Meet Orne: the southernmost department in Normandy, ideal for walkers and nature lovers. Further south, the Orne valley, with its rocky cliffs and peaks, is popular with climbers. In addition, the department is also known as the equestrian centre of Normandy.
Your cottage in Orne is the ideal starting point for exploring this beautiful region. It is still largely undiscovered by tourists and 'La Suisse Normande' is a hidden treasure between the rivers Noireau and Orne, to which the department is named. This green area is ideal for hikers with surprising mountain scenery, deep valleys, impressive slopes and rough waters.
Orne can be divided into five areas: Pays d'Alençon on the border between Normandy and Maine, with green land, the river Sarthe and wildlife-rich forests. Pays d'Argentan / Auge-Ornais with chalk plateau, rivers and streams and many horse farms. Pays du Bocage-Ornais or the “Suisse Normandy” : a hilly area with forests and swamps, Pays d'Ouche with lots of meadows, a water-rich region and therefore a paradise for anglers and finally the Pays de Perche; a hilly region with large meadows and oak and beech forests.
The capital of the department is Alençon and is famous for its lace that was made by order of Louis XIV. The lace school, Notre Dame Church and the Museum of Fine Arts are interesting sights here. The cosy centre with restaurants and shops ensures that you will quickly feel at home. The gastronomy of Orne is also a good reason to spend your vacation here: think of cider, apples, pears, cream and local soft cheeses, like Camembert.
The city Argetan once hosted an important lace industry. Do visit the Saint Nicolas chapel, the Saint Germain church and the garden of des Dentelles. Bagnoles de l'Orne is a popular place and is beautifully situated at the beginning of a ravine and a lake with hot springs. Here you can go hiking, biking, horseback riding and other sporting activities such as climbing, golf and archery.
It is also possible, from your holiday home, to take a walk through the Trappist forest and the Abbey of La Grande Trappe. Do not forget the Parc Naturel Régional de Normandie-Maine. This nature park, with an area of 235,000 hectares (over 550 acres), is the largest regional park in all of France.