The Sarthe by bike
Cycle through the trails of the Sarthe, with its network of over 400 km of specially-created cycle trails that allow you to discover the department's amazing varieties of landscape! Here's a small selection of charming routes.
Alençon – Mamers / 29 kilometres
This section starts in the Orne and quickly returns to the Sarthe, weaving through the Parc Régional Normandie Maine followed by the Perseigne forest. Along the way, a highly recommended stop-off is Fresnaye-sur-Chédouet, where the La Belle Échappée museum retraces the history of the bicycle and cycling competitions.
Saint-Léonard-des-Bois – Fresnay-sur-Sarthe / 15 kilometres
Start at Saint-Léonard-des-Bois, a little village tucked at the bottom of a valley, which sets the tone for this route through the Alpes Mancelles, whose mountain feel has amazed many a visitor. You finish in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, a delightful little town with plenty of character that juts out on rocky promontory.
Noyen-sur-Sarthe – Sablé-sur-Sarthe / 26 kilometres
Go on a jaunt through the middle of the Sarthe countryside, passing through the cute villages of Avoise and Asnières-sur-Vègre. Further on is the splendid abbey of Solesmes. Its monks have a worldwide reputation for their Gregorian chants, so attend a service if you have the chance! Afterwards, enjoy one of the famous Sablé-sur-Sarthe biscuits – you'll have really earned it!
Le Mans – Le Grand-Lucé / 30 kilometres
In the centre of Le Mans, take a glance at the magnificent Medieval finery of the Plantagenet City before joining the banks of the Huisne and heading to the abbey of Épau. This majestic monument was built on the request of Berangaria, Queen of England. Having passed through the vast natural space that is the Arche de la Nature, cycle through the countryside until you reach Le Grand-Lucé, whose 18th century château sits next to a magnificent landscaped park.
Le Lude – La Flèche / 20 kilometres
You absolutely must begin this cycle with a visit to the imposing Château du Lude, which was first built seven centuries ago. Then take the Vallée du Loir à vélo route, which has a rather unexpected character here as its follows an old railway. Once you've reached La Flèche, treat yourself to a visit to the zoo, one of France's five largest!
Ruillé-sur-Loir – Château-du-Loir / 25 kilometres
Located along the trail of the Vallée du Loir à vélo, this little circuit among the vines begins in Ruillé-sur-Loir before weaving through vineyards on a search for the passionate winemakers who champion the finesse and elegance of the Jasnières and Coteaux-du-Loir appellations. A perfect opportunity to stop off for a few tastings!