Located in the north west of France, Sarthe is quite rural with diverse landscapes of flat countryside, forest and mountains. The villages are quaint and charming, with plenty to explore such as medieval castles and buildings, abbeys, churches, museums and monuments. The city of Le Mans is particularly popular for The 24 Hours of Le Mans, a renowned car race, as well as the French Motorcycle Grand Prix. There are numerous street markets, selling curios, arts and crafts as well as delicious local foods and fresh produce. Local dishes feature goat’s cheese, rillettes (similar to pate), and sables (a shortbread cookie). Leisure activities include horse riding, hiking, water sports, fishing as well as parachuting, hot air ballooning and micro lighting.
If you are travelling with children then you may wish to take them to the educational Spaycific’Zoo and just a few kilometres away to L’ile MoulinSart, which is perfect for family picnics and offers activities for children with play areas, exhibitions and animations. Sable-sur-Sarthe is a beautiful riverside village, with picture perfect cottages, wonderful restaurants and good amenities. You can hire a river barge here and cruise along the river, stopping in at the various towns and villages along the way. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, you could visit Orne, which is approximately 110km away. It is full of picturesque landscapes of countryside, apple orchards and forest. For visitors with a keen interest in history, there are a multitude of museums, monuments, castles, churches, fortified mills and maritime sites. Leisure activities include horse-riding, hiking, water sports, fishing, cycling, exploring the Orne estuary with its plethora of fauna and flora as well as parachuting, hot air ballooning and micro lighting. A long distance hiking trail between the GR22 and GR36 runs through Orne and is particularly popular. You have the option of walking the shorter, marked routes, which are just as beautiful. The area has a strong focus on gastronomy and local cuisine focuses on foie gras, Camembert cheese, fresh seafood and cider.
The closest railway station is at Le Mans, 13 km away with connections to Paris, Lyon, Brussels and London.