Mortagne-au-Perche, Orne: tourism & sightseeing
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Mortagne-au-Perche is an attractive town situated on a hill in the south-east of the Orne department of southern Normandy, north-east of Alencon. It is a historically important town for the region - a history reflected in the wide range of buildings and monuments to be seen here.
It is in the historical centre of the town that you will start your visit, in the huddle of medieval streets lined with houses from the Middle Ages,shops and also some grander buildings. These are around the large central square where the weekly market is held.
Among the individual highlights to enjoy in Mortagne-au-Perche are the 12th century medieval entrance gateway at Porte Saint-Denis (below a substantial old stone gate-house), the Maison du Doyen de Toussaint, the Maison Henry IV and some other very fine townhouses dating from the 16th and 18th century.
The most important religious monument here is the Church of Notre-Dame - note particularly the elaborate carving around the doorway on the north side of the church and the facade with its large tower. It also has attractive stained glass windows some of which have more modern themes than the usual bible stories.
You can also see the 16th century cloisters and chapel of the Saint Francois convent: the cloisters are particularly attractive with a gallery above the columns and in the chapel the highlight is the carved wood added in the 17th century. These can be found on the edge of the Centre hospitalier of Mortagne-au-Perche.
Another notable religious monument on the edge of town is the 13th century crypt of the Church of Saint Andrew. I have always had great affection for ancient crypts and the low ceilings and broad arches make this one very evocative.
The 18th century town hall is also an imposing building - be sure to stroll behind to admire the public gardens, which includes some beautifully maintained gardens in the French style, and the views across the countryside.
Mortagne-au-Perche tourist office have also usefully laid out a well indicated 'town trail', which leads you past the highlights, and explains a little about them as you go although rather annoyingly you have to pay for this!
You will find a good selection of shops and restaurants - be sure to try the local speciality - boudin noir (similar to black pudding in the UK). The weekly market in Mortagne-au-Perche is held on Saturday.
The town falls within the Natural Regional Park du Perche, with numerous opportunities to explore the quiet woodlands and countryside of the park. A good way to start exploring is to follow the circuit suggested by Mortagne-au-Perche tourist office - a route about 80 kilometres long that passes through several villages and scenic highlights to the north and east of the town and is a good introduction to the region.
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Address: Mortagne-au-Perche, Normandy, 61400, France || GPS: latitude 48.520833, longitude 0.548333
Plan your visit to Mortagne-au-Perche, Orne
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Tourouvre: village d'etape (11 km)
- Jardin de la petite Rochelle: remarkable garden (19 km)
- Perche: regional natural parc (22 km)
- Forêt de Perseigne: site of natural beauty (25 km)
- Nogent-le-Rotrou: recommended detour (30 km)
Market days in Mortagne-au-Perche, France
Regular market(s) are held in Mortagne-au-Perche each Saturday all day. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Mortagne-au-Perche (Francais)