©Jean-Pierre Guibout, Club photo d'Alençon
NORMANDIE-MAINE REGIONAL NATURE PARK
Created in 1975, this is one of the oldest national parks in France. Its amazingly hilly landscape includes most of the highest points in Western France: Mont des Avaloirs (416m),
Signal d’Écouves (413m), Butte Chaumont (378m) and Belvédère de Perseigne (342m).
It is a unique mix of rocky escarpments, gorges, torrents and scree. It took 600 million years for such a breathtaking landscape to form in this part of Normandy and Maine.
Besides its geological characteristics, this region is a borderland between the two historical provinces of Normandy and Maine. This explains why there are so many castles,
châteaux and medieval towns here, like those of Carrouges, Domfront, Lassay-les-Châteaux, Fresnay-sur-Sarthe and Alençon.
THE BUTTE CHAUMONT
MONT DES AVALOIRS
Take a deep breath and take to the heights!
The Mont des Avaloirs, 416 metres above sea level, is the highest point in the entire West of France.
After climbing the 108 steps of the 18-metre viewpoint tower, your efforts are aptly rewarded by a 360° panoramic view over the superb landscape of the Normandie-Maine Regional Nature Park, the Multonne forest and the Alpes Mancelles.
On a clear day you can even make out the silhouette of the Mont-Saint-Michel!
FORÊT DE PERSEIGNE
This forest is definitely worth taking the time to explore. There are some lovely walks to be had around the panoramic viewpoint, which is the highest point in the department of Sarthe. By car, motorcycle or bike, make sure you visit
the "Vallée d’Enfer". This valley’s rolling landscape makes it perfect for hiking, from Saint-Rigomer-des-Bois or
Les Ventes du Four to Le Puits de la Roche or Les Trois Ponts, to follow the Vallée du Gros Houx. Heritage features include the Perseigne Abbey, the church with a portico in Saint-Rigomer-des-Bois, the châteaux of Courtilloles and Aillières-Beauvoir,
and the Couesme Manor House.