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Outings, visits and activities in the Sarthe and nearby

You want to prepare an outing, a visit, an activity?
No worries, you’ve come to the right place! On this page you will find a list of the different activities that we recommend to you.

Zoological park de la Flèche

The Zoo de La Flèche, an emblematic park that cleverly combines respect of biodiversity, innovation and visitors’ wonder.

Papéa Parc

Papéa Parc offers more than 40 attractions, a circus show, and a large choice of restaurants in order to bring together family and friends. This wonderful parc with familial and sensational attractions is located 35 minutes from la Chesnaie campsite..

Musée des 24 du Mans

Visitez la légende au musée ! Découvrez l’histoire des 24 Heures du Mans et des héros qui ont fait sa légende. 120 véhicules mythiques, une collection de miniatures unique, des contenus exclusifs sur l’histoire automobile : Revivez 110 ans d’une aventure exceptionnelle !

Pescheray Zoo

The Pescheray property is located on a former seigneurial domain whose (the) first stones were laid in 841.
Nowadays, the property covers almost 145 hectares on which the ESAT (Employment rehabilitation establishments and services) relies on to offer to almost 74 workers with disabilities, activities with wide varieties such as green spaces maintenance, market gardening, restaurant services or even animal care.

Carnuta

Carnuta, house of Humans and forests, is a playful and interactive place located in the Jupilles village at the heart of the Bercé forest, in the Sarthe.
This space offers a discovery of the world of the forest for young and older people.

Bike or mountain bike tours

Thanks to the bike lease offered by la Chesnaie Campsite, you will be able to discover the immensity of the Bercé Forest with only one pedal stroke!

Hikes

Thanks to the paths marking in the Bercé Forest, you can take a walk safely. Lace up your hiking boots and enjoy the luscious landscapes!

Visit Le Mans

From the Antiquity to the 20th century, from the built heritage to the parks and gardens, from museums to the river that flows through the city, Le Mans offers all the great richness and the full diversity of a multifaceted heritage for its visitors. Bordered by a Roman enclosure dating from the end of the 3rd century, the Cité Plantagenêt, dominated by its cathedral, forms on 20 hectares a cohesive unit.
Labeled « City of Art and History », Le Mans presents a unique architectural heritage, besides, the Roman enclosure is a candidate to UNESCO’s World Heritage. The menhir, the cathedral, the Roman enclosure, the timber framed houses, the Renaissance style residences, the cobblestone streets bordered by chasse-roue (guard stone), make you travel in the history of the city…

To find out more, do not hesitate to go at the Tourist Office.

The Tourist Office

Located at the heart of the city, in front of the Jacobins Centre, rue de l’étoile, not far from the Le Mans Cathedral and the historical City, the Tourist Office welcomes you from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm (from 10 am to 6 pm during the off-season). Their teams advise you to prepare your trip at the heart of the Plantagenêt City. Possibility to book and purchase your tickets for the 24h of Le Mans, Le Mans Classic, concerts, shows and plays… at our ticketing office.

Le petit train of Le Mans

The touristic train of Le Mans has a partnership with the Tourist Office. Leaving from the Jet d’eau square, the little touristic train makes you travel at the heart of the Plantagenêt City and the new city for a 40 minutes commented visit (visit offered in 8 languages: English, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese and German).
Discover the secrets of the city: Saint-Julien cathedral, timber framed houses, the Plantagenêt history, and surprising stories about this beautiful City. A trip for families or friends, in a little train that bears the colors of the city.

The Tessé Museum

Near the Plantagenêt City, you will find collections of Flemish, Dutch, Italian and French paintings from the 15th century to the 19th century and also furnishings, sculptures and works of art. The Tessé Museum in Le Mans occupies the place of the former estate of the Tessé family, from which the collections form a part of the older collections. The key elements are « La Vanité » by Philippe de Champaigne et « Le Sommeil d’Elie », « La nature morte aux armures » by Willem Van Aelst, Louis XV’s secretary and the very original paintings illustrating the « Roman Comique » of Scarron. In 2001, a vast sub-surface space was inaugurated dedicated to the pharaonic Egypt. There are presented the life-sized replenishments of the tombstones of the Queen Nofretari, wife of Ramses II and of Sennefer, mayor of Thebes. The Egyptian gallery was renovated in 2018.

St Julien’s cathedral, the Ascension Day stained-glass

If you come to visit Le Mans, this is a must-see! Along with Notre-Dame de Chartres cathedral, St Julien’s cathedral bedazzles its visitors with the most sumptuous medieval stained-glass collection in the world. The Ascension Day stained-glass, which is situated at the left side of the nave, is dated from the end of the 16th century. It is the most ancient stained-glass that still is exposed in a religious structure. The abstract art panels have been created by Max Ingrand in 1956.

