La Basse Cour: B&B near Alencon, Normandy
B & B : Mayenne
Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Sillé-le-Guillaume, Jublains and Sainte Suzanne (Mayenne)
Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Jublains and Sainte Suzanne
Fresnay-sur-Sarthe is the "capital" of the Alpes Mancelles, located at the southern end of that area.
Over the border in the Mayenne, Sainte Suzanne is a fortified medieval town while Jublains is an ancient Roman settlement with an excavated Roman temple, fortress, amphitheatre and baths to explore.
From Ancinnes head towards Bourg le Roi (from la Basse Cour, turn left at the church) but just after the primary school turn left at a bend in the road towards Rouessé-Fontaine. At Ancinette crossroads go straight on to Rouessé-Fontaine; keep going straight on after the church following the sign for the A28.
When you shortly reach the D310 turn right towards Fresnay, passing over the A28. Cross the N138/D438 and keep going to Fresnay-sur-Sarthe and the Alpes Mancelles.
Fresnay-sur-Sarthe is the main town of the Alpes Mancelles. Away from the main road in the old town centre there is a network of narrow medieval sreets and alleys. If nothing else, go to the ramparts of the old castle (behind the church of Our Lady) and admire the views looing down over the river. The tourist office near the crossroads in the town centre has a leaflet showing a route to explore the town in more detail.
From the crossroads near the tourist office head north-west on the D21 to Sougé le Ganelon, a pretty little village which is filled with flower baskets and tubs in summer. The church has some beautiful 20th century stained glass.
From there take the D15 through le Gué Ory then turn left to St Georges le Gaultier. There is a bungee jump from the viaduct of St Georges le Gaultier over the river Vaudelle.
From St Georges le Gaultier head south on the D105 towards Sillé-le-Guillaume, passing through Mont-St-Jean and eventually entering the forest of Sillé. AS the road passes through the forest, you may notice a turn off to your right to the Base de Loisirs. This leads you to Sillé Plage. This is a popular recreation spot by a large lake in the middle of the forest, where people go for sailboarding, pedaloes, fishing and generally messing about in and near the water. Lots of walks, picnic spots, plus a bar and pizza restaurant. You can take a tourist train or a boat trip around the perimeter of the lake in July and August.
Further along the main D105 you come to the town of Sillé-le-Guillaume.
We suggest you carry on through Sillé to Sainte Suzanne and/or Jublains before visiting the chateau and church of Sillé-le-Guillaume on the way back, if you wish.
From Sillé carry on the D310 south west in the direction of Evron in order to visit the medieval fortified town of Sainte Suzanne (just south of Evron) and the Roman remains at Jublains (just north of Evron).
Jublains is an ancient Roman settlement and the sites of a temple, fort, amphitheatre and baths can be explored freely. There is also an archaeological museum which is part of the fort.
On the border of the Sarthe and the Mayenne departments, the ramparts of the medieval town of Ste Suzanne look down 200 metres onto the river Erve. It is very picturesque and you can hire an audioguide from the chateau museum to explore the streets and learn about its history; the keep, château, old houses and museum are all worth exploring in detail. It was the only town in the area to hold out against William the Conqueror, despite being under constant seige from 1083 to 1087. It fell to the English in 1425 during the Hundred Years War, staying under English rule for 14 years.
The return to Ancinnes from either Jublains or Sainte Suzanne via Sillé-le-Guillaume takes about 50 minutes.
Sillé-le-GuillaumeAt Sillé-le-Guillaume in July and August you can visit the interior of the 15th century chateau, which looks down on the town (parking is possible next to the chateau). Visit times are Tuesday to Sunday, 14.30 from the chateau or 16.30 from the tourist office, including a tour of the town. Times shown are for July and August - check at the tourist office for out of season times (+33 2 43 20 10 32). The outrside can be visited freely at any time.
Next to the chateau, the church of Our Lady of the Assumption boasts 26 beautiful stained glass windows (it forms part of the "Tour of Lights") and an impressive crypt - the entrance to the church is tucked away in a side street on the south side, up some covered stairs.