where the lacemaking technique is still used. Throughout the ages, history and culture in Argentan have left an indelible mark on the passing of time, starting with the Gallo-Roman period, passing through the Middle Ages, to the modern era. Some splendid historical monuments have come down to us, like the Dukes' castle in its present form from the 14th century, the Marguerite tower which offers a 360° view and the keep, from the 12th century, the last vestiges of the city's fortifications, the Saint-Germain d'Argentan church, Gothic style built from the 15th to the 18th century, all of these places of interest are a proud testimony to the city's history.
Écouché, the road of the pilgrimage
Located near Argentan, just at the entrance to the Suisse Normande, Écouché is an ancient fortified town. In the Middle Ages, it was home to pilgrims on their way to Mont-Saint-Michel. Even if the city suffered a lot from the liberation battles in August 44, the town center, surrounding its remarkable gothic church, has been miraculously saved. Thanks to a good signposting, by walking through the labyrinth of alleys which allows to stroll in the old part of the city, by raising the eyes, the visitor will be able to discover the numerous towers which decorate its little private mansions. It is also worthwhile, during the visit, to stop at the old covered market, located in the General Warabiot square, which has been reduced by half compared to its real dimensions, it used to house, on the first floor, the auditorium from where the lower and upper courts of justice were delivered. Besides, among the other patrimonial curiosities, it is worth noting the presence of a revolutionary altar, which was a place of celebration, ceremony and worship during the period of the French Revolution. A Sherman tank, of the 2nd DB, reminds visitors that the commune was in the middle of the fighting for liberation.
Bagnole-de-l'Orne, the wellness resort
Nestled in the middle of a 7,000 ha wooded area, in the Forest of Andaine, is the only thermal resort in western France that was already known in ancient times for the virtues of the waters. They were revived in the 19th century, when the Parisian bourgeoisie started to enjoy spa treatments. Even today, the quality of its care is lavished for the improvement of venous circulation and the treatment of rheumatism, the center also proposes cures of well-being and fitness within its space Cerny. This modern spa has kept intact its "belle époque" district and provides its visitors with a wide range of activities related to the environment. In addition, Bagnoles-de-l'Orne has the charm of a village with a Belle Époque and Art Deco style building where architectural details bring an undeniable charm. Various events and festivals are often organized in summer, such as "les Vendredis de l'Été", a street art festival, "les Clés de Bagnoles", a musical festival, the fireworks and melodic show of August 15, "le festival Automne Gourmand" which highlights regional culinary specialties. Also discover the arboretum of the City Hall park in the Goupil castle.
Flers, a reborn city
More than ever, Flers is a city that affirms its position as a second pole of attraction in the region. It is a city whose historical heritage has suffered greatly during the Second World War. Nevertheless, it was able to preserve traces of its rich industrial past, which benefits from a rather interesting architectural style. Historical monument, bordered by 2 ponds, the castle of Flers, dates from the 16th and 18th century, it is located in the heart of a park of 7 ha, surrounded by deep moats. It shelters the museum's collection, with a large Fine Arts section, and a Decorative Arts section plus other collections about local history which evoke the textile activity (weaving looms) in the 19th century and the Norman life in the 18th century. The town combines cultural and economic dynamism. This is undoubtedly the main asset of this martyred town that suffered a lot from the bombing raids in 1944 and that has been able to reconstruct and modernise while keeping its rich heritage. The interesting buildings are undoubtedly the church of Saint-Germain, a neo-Gothic style inspired by Notre-Dame de Paris, the church of Saint-Jean, built from 1858 to 1865, the covered market, inaugurated in 1883, and a cardiotaph, with a lead urn containing a heart found in 2014.
