Parcé-sur-Sarthe, Sarthe tourism & sightseeing
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Parcé sur Sarthe is a pretty village dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries though most of the buildings in the village today are of the 15th and 16th centuries. It is situated on a large meander of the River Sarthe. The village is classified as a "Petite Cité de Caractère de la Sarthe".
Parcé-sur-Sarthe prospered because of its riverside location and in the 10th century the village grew up around a small hill on which a castle was built. The tall bell tower of the Saint Pierre chapel was built to help orientate the pilgrims on the way to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle in Spain.
Much of the town was destroyed in 1370 by the English at the end of the Hundred Year War. The old fortifications were used to rebuild the town in the 15th and 16th centtury and it is these attractive streets that we can wander round today.
The tower of Saint Pierre is on the main square and is the dominant building on the square though the attractive church of Saint Martin is just nearby. Look inside the church as it still contains some of the decorative paint work that once upon a time covered the inside of many churches in France.
Also to look out during your visit to Parcé-sur-Sarthe are the ancient stables (which house various exhibitions throughout the year), the ancient salt barn, the Chapelle aux Hommes and the turreted house. The Maison Pérottin has a round tower and a square tower and has served as the town prison in the past.
Below the village centre the Sarth river meanders by and dominant on the river's edge is a large moulin (water mill) that once belonged to the famous French author and film producer Marcel Pagnol. Probably best known for his books and films Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, the first film he directed was "Le Gendre de monsieur Poirier" which was partly filmed in the area.
There is a pleasant riverside walk here and the area is used each August along with the village centre for the Parcé-sur-Sarthe medieval festival. During the festival there are displays of medieval combat, singing and dancing and the streets and locals are decorated/dressed in medieval costume.
A viewpoint above Parcé offers pretty views over the river and the countryside.
Places to visit nearby
The charming village of Asnieres sur Vegre is nearby and occupies a very picturesque spot on the edge of a river. Saulges is worth a visit for its wonderful pre-Roman church with painted statues and its picturesque Oratoire de Saint-Cénéré.
Sainte-Suzanne is one of the "most beautiful villages of France". It is indeed charming and has the ruins of a castle in its centre. A walk around the ramparts leads to a medieval garden and you can walk down hill to the river to visit a working paper mill if you wish.
Of course if you are in the area around Parcé-sur-Sarthe the medieval centre of Le Mans is very impressive indeed. Racing fans will want to visit in July for the Le-Mans classic car racing event.
Map of Parcé-sur-Sarthe and places nearby
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Address: Parcé-sur-Sarthe, Sablé-sur-Sarthe, Flèche, Pays de la Loire, 72300, France || GPS: latitude 47.8422, longitude -0.1997
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Jardins de la Massonnière: remarkable garden (15 km)
- La Fleche: recommended detour (19 km)
- Jardins du Mirail: remarkable garden (19 km)
- Jardin du château de Vilaines: remarkable garden (21 km)
- Saulges: town of art and history (22 km)
- La Cropte: ville fleurie 4* (25 km)
- Spaycific'Zoo: zoo or wildlife park (27 km)
- Sainte-Suzanne: most beautiful village (31 km)
- Jardin d’atmosphère du Petit Bordeaux: remarkable garden (33 km)
- Le Mans: secteur sauvegarde (34 km)
- Coudray: ville fleurie 4* (34 km)
- Parc et jardins du château du Lude: remarkable garden (34 km)
The French version of this page is at Parcé-sur-Sarthe (Francais)