Haras du Pin, Orne visitors guide
Visit Haras du Pin, France
The Haras du Pin is a national horse breeding and training centre, east of Argentan, in the Orne department in the southern part of Normandy. It is the oldest Haras National in France.
The Haras Nationaux are a network of centres across France that were first established in the 17th century as a centre for breeding horses to be used by the French army. The Haras have evolved over the centuries, and are now primarily dedicated to horse racing and horse riding, and horse breeding in collaboration with private enterprises.
Explore the Haras du Pin and the Chateau of Bourg Saint Léonard
The Haras du Pin was established by King Louis XIV in 1715. It is still surrounded by a very large estate, and is one of the most famous Haras in the world. As well as the Haras, visitors can also explore the Chateau of Bourg Saint Léonard a few kilometres from the Haras.
Several thousands of visitors come to the Haras du Pin each year, and it is one of the most popular attractions in Normandy. Guided visits with a focus on particular aspects of horse care are also possible, such as saddle making, breeding and making horse shoes.
The original 18th century buildings, all beautifully maintained, can be seen as part of a guided visit: during the visit you will learn about the different races of horses, see impressive saddles, and also a collection of horse drawn carriages. After the guided tour you can follow a 'discovery tour' through the main stable block.
To see the famous presentations of the horses in the haras it is best to visit during the summer between June and September when a show is held each thursday, called the Jeudis du Pin.
The haras have evolved a great deal over the last three centuries since their military origins: the original horse breeding responsibilities have been transferred to private control, and the focus nowadays is on research, training and events related to horses.
Various shows are also organised by the Haras that combine the skills of the horse trainers with the artistic talents of the artist in residence.
In the Chateau du Bourg Saint Léonard, which is also 18th century, as part of your guided tour you will see various impressive rooms with historical furnishings and a grand staircase, 17th century tapestries and paintings of horses. The castle has limited opening hours (weekends and bank holidays in May, June and September, 14:30-16:30; and afternoons only in July and August, 14:30-17:30: arrive at least one hour before closing time).
The principal towns to visit near the Haras du Pin are Argentan to the west, which has several imposing historical monuments and a long tradition of lace making, and Sées to the south, best known for its cathedral.
Map of Haras du Pin and places nearby
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Argentan: recommended detour (12 km)
- Sassy: remarkable garden (13 km)
- Forêt d'Écouves: site of natural beauty (22 km)
- Signal d'Écouves: site of natural beauty (23 km)
- Carrouges Chateau: national monument (30 km)
- Jardins du château de Vendeuvre: remarkable garden (32 km)
- Orbec: town of art and history (37 km)
- Forêt de Perseigne: site of natural beauty (38 km)
- Normandie-Maine: regional natural parc (39 km)
- Tourouvre: village d'etape (41 km)
- Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei: most beautiful village (42 km)
- Mont du Haut-Fourché: site of natural beauty (46 km)
The French version of this page is at Haras du Pin (Francais)