We invite you to explore this list of our favorite things to see and do around the Chateau. This list is far from comprehensive. If there is anything your group is interested in doing, we would be happy to set up an alternative activity or outing through our concierge service. Transportation can also be arranged by our concierge.
Family Fun in Normandy
Cap Orne Water Park in L’Aigle
Swimming Lake in Soligny La Trappe
Haras de la Chéchinière in Soligny La Trappe offers hacks out in the ancient Forest of la Trappe. The owner is very friendly and she can arrange hacks out according to your expertise.
Les Compagnons du Vent for a bird’s eye view of the rich Norman countryside take a hot air balloon ride and grab some great pictures en route. A wonderful way to see the rich diversity of the bocage and you can even take off from the Chateau.
Ouest Karting in Aunay-les-bois, 15 km from the Chateau
Smileball in St Martin des Champs
For more activities in the Orne, we recommend looking through the Orne Tourisme website.
Dining in the Orne
L’Auberge des Peintres is a good place to dine. It serves traditional French food. Book a table on the terrace and watch the world go by.
Le Tribunal is a very good restaurant that regularly features Black Pudding on the menu, so if you don’t fancy cooking it yourself treat yourself to lunch or dinner here.
Another excellent restaurant in the area is the Pieds dans L’Eau - you will love the setting and the quality and freshness of their meals.
Le Tete au Loup in Haras du Pin between the Mont Ormel Memorial and the Cathedral of Sées.
Rive Gauche in Alençon.
Trips & Tours
The village of Camembert has a museum that explains the history of the cheese and is worth a visit. From there you can drive on to Livarot and stop off at the Graindorge Cheese Village where you can watch the different steps of the cheese making process and enjoy a cheese tasting.
Following the cider route (it covers 45K) is a lovely way to discover the area as it takes you through winding, tree lined country lanes, cider orchards and through villages of half-timbered houses all decked out in their Sunday best. Dotted along the way are the small mixed farms that produce cider, pommeau and calvados.
Enjoy visiting gardens? Les Jardins de Pays D’Auge in Cambremer is classified as one of France’s ‘Jardin Remarquable’. It is open weekdays May - September.
The Haras du Pin houses a permanent exhibition which explains the role that horses have played in local life over the centuries. Every Thursday afternoon the Haras puts on demonstrations on an equine theme- so you can admire the Percheron and many other French breeds as they are put through their paces.
“The Loire Valley castles are as diverse as they are numerous (over 300), from Chenonceau spanning the river Cher, Chambord with its outrageous and unnecessary scale, Azay-le Rideau seemingly floating on the river Indre, Amboise with its Leonardo de Vinci connection, Cande where Edward Prince of Wales married Wallis Simpson plus many with beautiful gardens such as at Villandry and Chaumont-sur-Loire and a few, like Le Grand Pressigny and Oiron housing museums and galleries - definitely something for everyone!”
“Mont Saint-Michel, in the middle of the bay, welcomes every year nearly 2.5 million visitors , pilgrims or tourists. At the entrance of this medieval city, the former Corps de Garde des Bourgeois, facing the guns, houses the Tourist Office . Passing the Porte du Boulevard, then Le Roy with a drawbridge, you will find the Grande Rue with its museums, shops and houses from the 15th and 16th centuries (the drawbridge passage also leads to your right, at the ramparts path).”
Normandy - History through the ages.
Just 35 minutes from Courtomer, in the exact location occupied by the Memorial of Mont Ormel, the ultimate and most bitter battle of Normandy took place. As you drive to the memorial from the chateau take the route that leads you through the village of Exme. On entering the village stop at the look- out point on the left from where you can admire the views over the un- spoilt countryside.
The town of Falaise is also nearby, the Civilian museum here gives another insight into the devastating effects of the war and the D Day landings - this time on the local population. Falaise is also home to William the Conqueror’s castle which has been entirely restored. Visitors are taken back in history through a mix of au- dio-visual presentations, interactive screens and replicas of period fur- nishings which help to explain and reveal life in the castle during the 12th and 13th centuries.
The D-Day beaches are also only a 2 hour drive from the Chateau where historical tours, museums, restaurants, and shops are located. Perfect for a full day trip.
Antiques, artisans, and quaint French towns.
Just a short drive south from the Chateau lies the lovely old town of Bellême. From Thursdays to Sundays the village comes alive. It is home to several artisans and some lovely antique shops. If the steep inclines are too much for you, you can book a tour in a horse drawn carriage - details are available from the tourist office. Bellême, like most country towns, hosts a weekly market so Thursday morning is the time to go and try out your French, chat with the local producers and discover some wonderful local food. For golfers the course at Bellême is rated in the top 100 in France, it is rarely busy and green fees are modest.
If you enjoy picturesque Norman villages you will enjoy La Perrier - just next door to Bellême. To enjoy the scenic route, take the road that goes through Gué de la Chaine which winds its way across the hillside over- looking the forest.
Just a 30-minute drive from Courtomer lies a magical area where time seems to have stood still - the Perche. Mortagne au Perche is a lovely old town, which was once the capital of the area. It’s fine buildings and quaint back streets deserve to be discovered on foot and on Saturday morning the town bursts into life when it hosts a very busy market.
Just north of the Château lies an area of France called the Pays D’Auge - famous for its cheeses, cider and colombage (timbered houses). Look- ing at a map of the area you could think that you are reading a menu rather than a map, as this is the home of Camembert, Pont L’Eveque and Livarot, much-loved French cheeses from villages of the same name.
Saint-Céneri le Gérei is a pretty village lying on the river Sarthe just a 40-minute drive from Courtomer. Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France it is well worth a visit. During the summer, the village hosts a number of festivals. Just next door is a rather lovely garden Les Jardins de la Mansonière. This garden was voted one of the favourite French gardens of 2013, ‘Le Jardin Préféré des Français’, by the French television programme France 2.
The village is a great place to shop and of course to eat. Our two favourite restaurants are Café Forges and the Michelin starred Pave d’Auge. The Cider route is especially lovely in late Spring when the orchards are decked in apple blossom or in October when the trees are ladened with apples of all colours and sizes.
Just an hour’s drive west of Courtomer lies the elegant spa town of Bagnoles de L’Orne, nestling around a lake in the middle of the forest of Andaines. If you fancy stopping off en route the road leads you past cider and goat cheese producers, many of which are open to the public so you can enjoy a tasting and buy their produce. The town is still famous for the healing powers of its waters but also acts as a base for outdoor pursuits - walking, riding and cycling.
O Gayot is our go-to restaurant in Bagnoles - the service is friendly and the food is freshly prepared in their kitchens. If you like Tripe the chef recently won a national award for his and you can buy it ready prepared to eat at home from the little delicatessen next to the restaurant.