La Basse Cour: B&B near Alencon, Normandy
Normandy B&B : the Perche Antiques
Heritage and Antiques Trail in the Perche
Le Perche: Antiques and Brocantes
The Perche is another beautiful area, characterised by manor houses, woodlands and green valleys. The towns of Mortagne, Longny and Remalard are small but this is a region to appreciate for its countryside, manor houses, antique shops and brocantes. This day's outing by car will help you discover the Perche countryside and a number of "brocantes" or antique/bric-a-brac shops. There are also several gardens of note in the Perche if that appeals more.
Le Perche Antique Trail - Mamers, la Perriere, Bellême, Mortagne
Here's just a selection of antique shops and brocantes that you might visit. Most are open Saturdays and Sundays (but beware, some are closed the rest of the time) and a tour of the Perche antique shops and brocantes is ideal if the weather is inclement!
11 rue Sainte-Croix
02 33 83 70 77
50 rue des Déportées
06 82 39 79 33
|Le Grand Cerf
29 rue Sainte-Croix
06 08 56 71 81
|Village de Brocante du Val d'Huisne
Route du Mans
06 86 93 10 15
12 rue Boucicaut
06 81 25 61 78
20 Place de l'Hotel de Ville
02 33 73 56 21 - 06 76 90 61 48
22 rue Boucicaut
02 33 83 03 22
|Manoir de Lormarin
02 33 25 41 89
|La Maison Fassier
21 rue Ville Close
www.lamaisonfassier.fr 06 07 34 36 72
|La Brocante du Breuil
Le Breuil, route de Bonsmoulins
www.lebreuil.pro 06 50 77 25 62
La Maison d'Horbé
La Grande Place
61360 La Perriere
02 33 25 95 44
8, rue Basse
28330 Authon du Perche
06 11 21 25 13
Ferme de La Touche
40, rue de la Touche
02 37 52 23 05
Chauvin Egaze Ghislaine
4 rue de Chartres
02 33 73 61 77
Towns on the Perche route
Leave Ancinnes in the direction of Neufchatel en Saosnois and then turn right on the D311 to Mamers.
Mamers is a busy market town with a well preserved Halle (covered market hall) in the market square, and is also the capital of "rillettes sarthoises", the famous speciality of the Sarthe department, a sort of fresh potted pork (delicious on toast). The Mamers tourist office is located behind the Halles and can provide an audio-guide to the town.
Market day in Mamers is Monday, a good day to visit as it is quite an extensive market - NB shops are shut on Tuesday. The streets around the market place and down to the Eglise Notre Dame are pretty and worth exploring.
Leave Mamers on the D300/D931 to Mortagne au Perche - the road branches off the north ring road near the "plan d'eau' and municipal campsite. After 5 - 6 km turn right in the direction of la Perrière.
This picturesque village is well worth visiting, set on a rocky outcrop over a valley. You can pause for a snack or a drink at the Relais d'Horbe, a brocante shop-cum-bar, on the main square. There is another antique and souvenir shop next door. Go up to the church at the entrance to the village and admire the amazing pan from the rocky outcrop behind it, then walk round the cemetery for more great views. The village is home to several artists and hosts an annual art festival; there is a small sculptor's gallery on the road out of la Perrière.
Leave La Perrière through the forest on the road marked 'Circuit pan' and follow signs to le Gue de la Chaine and Bellême.
Bellême has an upper and a lower town - the upper is the old sector, the lower town is newer but worth visiting. At Bellême you will find not only antique shops but also the chocolaterie 'Bataille' - a must for chocaholics (if you like this you must also visit the chocolatiers of Alençon).
Leave Bellême taking the D7 south towards La Ferté Bernard. At St Germain de la Coudre turn left on the D107 towards le Theil and left again on the D211 to l'Hermitière. There is an excellent cider farm here where you can see how cider, calvados and pommeau are made, plus a good selection of local produce to buy.
Ecomusée du Perche
Take the D636 and the D277 to Ste Gauberge, near St Cyr la Rosière, where you can visit the Ecomusée du Perche and Priory.
After your visit, leave in the direction of Nocé. Just before Nocé on the side road to Dancé there is a brocante based in the splendid Lormarin Manor.
Manoir de Courboyer
Continue through Nocé on the D9 in the direction of Colonard and you will soon find the Manoir de Courboyer on your right - a spectacular Perche Manor House, open to the public, which houses the "Maison du parc du Perche". There is also a cafeteria-restaurant and a good (if expensive) gift shop here; Percheron draught horses are usually to be seen grazing in the adjoining fields.
Leaving the Manor continue on the D9 to Colonard and turn right towards Rémalard on the D920. After 2km turn left on the tiny D111 to Boissy Maugis. Take the D111 down an avenue of tall trees in the direction of Maison Maugis. Through the trees to your right is a superb fortified farm typical of this region; then shortly you will see one of the most lovely manors of the Perche, "Manoir de la Moussetière" at Maison Maugis (not open to public). Bear right, then at the crossroads turn left in the direction of Monceaux au Perche on the D111.
Continue to Longny-au-Perche where you can visit two more antique dealers; especially that of Ghislaine Chauvin in a lovely watermill at the end of rue du Vieux Moulin, which is the street off the main square with the church on your right. On the other side of the square, next to the Mairie, is s street of very pretty medieval houses.
From Longny take the pretty road in the direction of Mortagne-au-Perche, capital of 'boudin noir' (black pudding), where you will find more antique shops in the centre of this little market town. Architecturally the old fort and Hotel Tribunal are worth closer examination - the tourist office has a leaflet describing a short walk around the town.
To return from Mortagne-au-Perche to the Bed & Breakfast either take the N12 towards Alençon - before Alençon you can cut through the forest to Ancinnes via Fresnaye-sur-Chedouet where there is a fascinating museume dedicated to the Tour de France - or for a more relaxed and picturesque route take the D9331 to Mamers and return along the D311 to Neufchatel-en-Saosnois (signposted Alençon) and at Neufchatel turn left to Ancinnes.
If time allows (30 minutes), there is a quirky little free museum in Neufchatel near the church (get a key from any of the local shops or the bar) with an extraordinary collection of clogs, clog-making tools and traditional forestry tools, the main industry of the town in years past.