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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Orne

Alençon - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Orne

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.

Additional information

At the junction of the Regional Parks of Perche and Normandy-Maine, Alençon draws its features between rural neighborhood, preserved nature and urbanization. Situated at the confluence of the Sarthe and the Briante, the city has gone from simple ford to antiquity to a city of importance, prefecture of Orne, world renowned for its lace at the point of Alençon. But the story has been hectic. Bourg fortified in XIe century, Alençon knows radiant hours with Marguerite of Navarre in XVe century. The Reformation found its cradle in the city and the Catholics fled from the city. It was in 1665 that Colbert founded the royal lace factories. The legend was born. During the nineteenth century, the city turned towards industrialization and took its economic boom. It is also at this period that many famous people mark the city of their imprint. Beginning with Baudelaire having had his "Fleurs du Mal" printed at Alençon. Then Balzac will stay there to write two of his works. Finally, Alençon saw the birth of Thérèse Martin, better known as Sainte-Thérèse-de-Lisieux.

Things to see and do

You will have a loaded program at Alençon. In the must-see, you must visit the Lace Museum of Alençon. Inspired by the Venice Point, the point of Alençon is a know-how inscribed on the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. This technique requires hours of patience. It takes between 7h and 15h of work to realize a surface equivalent to a postage stamp. Emblematic figure of Alençon, Sainte-Thérèse-de-Lisieux was born in the city and her native house is visited. Another place full of history to discover absolutely, the basilica Notre-Dame of Alençon. Gothic architecture, the imposing edifice classified to the Historic Monuments throne in the city center.

Alençon has 31 classified monuments. You can choose to discover them on guided tours or take a walk through the streets of the city. Among them are the Jesuit church adjoining the college founded by the Jesuits in 1620, the Café of the Renaissance, the interior of which is truly divine and offers a setting of the second renaissance quite exceptional, A castle of the Dukes of Alençon which is actually the entrance pavilion of the castle, and the house of Ozé, a medieval residence built in 1450. To visit Alençon, you can Also opt for biking. Many courses are available. And for fun, treat yourself to a city tour by horse-drawn carriage. This type of visit is available from April 1st to September 30th.

There is no shortage of sports facilities in the city. You can, according to your desires, play a game of golf on the green of the racecourse golf course or enjoy a dip in the swimming pools of the aquatic center of Alençon. The town also has an animal center, a leisure center and a karting circuit. You will have something to distract you!

It is also possible to visit Alençon by train from 15 June to 1 September.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Performance halls

Events and festivities

At the beginning of March, the Culture (s) Festival opens its doors. During a whole month, exhibitions, concerts, films, shows... in short, many cultural events combined with the feminine are proposed to you.

At the beginning of March always, the fair of Alençon Ornexpo invites itself for 6 consecutive days. You can browse different stands in areas as diverse and varied as wine, habitat and gastronomy among others.

From September to December, the market is held in Place du Point-du-Jour.

In July, the World Folkloric Festival takes place with many artists from different countries.

In June, the 24 hours of biodiversity take place. On the program, walks and discoveries in the city.

Exhibition: Marguerite de Lorraine
L'art des Lacellières d'Alençon #2: Sigmund's Carpet
Gaston Floquet: Matter at Work
Exposure: Ornate Cast Iron. Last Metallurgical Act in Normandy
Charlotte Delval Exhibition
Exhibition: Van Ruy - Hémery in the Light, Two
Dr Zhivago
Young Audience Show THE URBAN BALLET
A Frosty Christmas!


House Ozé
House Ozé
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby


Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals



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