Bellême, in the heart of Perche
The former capital of the Perche County, until the 16th century, was once crossed by the Royal Road that led from Paris to Brittany. The city was built on a rocky spur, near a beautiful forest, in the Parc Naturel Régional du Perche, a town full of charm that has kept many vestiges from the past, including the porch of its 15th century fortress. Even if some historians attribute a Gallic origin to it, the history of this town starts really in the middle of the 10th century. What makes Bellême interesting is its typical geographical location, nestled on an artificial hill and overlooking the Perche, then its rich past making it a place of fascination. On the other hand, the forest is a very popular place for hikers and mushroom pickers. Mostly planted with oaks and beeches, its humid climate is ideal for the mushrooms to grow in the fall. In this peaceful area, full of legends and accounts, you can pass by the healing fountain of Herse, on the stone, engraved in Latin, you will read "Dedicated to the infernal gods, to Venus, Mars and Mercury". Although the French sign "eau non potable" (non-drinking water), strongly advises you not to try this divine beverage.
L'Aigle, in the Pays d'Ouche
A commune located in the heart of a rich nature, in the natural region of the Pays d'Ouche, which follows the valley of the Risle and presents a landscape of hedged farmland, fields, with ponds and forests, which give it a somewhat mystical side. The setting of the Pays d'Ouche, so dear to the Comtesse de Ségur, has been a great source of inspiration for many of the novels she has written, at the Château des Nouettes. Historically, the city has developed from the Middle Ages, within the duchy of Normandy, one of the nerve centers of the border between the kingdoms of France and England. In this region, the Bohin factory, more than 100 years old, is the last factory in Europe to manufacture pins and sewing needles. Despite its turbulent history, the city has preserved much of its heritage. Among the most important buildings are the 17th century castle which houses the town hall, the old post office and the Colombel mansion, as well as the church of Saint-Martin, with the clock tower and the 11th century apse and the 15th century Rosary chapel, 16th century extensions and an added 19th century vault. Other noteworthy heritage is the former funeral chapel of the 15th century, the 12th century church of Saint-Barthélémy as well as the outdoor abbey ruins of Saint Evroult Notre Dame du Bois.
La Ferté-Macé, a green bower
The origin of the town goes back to the feudal era. Its location makes it an unavoidable stopover for relaxing, strolling or as a base for hiking. Looking for a natural setting? Enjoy a day out in the Andaine Forest, or in the city's parks and flower gardens. In search of some cultural visits? Even though the city has a rich history of medieval times, its only witness to that era is the bell tower of its 12th century Romanesque church, adjacent to Notre Dame church dating from 19th century, whose bell towers rise to 60 meters. The town hall of 1900 is also noteworthy, just like the manor house of La Pigeonnière. Regarding tourism, La Ferté-Macé seems to have focused on the potential of the surrounding nature. A must for a relaxing break with your family, with your partner or with some friends, the city promises delightful time around the leisure base, water sports, the beach, the banks maintained on the outskirts of its pretty lake, to benefit from an healthy and exceptional natural environment. Because often, the vacations are also the perfect opportunity to learn how to do some water activities before trying them out on the water.
Mortagne-au-Perche, the favorite
On the hillside, painted with ochre, yellow or pink sands, limestone and lights, this is the favorite holiday destination for the Counts of Perche and their brides. The village of Mortagne-au-Perche is located in the heart of the Orne, surrounded by the hills and plains of the Perche, where you will appreciate the peaceful harmony and the authenticity that reigns there. This pretty small town has a rather remarkable historical, cultural and natural heritage, as you walk along the ramparts of this ancient walled city, you will discover, in the bend of its alleys (small paved streets), beautiful residences, private mansions, enclosed gardens. Some beautiful vestiges are also hidden, such as the Saint-Denis gate and the Saint-André crypt. Another interesting point is the cloister and the chapel of Saint-François, built in the 15th century by Marguerite de Lorraine, the wife of René de Valois, Duke of Alençon and Count of Perche. Outside the city walls, the wash houses, the artisans', tanners' and weavers' houses tell the story of the daily life of the inhabitants. As the capital of black pudding, it awaits you for 3 days of gastronomic festivities, a major event that welcomes about 18,000 visitors every year. On the program, the international competition of the best black pudding, culinary demonstration and degustation of grilled black pudding.
