The town of Alençon, once the seat of the Dukes of Normandy and today the capital of the Orne, has been famous for its unique lace pattern since the 17th century. It also boasts a rich architectural and cultural heritage.
Alençon's old quarter, a source of inspiration for famous French novelist Honoré de Balzac, is dotted with half-timbered houses and mansions with wrought-iron balconies, making it a lovely place to explore. Among the must-see places of interest are Notre-Dame church with its superb early 16th-century Flamboyant Gothic-style porch; the Maison d'Ozé, the Duke of Alençon's former residence, with its conservation orchard; the Château des Ducs and its machicolated towers; and the birth house of St Theresa of Lisieux and its chapel. Another leading attraction in the town is the fine art and lace museum (Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle) housed in the old Jesuit college and home to sumptuous collections of lace and paintings.
A colourful market selling delicious produce takes place every Thursday and Saturday morning on Place de la Magdeleine at the foot of Notre-Dame church.