BACKROADS OF NORMANDY
The Orne Country
A mysterious county of Normandy, away from the main tourist sites, a land of natural beauty… where Normandy meets Maine, a historic area with varied landscapes and where the horse is king.
By the way, did you know that Camembert, where the famous camembert cheese comes from, is a picturesque little village in the Orne County?
Prefect town of the Orne County, this elegant town with fine granite buildings, wrought ironwork and character filled streets is the ideal place to stay to discover the county.
Famous since the 17th century for its remarkable needlepoint lace; “the Point d’Alençon” is the lace for queens, the queen of laces, to be discovered at the Art Gallery and Lace museum. Alençon is also famous for being the native town of one of the most well known saints in the world: Sainte Teresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, nicknamed the little flower, whose house is opened to the public.
|> SAINT CENERY LE GEREI:
One of France’s prettiest villages. Located about 8 miles from Alençon, in a region called the “Alpes Mancelles”, Saint Ceneri is not only a very picturesque and quaint little village but also has a rich history, going back to the 7th century, when the hermit, Ceneri, an Italian monk, settled there… some miracles happened then…
During the Hundred Years war, the fortress of Saint Ceneri resisted numerous English attacks…
In the 19th century, the picturesque village of Saint Ceneri was frequented by a colony of artists, the most famous being Corot, Boudin.. and this tradition has been maintained since.
|> BAGNOLES DE L’ORNE:
A pearl in a jewel case of greenery, Bagnoles de l’Orne is an elegant spa resort, with a lovely architecture, beautiful aristocratic villas and a romantic lake facing the casino; an ideal place to relax while visiting Normandy.
|> HARAS DU PIN:
The oldest and most prestigious national stud, founded by Louis the XIV and nicknamed “the Equestrian Versailles”,
Built in the beginning of the 18th century in the heart of the horse breeding region. A wealthy region where you can visit a few private castles : Sassy, Medavy…
|> THE LAST DAYS OF THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY:
“The outcome of the battle of France was decided amid the orchards and hedgerows of this region of Normandy” General Eisenhower, August 23rd 1944.
The itinerary, from Alençon to the town of L’Aigle gives an idea of how the trap designed to encircle the German forces closed in from the south. After following the progress of the French 2nd armoured division commanded by General Leclerc along with American units moving northwards to make the junction with British, Canadian and Polish armies heading south, you will discover the places where the bloody and decisive battles were fought for the Falaise-Chambois gap in order to open up the road to the Seine for the Allied armies.
|> THE PERCHE REGION: THE EASTERN PART OF THE ORNE COUNTY:
The Perche is characterized by a typical landscape configuration: forests on the highlands, woodland slopes planted with hedges and orchards and green valleys. It is the home of the famous Percheron draught horse.The countryside is dotted with numerous manor houses, noble constructions built after The Hundred Years war and at the Renaissance, as well as a quality rural habitat. A combination of reddish tiles and ochre rendering contributing to give the Perche region all its charm and poetry.A day tour in the Perche would include the visit of Mortagne and Tourouvre (a must for our Canadian friends!) as well as the visit of La Perrière, a charming and picturesque village, famous for mesh embroidery.
|> NORMAN EMIGRATION TO CANADA:
In the east part of the Orne County is the old historical province of the Perche, from which many emigrants left in the 17th century, to live a new life or search fortune, or evangelize local tribes. Whatever their motivations, they founded French Canada and their descendants nowadays form 1/4th of the population of Quebec… A large number of those emigrants came from the small towns of Tourouvre and Mortagne.