The magnificent 2,400-hectare state-owned Bellême forest, located in Le Perche Regional Nature Park north of the town of Bellême, is famous for its majestic oak and beech trees, and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Lying in a green setting in the heart of the forest is Etang de la Herse lake, whose banks make an ideal spot for relaxing or having a picnic, and are the departure point for various walking trails.
As well as being a favourite destination for walkers, Bellême is also loved by mushroom enthusiasts, professional and amateur, as its undergrowth is home to a multitude of species. Every year from late September to early October, the Mycologiades Internationales de Bellême event organises picking trips in the forest for novices and experts, talks, workshops and a display of the mushrooms collected by the participants.
Walkers should make a point of going to admire the Chêne de l'École, an oak tree growing near the charming village of La Perrière. This fantastic 300-year-old oak stands at a height of over 40 metres!
The small town of Bellême at the forest's edge is worth the trip for its built heritage, which includes mansion houses, a 15th-century porch and a Classical-style church.