La Perrière, the thousand-year-old village
Built on a rocky horn, classified as a natural site, the village dominates the Percheron countryside, thanks to its natural strategic position on this spur, reinforced by the presence of a pond on one side and a ditch on the other, it provided favourable conditions for an early settlement. The excavations that were carried out at the end of the 19th century, brought to light the remains of a Gallic city of the Aulerques Cénomans tribe, one of the Celtic Gaul populations. The name of La Perrière comes from the Latin word for "stone quarry", where roussard stone, ferruginous sandstone, commonly called grison, was exploited. The blocks were used for the construction of most buildings, either as a base, for its great mechanical resistance, or as a fitting, alternated with limestone. Thereafter, with the proximity of Bellême forest, for many years, the village's activity was turned to the various trades related to the wood exploitation. In the 19th century, it was an important embroidery center, using the beaded net technique, which employed up to 2,000 people. The must-see sights of the village are the 16th century Monthimer castle, the bishop's residence, the sundials and the beaded lace curtains on the windows of old houses with colorful facades.
Saint Fraimbault, the disputed
The particularity of the village is that it is part of both the historical provinces of Maine and Normandy, a mixed commune located half in the Orne and half in Mayenne after the revolution, eventually being fully attached to the Orne in 1831. What makes it interesting today is its dedication to maintaining the highest distinction of flowered villages. Regularly awarded since 1965, the beginning of its flowering, Saint-Fraimbault is a model of its kind, with national and international fame. To further enhance this reputation, it organizes an original event, the "Drôles de Jardins" (from May to October), 12 plots of land are made available to the candidates who have to compete with each other in terms of imagination on an imposed topic. In summer, on August 15, the village goes back in time with another successful event, "Les Flories d'Antan" which celebrates the old traditions with demonstration of the old trades, a parade of vintage cars, a music festival and period costumes. A presentation of abandoned know-how, a folk ball, various games and animations. On that day, in the land of perry, local products are obviously put in honor for thousands of visitors and the whole village is a pedestrian area.
The Sap, the architecture of the Auge region
Since 1000 AD, its history is linked to the nearby forest and the presence of coniferous trees (Sappus, Sappum, le Sap), certainly also to feed the furnaces of an iron and steel industry. At the end of the 11th century, the village was developed around the imposing Fort Montpellier, of which important remains have survived. Moreover, the village was not hit during the bombing of the liberation and has therefore preserved all of its houses, ranging from those of the Middle Ages to those of the 19th century. During your visit, you will find, in the village, the whole architecture of an area in only one place, quite rare thing. Furthermore, the village perpetuates the living tradition of cider, which is highlighted through the "ecomuseum of the apple in calvados". The city center is a must-see place to visit with its brick grain market hall of the 19th century, which used to be called "la halle de grande coutume" (the market of great custom). It blends in well with the streets and alleys lined with houses, whether half-timbered, timber-framed, stone or brick. The "Grand Jardin" site, a former farm typical of the Pays d'Ouche, converted into a cultural center, houses a museum based on apples and cider, a media library, a restaurant, a gîte and a garden with a conservatory orchard.
Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, an artist's refuge
Perched on a rock, the commune of Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei is located on the borders of the Orne, Sarthe and Mayenne departments. It has 2 suburbs on the banks of the Sarthe, one to the east overhung by the rocky outcrop, and the other one to the west stretching out in a terrace towards the Sarthon river. In the 19th century, Auguste Poulet-Malassis, Baudelaire's publisher, has the idea to create an artists' residence, it has seduced many of them, like, Gustave Courbet, Mary Renard, Paul Saïn, later "the school of St Céneri" will see passing other artists such as Bernard Buffet. This infatuation, for the site, always continues today and attracts a great number of contemporary painters. It's true that this village, in the heart of the Alpes Mancelles, is very picturesque, with a bridge spanning the river, some pretty houses, a Romanesque church with splendid frescoes, the gothic chapel of Petit Saint-Céneri, all in a green setting. It is like a village of legends where reigns an aesthetic harmony inspiring the artists of the past and present, borrowed of romantic softness. In the center of the village, the Auberge des Peintres and the Auberge des Soeurs Moisy bear witness to the artistic heritage of this place.
