The château park at Fresnay-sur-SartheThe château park at Fresnay-sur-Sarthe
©The château park at Fresnay-sur-Sarthe|Ahmet Yildiz - PHS


Ranked 2nd Favourite Village of the French 2021
Between heritage and nature

Installed on a rocky spur around the castle, this medieval town has retained all its character. As you stroll through its narrow streets, you’ll discover a rich, well-preserved heritage.

More than 1000 years of history


Although Fresnay-sur-Sarthe probably existed as early as the 6th century, it was in the 9th and 10th centuries that its history really began and the town began to take shape. The starting point was its castle, built on a rocky spur overlooking the Sarthe river, and its ford, which provided a means of controlling comings and goings.

The Viscounts of Beaumont, vassals of the Counts of Maine, made use of this strategic position against Norman incursions. The city was later equipped with ramparts and fortified gates, traces of which can still be seen today.

Several monuments still bear witness to the city’s importance and history. Among them: the 12th-century church, enlarged in the 19th century, whose sculpted portal is a gem. Its covered market (halles), rebuilt in the 19th century, was used as a sales outlet for Fresnay’s famous canvases.

Fresnay-sur-Sarthe has been awarded “Petite Cité de Caractère®” and “Ville et Métiers d’Art” labels.

Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, village of arts and crafts!


At the end of 2022, the town of Fresnay-sur-Sarthe was awarded a new label: “Ville et Métiers d’Art”.

This gives the town’s many craftsmen national recognition for their skills: jeweler, blacksmith, illustrator, upholsterer, leather craftsman, stained glass maker, art carver.

The workshops are complemented by designer boutiques and numerous brocantes.

The town of Fresnay-sur-Sarthe is the 100th commune in France to be awarded the “Ville et Métiers d’Art” label.

Discover Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

in video

with Stéphane Bern for "Le Village préféré des français" TV show

Not to be missed

Coteau des Vignes

The Coteau des Vignes site offers a fantastic view over the Sarthe Valley and the town of Fresnay-sur-Sarthe.
This little corner with its Mediterranean feel is home to rare and uncommon plant species specific to limestone lawns and meadows.
It is one of the Espaces Naturels Sensibles listed in the Sarthe.

Discover the history of

Sarthoise headdresses


200 years of Sarthe headdress history presented by the lingères of the Association “La bise-moi vite”. From the bonnette to the Bise-moi vite and the Galette, discover a fine collection of 180 Sarthe headdresses, presented on original marottes and worn successively by Sarthoise women since 1800.

Explanations are given by lingères who patiently and meticulously restore these lace headdresses, often forgotten and yellowed by time. Occasional bobbin lace demonstrations are offered by lacemakers.


in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

A local personality

Georges Durand


Born in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe in 1864, he spent his entire childhood there. He was car enthusiast who was always very attached to his roots and he helped develop tourism in his region, notably by founding the Syndicat d’Initiatives des Alpes Mancelles and setting up tourist rallies. He also helped set up a major event for the people of Sarthe department, now world-famous, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.