The furthest south, Saint-Marceau, with its priory and small church, hides an artist’s studio whose creations will amaze you.
A few kilometers “above”: Beaumont-sur-Sarthe. Your eyes will immediately be drawn to the imposing château, now privately owned, once home to the Viscounts of Beaumont. Indeed, Beaumont-le-Vicomte, as it was formerly known, was a major stronghold between Normandy and Maine, two territories with difficult relations… When you’re in Beaumont, take the time to discover the town, but don’t hesitate to make a “little detour” to Vivoin, a commune that “touches”. In the middle of the village stands the church and priory, an exceptional religious heritage.
Before heading off to Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, the region’s central town, don’t forget to take a short break in Piacé. The village is an open-air “showroom”. In fact, the Bézard-Le Corbusier Association has developed a contemporary art trail here, with new works added every year. A truly incredible place to discover!
Follow the narrow country roads to Fresnay-sur-Sarthe. From afar, you’ll be guided by the steeple of Notre-Dame church, which dominates the whole town. Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, which has been awarded the “Petite Cité de Caractère” label, hides an exceptional built heritage: from medieval defensive elements to Romanesque churches and half-timbered houses, you won’t know where to turn! A must-see is the courtyard of the château, now a garden, with an incredible view… Don’t leave Fresnay with any regrets, as you won’t have seen the last of your surprises!
Yes, the further north you go, the more you enter the heart of the Alpes Mancelles… First of all, take advantage of the small roads that run alongside part of the Sarthe river, offering magnificent views. Beware: part of this road has been “carved” out of the rock, so you’ll regularly come into contact with the local mountains. When you arrive in Saint-Léonard-des-Bois, the surprise is obvious: yes, you’re there, in the heart of the Alpes Mancelles. This little village, recently awarded the “Petite Cité de Caractère” label, wedged between river and mountains, seems to have come out of “nowhere”. What can we say, but enjoy it all: the village, its landscapes, its nature…
The discovery isn’t over yet, because we’re offering you a final stopover, a little further north, where you’ll cross the border between the Sarthe and Orne departments, between the Pays de la Loire and Normandy regions. Yes, we’re proposing that you take this final break in a village still at the heart of the Alpes Mancelles listed site: Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei. There’s just one thing we can say about this village: it’s one of France’s most beautiful… and that says it all! Now it’s up to you to make the most of it and stop off as you please, depending on how much time you have.