Longny-au-Perche, a barony of Perche
This ancient barony, located in the heart of the Perche region, near the Réno-Valdieu forest, was established in the 11th century and prospered thanks to the iron industry and the commercial exchanges due to this activity. The city keeps the memory of it, it presents a homogeneous building, of great quality and typically percheron. The village is crossed by "La Jambée" and its tributaries which run through the commune, including a beautiful waterfall of great height, rue du château. Further on, they feed the wheel of an ancient and beautiful mill and the old wash houses are scattered along its course with small bridges connected to the houses spanning the river. The small town is dominated by the spires of its churches, that of Saint Martin, built in the 15th century, with its 16th century bell tower and beautiful renaissance chapel as well as Notre Dame de Pitié, of the 16th century, patron saint of the Percherons. The twin castle is a lovely 19th century mansion with a park converted to a pleasant public garden, housing a cool box used to store ice from the region's ponds and snow. You can also observe wild orchids or praying mantises at the sensitive natural area of the Coteau de la Bandonnière, following the trail that stretches for 1.5 km. High place of gastronomy, the village organizes competitions of tripe and terrines.
Sées, the episcopal city
The town owes its name to the Gallic people of the Sagii, who established their town at the gates of the Ecouves forest, near the wheat plains and the sources of the Orne. It was a Roman stronghold, then an episcopal city from the 4th century when it was badly hit by the Viking invasions. It had to be rebuilt in the 10th century. Crossed by the Orne river which takes its source in the neighboring village of Aunou-sur-Orne, it was built around 3 towns, the town of Bourg l'Évêque, its cathedral and the Palace of Argentré, the episcopal seat, the town of Bourg Le Comte and the feudal motte castle of the Count of Alençon and the Abbey of Saint Martin de Bourg l'Abbé, which were reunited only in the 18th century Episcopal city of first importance, Sées keeps a rather exceptional religious heritage, its cathedral of the 13th, restored in the 19th, the basilica of the immaculate conception of the 19th, the vestiges of the church Saint Pierre of the 11th, the remains of the Notre-Dame du Vivier church, a Romanesque church from the 11th century, the Palais d'Argentré from the 19th century, the former Saint-Martin Abbey from the 12th century, the Canonical Chapel, the Saint-Joseph des Champs church and also the feudal mound and the market hall from the 18th century. Several major films have been shot in the city, such as "Joan of Arc" by Luc Besson, "Madame de Bovary" by Sophie Barthes, "Sade" by Benoit Jacquot, "Saint Cyr" by Patricia Mazuy.
18 tourist self-guided tours in the Orne
Discovery the charms of rural Orne following the small regional roads that invite you to wander around and enjoy the experience at your own rhythm. This is a personal adventure in the heart of a department that has preserved its landscape and architectural patrimony. Whether it is the gentle hills of the Perche, the Pays d'Auge or the Pays d'Ouche, or the Suisse Normande, all of these places inspire tranquility. We are presenting 18 itineraries on various themes, ranging in distance from 25 to 120 km, with a link and the details of the circuit. Proposed by the tourist office of the Orne, all routes are well marked out for each circuit.
01 - The Martin family (97 km)
A route to approach as closely as possible the major steps in the life of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and her parents, a family with an exceptional destiny. A circuit from Alençon to Lisieux passing through the city of Sées, 3 major stages, in places, that are the most important in the life of Therese Martin. Her fame and devotion spread rapidly all over the world, especially after the publication of her autobiography, entitled "Histoire d'une âme".
