(Please click on the 'blue' words to link to further information, some may be in French)
Normandy has many interesting and varied places to visit together with leisure activities for the more adventurous visitor to the region.
Being situated close to the Forêt des Andaines (covering an area of approximately 55 sq miles) there are many activities that can be enjoyed in and around the forest or, within a short distance, there are other interesting locations to visit. The activities below will give you an insight into what is available locally depending on your interests:
In and around the Forêt des Andaines there are 22 cycle circuits ranging in length between 6.5km to 53km. These routes are marked by the French Cycling Federation (FFC). A pack detailing all the routes is available from us or from the Local Tourist Information Office for €5.
You can also ride along the Voie Verte (old disused railway lines that have been removed and resurfaced for cycling, walking or horse riding). The closest Voie Verte is at Messei approx. 8kms away and you can ride down to Domfront or even all the way to Mont-St-Michel 85kms away!
Velo-Rail (cycling on the old railway lines)
Take your cycling exercise on the railway with velo-rail! You will cycle aboard machines devised to run on the old rail tracks. You can take a trip from a start point in the Suisse Normande over a 13km route or a more local start at Bagnoles de l’Orne and the amazing Forêt des Andaines over a 3km or 6km circuit. The longer circuit allows you the choice of returning to Bagnoles along the river in a canoe.
There are a many walks within the Forêt des Andaines and surrounding areas and a pack of routes is available from us or the Local Tourist Information Office for €1.
Slightly further away is the Roche d’Oëtre, Europe’s oldest mountain the Armorican Massif, here you will find a visitor centre, restaurant and several walks down into the valley. Well worth a visit.
France has many Châteaux to enjoy and Normandy has its fair share of them.
A 20-minute drive away is the Château de Carrouges an impressive building dating from the 14th century. There have been many additions to the Château over the centuries and the lords paid host to King Louis XI in 1473. The Château also holds many annual events in the grounds.
A similar distance away is the Château de Couterne with its brick and granite façade and two rounded towers dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
A forty-minute drive will take you to Falaise with the Château of William the Conqueror. This Château has and still is undergoing extensive restoration and is well worth a visit.
We have leaflets available for other Chateaux in the region.
A ten-minute drive away is the Spa town of Bagnoles de l’Orne with a 9 hole Par 33 course (2400m) plus a driving range and a fifteen-minute drive away there is another 9-hole course Par 32 of 2110m just outside Flers.
There is also a par 3, 18-hole course 10 minutes away in La Ferté-Macé.
In one of the most beautiful villages in France, Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei (an hours drive away), is an ‘open-house’ garden Les Jardins de la Mansonière and there are many other beautiful gardens to visit in the region. We have details of some of the best ones available in our leaflet pack.
A short drive away is the Marais du Grand-Hazé, (with an observatory) 200 hectares of marshland with its diverse natural habitats – ponds, bogs, reed beds– the largest in the Orne region.
Normandy is rich in horse riding centres and is the region that breeds the most horses in France. The many equestrian centres, a local one to us being the Village du Cheval, cater for all possible riding requirements for children and adults: themed rides with guides, pleasure rides in carriages around special circuits, pony rides for children, riding schools and much more. The large forests of the Orne (Ecouves, Belleme, Reno-Valdieu and Andaines) boast over 4000km of trails and provide an amazing environment to ride through.
For those who enjoy watching rather than riding there is the National Haras du Pin (an hour away) with its regular impressive shows and the Ferme du Cheval de Trait featuring the amazing ‘heavy’ horses Percheron, Cobs and Bretons in a spectacular show.
There are several swimming pools in the local area, La Ferté-Macé, Bagnoles de l’Orne and Flers, some open-air. We have details available.