Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Sarthe: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Fresnay-sur-Sarthe (Pays de la Loire region)

Visit Fresnay-sur-Sarthe (Pays de la Loire, France)

Fresnay-sur-Sarthe is a small town on the banks of the Sarthe river to the north of Le Mans and south of Alencon, with Beaumont-sur-Sarthe a few kilometres to the south-east.

The town has received the official tourist classification as a 'small city of character'.

Exploring Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

The centre of Fresnay-sur-Sarthe is dominated by a pretty section of the Sarthe river, crossed here by an old stone bridge and with a substantial raised rocky area which still retains the defensive walls of a medieval castle. The ensemble of bridge, river and castle is very photogenic.

To the rear of these walls you can see a part of the castle with a gateway and two sturdy stone towers, while inside the walls there is now a small garden area from where you can enjoy attractive views along the river and also see the ruined walls of the original keep (donjon).

Also in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, directly in front of the castle, you can see the traditional market hall, with its sturdy stone columns and exposed carpentry work.

Perhaps the most attractive place to stroll after exploring around the castle is to follow the Rue du Bourg-Neuf, which follows along the banks of the Sarthe river past some very picturesque houses and leads to the Moulin d'Espaillard, the traditional water mill (although the view of the river is often blocked by the houses).

Elsewhere in the centre there are also several nicely preserved ancient houses in colombage or stone, such as the medieval houses in Grande Rue.

The weekly market is held in the Place de la Republique.

One of the most unexpected attractions in the town is surely the museum (the Musée de la Coiffe), which is dedicated to lace bonnets, although with a small deviation to show some historical hats. If nothing else it must surely be 'one of a kind'!

Attractions nearby

The region around Fresnay-sur-Sarthe and north to Saint-Céneri-le-Gerei is known as the Alpes-Mancelles and is a popular region with those wishing to explore quite countryside with streams and rivers, fields and small woodlands.

As well as opportunities to enjoy hiking and cycling there are also small villages, gardens and local museums to explore - a pleasant place for a weekend break in the spring or autumn!

You can find more local travel ideas in the Sarthe guide and the Pays de la Loire guide.

See also:

Map of Fresnay-sur-Sarthe and places nearby

Visit near Fresnay-sur-Sarthe with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Sarthe

Address: Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Mamers, Pays de la Loire, 72130, France || GPS: latitude 48.2825, longitude 0.021944

Plan your visit to Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Sarthe

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Mont du Haut-Fourché: site of natural beauty (11 km)
  • Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei: most beautiful village (12 km)
  • Forêt de Perseigne: site of natural beauty (22 km)
  • Normandie-Maine: regional natural parc (29 km)
  • Forêt d'Écouves: site of natural beauty (29 km)
  • Signal d'Écouves: site of natural beauty (30 km)
  • Coulaines: ville fleurie 4* (32 km)
  • Sainte-Suzanne: most beautiful village (34 km)
  • Abbaye de l'Epau (Yvre-l'Eveque): religious monument (35 km)

Market days in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, France

Regular market(s) are held in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe each Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Fresnay-sur-Sarthe (Francais)