02 - The meanders of the Orne (25 km)
A real gateway to Suisse-Normande, the circuit of the Orne meanders will help you find the sensitive natural area of the Orne which offers a spectacular scenery with a remarkable historical and natural heritage. On the way, you will discover the castle of Mesnil-Glaise, perched on the edge of a precipice and at the foot of the Orne, the upper camp of the castle, the quarry of La Courbe, the menhir of La Pierre Tournoire, the motte castrale, Saint Martin's church and Notre Dame de la Pitié, on the banks of the river Orne.
03 - The Swiss Normandy (120 km)
Picturesque sites, rugged and green landscapes, sinuous gorges carved out by the Orne river and its small but mysterious affluents, make this section of the region look a little like Switzerland. Even the name alone is an invitation to travel through its steep valleys, through the rocky escarpments or through the open moors. The trail will take you to a dozen places or viewpoints that will fill you with wonder, like the wooded gorges of the Rouvre or the Roche d'Oëtre.
04 - The road of perry (83 km)
This itinerary will take you through the hedged farmlands and the orchards of high pear trees. It is the kingdom of Poiré, a strong drink that recalls, a little, some white wines of Anjou. This visit should take place in the spring, especially in April when the pear tree is in bloom. The moment will be the most memorable. On the way, you will discover the medieval city of Domfront, then, the villages of Torchamps and Saint Fraimbault, famous for its 100.000 flowers.
05 - Apple tree route (44 km)
A bit like the route du poiré, you will pass from one producer to another, to learn their know-how and discover the diversity of their products and the subtlety of each drink. Along the way, you'll find orchards in the Pays d'Auge, the 12th and 13th century Saint-Michel priory with its gardens, the Cauvigny manor house and even the Camembert museum if you so desire. The tour passes through Vimoutiers, Crouttes, Le Renouard and Les Champeaux.
06 - Route des Forges (34 km)
A circuit that passes through the Normandy bocage, bordered by hedges, meadows and orchards, in search of another characteristic Normandy heritage. The ironworks and mines route will make you discover an activity which has given life to a whole region and to typical villages, marked by this flourishing past. On the way, you'll discover the furnaces of Butte Rouge in Dompierre, the forges of Varenne, the mine of La Ferrière, the furnaces and the mine of Saint Clair de Halouze, etc.
07 - Valleys from the Risle to the Iton (110 km)
Take a deep breath in a territory shaped by rivers, discover a remarkable industrial heritage, in the footsteps of famous people. Starting from L'Aigle, you will see the last needle factory in Europe, admire Chandai and the castle of Saint-Michel Thubeuf. There is also the original town of Saint Ouen sur Iton, the Jean Gabin racetrack in Moulin la Marche, the Countess of Segur Museum and the Grosse Forge in Aube and the ruins of the Notre Dame du Bois Abbey in Saint Évroult.
08 - The Lady of the Camellias (47 km)
On the steps of Alphonsine Plessis, a famous courtesan, known as the Lady of Camellias, born in Nonant-le-Pin in 1824, at the age of 14, uneducated, orphaned and miserable, she decides to move from her native Normandy. Barely 4 years later, she became the most elegant woman in Paris. A young girl with a dazzling destiny and famous loves, who received, in her living room, the most influent men of her era. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, she died while still in her youth, at the age of 23.
09 - The castles of the Orne (53 km)
From the prestigious "Versaille du Pin", the National Stud of Le Pin, known worldwide for its quality breeding of race horses, go to discover some of the most beautiful castles of the Orne. From the magnificent castle of Bourg St Léonard in the commune of Gouffern en Auge, the one of Mortrée, passing by Médavy and Saint-Christophe-le-Jajolet in the commune of Boischampré, you'll find, on the way, the rich historic past that the Orne department preserves.
10 - The manors of the Perche (87 km)
The pride of the region, the manors are among the finest gems of the region. These seigneurial residences stand alongside high-quality rural housing. All these buildings, with their white and brown stones or coated in warm colors, and their red tiles, add a lot of charm to the Perche countryside. After the 100 Years War, the renaissance developed the farming wealth of Perche and the construction of manors. Numerous tours offer you the opportunity to visit around twenty of them.
