Le Mans old town: Saint Julien cathedral; Gallo-Roman walls; Ardents, Tucé, Verrier and Magdeleine Towers; Vaux mansion; Nepveu de Rouillon mansion; Adam and Eve house; Queen Berengaria museum; Scarron house (crypt)
Epau Cistercian Abbey in Yvré-l’Evêque: founded in 1229 by Berengaria of Navarre, widow of Richard I Cœur de Lion (queen’s tomb in the chapter house).
Sablé: neo-gothic church Notre Dame en l’Ile (15th century stained glass windows), park (panorama on the Sarthe valley), Sablé old town, medieval bridge on the Erve, lock keeper house (river fauna and harbour history), Castle of Sablé (02 43 95 19 92).
St-Pierre-de-Solesmes Abbey: founded in 1010 by Geoffroy le Vieux, today it is the abbey of the benedictine congregation of France and the Gregorian plainsong home. It is highly advised to attend a song service (every day, mass at 10 am, sext at 1 pm, none at 1:50 pm, vespers at 5 pm or at 5:30 pm on winter thursdays or at 4 pm on summer thursdays, compline at 8:30 pm) and to admire two group of statues called Saints des Solesmes (one of the French sculpture masterpieces of the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century).
Asnières-sur-Vègre medieval village: considered as the most beautiful Sarthe village with its shaded banks, old houses from 15th to 17th century, 18th century justice court, castle, mansions, mill, colourful bridge.
Malicorne: one of the main earthenware industry in France with its museum, 11th century church, 18th century castle (Mme de Sévigné). Pottery festival in September.
Château du Plessis-Bourré: built in the 15th century by Jean Bourré, Louis XI and Charles VIII finance minister, the castle is at the same time a defence building, with its moats, towers and walls, and a comfortable Renaissance residence.
Zoo at La Flèche.
Sarthe Valley's gardens
Donjon du Ballon: the medieval and Renaissance plant world opens on to the closed gardens of the Donjon du Ballon: vegetable garden (topiairy, ancient roses, aromatic and medicinal plants, leguminous plants), orchard and a rose garden rich about a hundred varieties, peonies and shrubs.
Manoir de la Massonnière à St-Christophe-en-Champagne: surrounded by walls and hedges, several trimmed boxes parterres shape the space: ancient vegetable garden, orchard, grass-covered and paved paths.
Château du Lude: the château opens on to several gardens dominated by an important Ranaissance terrace (romantic garden de la Source, greenhouse, orangery, chinese roses and hundred-year old trees).
Petit Bordeaux à St-Biez-en-Belin: an intimate promenade in the middle of subtle scents for the curious of rare and refined essences. In 2002, it received the 1st Bonpland price awarded by the Société National d’Horticulture.
Jardins des Renaudies à Colombiers-du-Plessis: 3000 genera, species and varieties, vegetable garden.
Loire Castles (at 1h30 / 2h from Petit Vaulogé)
Villandry and its gardens: it impresses by its gardens (water garden, love garden, decorative ornamental garden and vegetable garden).
Azay le Rideau: built in an island in the middle of the river Indre from 1518 to 1527 by Francis I treasurer, Gilles Berthelot. One of the most beautiful Renaissance castle.
Chenonceau: the ladies castle was offered by Henry II to Diane de Poitiers, before that she had to give it back, at the king’s death, to Catherine de Medici, who built the magnificent gallery overlooking the river Cher.
Amboise: ancient royal palace of Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francis I. Last residence of Leonardo da Vinci who settled in 1516 following Francis I invitation.
Blois: centre of the French Renaissance, it was for a longtime a royal city, marked by the Louis XII and Francis I reign, and by the kingdom’s dramatic events, such as the assasination of Duke of Guise. Not miss the castle and its staircase.
Talcy: it evokes at the same time the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Like the poet Ronsard we could be seduced by Cassandre when we discover the charm of this beautiful residence.
Chambord: the biggest of all the Loire castles was built by Francis I. Today, this hunting castle constitutes the only royal palace inherited by the old regime that has through the centuries kept its original form.
Cheverny: the most classic of all the Loire castles. Its style shows the artistic evolution of the 17th century, since that time owned by the same family.