The Plantagenêt Carré, Museum of Archeology and History of Le Mans

The museum of Archeology and History is located at the heart of Le Mans and at the crossroads of the old city of Plantagenêt and the new town. Unveiled in June 2009, the museum is an open and welcoming space. It is the perfect combination between a contemporary architecture and the conservation of ancient structures such as the Monnoyer printing house now renovated. Through the various collections, visitors will be able to learn about Sarthe land all the way back from Prehistory up to the end of the Middle Age.
The museum contains many prime artefacts such as: coins found along the edges of the Huisne in 1997 coming from the Cenomans - a Gallic tribe. Should also be noted the Vénus de Rextugenos, a glass horn-shaped drinking cup, St Bertrand’s shroud, Coëffort treasure or the Émail de Plantagenêt.Have an educational visit of the museum and enjoy its scale models, its drawn reproductions, its scenographic areas, its interactive touch screens and its archeology books. Equipped with an auditorium, activity rooms, a resource centre and a tea room - the Café Carré - the museum is a place that everyone can enjoy in Le Mans city.

In the trails of the race drivers

Don’t miss the Hollywood Boulevard of the greatest winners of the 24-hours of Le Mans track! Since 1991, the association “L’Empreinte des Vainqueurs” in collaboration with the shopkeepers of St Nicolas’ quarter and the City of Le Mans pay a tribute to the winners of the 24-hours of Le Mans track. The process begins at the weighing of the race cars. Every year and at the end of this legendary race, any winner gets the chance to have the shape of their hands and their feet in a plaster casting. They are made into the mould of a wheel alongside the winner’s signature and the year of the race. The prints are taken in plaster before being cast into bronze by Philippe Macharet’s art foundry in the Sarthe. It is then sealed in St Nicolas’ quarter pavements

Le Mans botanic garden

With its 5 ha, Le Mans botanic garden is located near the city centre. Jean-Charles Adolphe Alphand - designer of the Monceau garden, “les Buttes-Chaumont” and the Montsouris garden in Paris - drew its plans, which led to their creation between 1867 and 1870. The botanic garden has been created upon the initiative of the Sarthe Horticulture Society. It belongs to the City of Le Mans since 1881 and is considered as a classified site since 1945. The garden is split in two parts: a French part with a rose garden, a terraced alley and a bandstand and an English one which winding paths lead to a tree-lined pond.The botanic garden owns a magnificent collection of oaks and other majestic trees. It is the perfect reminder of the variety of landscapes that can be found in the Sarthe. Both French and English gardens are connected by a rockery underground path, named “Le Passage Ragot”. Many sculptures of Louis Derbré, Suzanne Jean and other artists are exposed in the garden. Children will discover a garden especially created for them.

Menhir of Le Mans cathedral

The menhir is the oldest witness of Le Mans history as it dates back over 5,000 years, period when nowadays “Cité Plantegenêt” was the old city of Le Mans. While it was long considered as the heart of Le Mans, this standing stone was believed by many cults to be the symbol of fertility or as the centre of the universe. Considered a pagan sign, it has been saved from destruction by St Julien’s when he came to christianise Le Mans during the 5th century. It is said that St Julien’s would have covered its top with a cross long disappeared. When the cathedral was being built, the menhir was adjoined to the walls of the religious building as the last remainder of a place where other sacred stones were standing.

The giant hourglass

At the back of the Tessé museum, Jean-Bernard Métais’ gigantic work of art strengthens the wish of making this space a cultural zone. Back in June 2009, the immense cubic hourglass made of glass and steel found its rightful spot at the heart of the pond of the Tessé garden, Le Mans, on a paving almost floating on the surface of the water. It’s like a second life for the artefact as it was first implanted in “le Jardin des Plantes” of Paris upon the summer 2009 eclipse. Being in competition with other big european cities, Le Mans had been able to earn the giant hourglass after two years of exposition. 40 tons of sand flows through 160 openings - each one being independently activated by computer - and at a dropping height of 3 meters. At every solstice, this white and extremely thin sand is put back up the highest platform for it to fall back again.

L’Arche de la Nature

“L’Arche de la Nature” is a 500 ha natural site near Le Mans. It is free and open to the public all year long. Located 10 minutes from Le Mans town centre and near the Epau abbey, walkers can discover the water, the “bocage” and the forest divisions along the paths. They can also visit the various Houses of the site such as the Water House, the Forest House and the Meadow House.

Camping
de la Chesnaie

Les Prés de Touvois
72220 Marigné-Laillé
Phone : (+33) 07 83 96 71 21
campingdelachesnaie@gmail.com

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