11 - Abbeys of the Perche (82 km)
A circuit that links the immense wooded expanses of the Perche and the activity of monks who have built up their monasteries in a place conducive to solitude and prayer. Today, the reasoned forestry of Perche is the result of its long-term forestry tradition, which provides an exceptional leisure environment. On your way, you will find some beautiful elements like in Mortagne au Perche, in Notre Dame de la Trappe, with the abbey of the Grande-Trappe or Notre Dame de Montligeon in Soligny la Trappe.
12 - Ponds of the Perche (82 km)
This circuit is marked out by ponds, privileged sites for the observation of water birds, the High Perche forest also provides a lot of castles of diverse epochs to discover, in addition to the mysterious charm which emerges from these natural spaces. Go through Longy-les-Villages to see its Town Hall or the church of Saint-Martin and the chapel of Notre Dame de Pitié. Visit Malétable, and admire the church of Notre-Dame de la Salette and its bell tower crowned by a lantern tower with a sculpted fresco of the Virgin Mary's apparition.
13 - The panoramas of the Perche (106 km)
Around a famous forest massif, through a landscape of tormented relief, on the southern borders of Perche, including hills crowned by small Percheron villages, very nice views on sites and almost always, imprinted with history or legends. A beautiful and moving scenery that reveals all the originality of an endearing province. In October, visiting Bellême, there are the Mycologiades, Saint Martin du vieux Bellême, Eperrais with the pond of Herse and its fountain, Pervenchères, La Perrière and the manor of Soisay.
14 - Moulins du Perche (62 km)
This circuit follows the route of 3 picturesque valleys in Perche, along the Huisne, the Commeauche and the Corbionne, two of its affluents. The itinerary will guide you to ancient mills of which the paddles of the wheels once made the water of the biefs sparkle. On your way you will also discover in Rémalard en Perche the Gardens of the Petite Rochelle, the arboretum of Boiscorde, the Castral mound of Chatellier, the church of Saint Germain d'Auxerre, in Condeau the castle and the mill of Villeray as well as the mill of Dorceau.
15 - The last battle (30 km)
On August 19 and 21, 1944, after 72 days of fighting, the Allies encircled the German armies in the valley of Dives, the circuit will make you pass through the famous Falaise-Chambois pocket, which was the last combat of the Normandy Battle. A well-marked itinerary with informative panels, passing by the Memorial of Montormel, which should be visited to get a better idea of the events, as well as Chambois, Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives and the death row, Coudehard, Auby-en-Exmes and Tournai-sur-Dives.
16 - In the land of Lancelot (121 km)
Plunge in the heart of the Round Table novels and the fabulous exploits by Lancelot du Lac, a tour that will take you to the country of fairies, hermits and knights, on the places of Arthur's legend, a beautiful environment. Starting from Bagnoles de l'Orne, in the heart of the Andaines forest, passing by the hermitage of Saint Ortaire, then by Lonlay abbey, the mediaeval city of Domfront, and also by the ancient refuge of the last wizards of Céaucé and the Lancelot du Lac stele in Saint Fraimbault de Lassay.
17 - Circuit of the old stones (36 km)
Come to discover the traditional buildings of the Pays d'Auge, which combine half-timbered and bricked buildings by crossing the plateaus and valleys of the Orne department. While passing through Le Sap, make a stop at the site of the Grand Jardin and its eco-museum "de la Pomme au Calvados", visit the church of Saint-Aubin-de-Bonneval, the villages of Avernes-Saint-Gourgon, Canapville and Orville, put your watch away, now is the time to escape into another world.
18 - Circuit of Camembert (41 km)
The country of the cheese master, on the steps of Marie Harel, creator of the famous cheese that has crossed the borders of the entire world, until the last Camembert producer. A gastronomic itinerary with the added bonus of exploring the traditional charm and architecture of the Pays d'Auge. Two major stops in the village of Camembert, the museum "La Maison du Camembert", La Fromagerie Durand, Le Manoir de Beaumoncel where Marie Harel made her first Camembert and Vimoutiers.