Information about the Area and Places to Visit

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Overview of the area

The gîte lies within the western border of the Parc naturel régional Normandie Maine. The area is home to an abundance of wildlife, and it's not uncommon to see kestrels, buzzards and heron, deer, red squirrels and hare. Owls can occasionally be heard from the gîte, and you may catch a glimpse of one or two bats in the garden on summer evenings. Click here for a map of the Normandie Maine National Park, where you will find various features such as walks and cycle routes.

In the heart of the Normandie countryside, and with the northern border of Brittany around half an hours drive away, Le Pressoir is well situated for sightseeing. A car is essential, however with the beautiful scenery and generally quiet roads, the journey can be as enjoyable as the destination!
For lots of information on driving in France Click here

Within 20 minutes of Le Pressoir

The véloscenic is a 450km stretch of well signposted cycling/walking route from Paris to Le Mont St Michel on the west coast of Normandie, and Le Pressoir is just a 10 minute drive from the Bocage Normand section of the route, at Le Neufbourg. This section is mostly greenway and well surfaced disused railway line. From the ample free parking either side of the road where the route crosses, you can choose to head west in the direction of the coast, passing through historical Mortain (a few minutes from your starting point), and onto the popular market town of St. Hilaire-du-Harcouët (+16kms). From there the route continues to the pretty town of Ducey (+19kms), and on to Le Mont St Michel (+31kms). Alternatively, you could venture east from Le Neufbourg, toward the medieval town of Domfront (31kms), and on toward the picturesque Bagnoles de l'Orne (+21kms).
Le Neufbourg has a cycle hire shop, and a very good English speaking restaurant. If you are bringing your own bikes, Le Pressoir has a cycle stand for up to 4 bikes in the gîte's private parking area. 

La Fosse Arthour – Allegedly the final resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. A very pretty woodland park area with lake and stream, a variety of walks and a deep gorge making it popular with rock climbers. Plenty of free parking.

Chaulieu – This small village, 10 minutes drive from Le Pressoir, is the highest point in the department of Manche, and boasts a viewing tower with a 360° panorama where, on a clear day, you can see Le Mont St Michel. Free parking.

Mortain – Great walks around the area of the twin cascades, and also up to Hill 314 (a significant German strong hold during WWII), and the panoramic view from the site of La Petite Chapelle. Click here for map.

Ger Regional Pottery Museum – The commune of Ger was once well known for its pottery industry, employing 700 workers in the 19th century. The museum is located on an authentic site with three large tunnel ovens, buildings depicting the industry, and a gift shop where you can pick up some original souvenirs.

Lonlay l'Abbaye – Visit the Notre Dame church and grounds, the famous biscuit factory, and buy ice-cream direct from the local farm where it's made.

Domfront – Medieval town with castle ruins, narrow cobbled streets, an 11th century church and a 20th century church of unusual architecture. A medieval festival is held every other year (next one 5th and 6th August 2017). Don't forget to try your hand at the Domfront treasure hunt - pop into the Domfront Tourist Information Centre for the list of questions. A weekly market is held on Friday mornings.

 

Further Afield

Bagnoles de l'Orne – Picturesque spa town, centred around a lake, thermal spa, casino, shops and restaurants. Markets held on Tuesday and Saturday in the marketplace, and on Wednesday and Friday at the château. Bagnoles is 40 minutes from the gîte.

Dinan – Beautiful old town with cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses, shops and restaurants. Take a pleasant walk along the ramparts for great views, learn about the town's history at the museum in the castle, or visit the attractive port. Dinan is an hour and a half from the gîte.

Fougères – The history of this 1000 year old medieval fortress is brought to life by the audio guide and visual aids. The castle is set in attractive surroundings, with nearby restaurants. Fougères is 55 minutes from the gîte.

Bayeux – An historic, attractive town centre with plenty of shops, restaurants and museums, including of course the famous Bayeux Tapestry. Bayeux is an hour and a half from the gîte.

 

On and around the Normandie & Brittany Coastline

Le Mont St Michel – The pride of Normandy is approximately an hour from the gîte. Standing majestically on it's granite outcrop in the bay of its namesake, this 11th century abbey can be seen at various points en-route from miles around. The Normandie Tourisme website aptly describes it as "A magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery, the Mont St Michel counts among France's most stunning sights.".

A self-contained medieval city of narrow streets lined with quaint old houses, hotels, restaurants and shops, all encompassed within its medieval walls. And of course, the 350 step climb to the top is graciously rewarded with the sight of the magnificent Abbey, and the beautiful view of the surrounding bay.

Arguably even more delightful at night, when the magical hue of Le Mont is further enhanced by its illuminations, being lit all year round from night fall to midnight.

Large parking area and visitor centre 2.5km from Le Mont. The parking fee includes access to the shuttle bus from the car park to Le Mont, or walk the new causeway if you prefer, watching Le Mont grow before your eyes as you approach. Alternatively, make the journey between the car park and Le Mont extra special by taking the horse-drawn carriage (additional fee applies). Click here for up to date parking prices 

High tides in the bay are an impressive sight, reaching up to 12 metres on one or two days each month. Click here for dates, times and estimated heights of high tides around the bay. 

D Day Landing Beaches – Gain a fascinating insight into the events of 6th June 1944 by visiting the museums, memorials, cemeteries, and of course the beaches themselves. When visiting Arromanches, the  360° cinema is a must see. Approximately an hour and a half from the gîte. Click here for a map of related places of interest.  

Granville – Coastal town boasting the Christian Dior museum, and Boat trips around the bay of Le Mont St Michel, or to the Chausey Isles. Granville is just over an hour from the gîte.

St Malo – Best known historically as a pirate town, and today as a busy ferry port, this ancient walled city has something to satisfy all interests. From museums, famous landmarks, cathedral and ramparts, to parks and gardens, sandy beaches, aquarium, shopping, and restaurants. Approximately an hour and a half from the gîte.

 

All Things Horsey

Haras du Pin National Stud – Known as the 'Versailles for horses'. There are optional guided tours, a discovery trail, and a parade of horses every Thursday afternoon from June to mid September. The stud is approximately 75 minutes from the gîte.

La Michaudière – Have lunch in the restaurant before watching the largest equestrian show in Normandie (or arrive just for the show itself), then walk around the farm to see the saddlery, exhibitions and gardens. Approximately 35 minutes from the gîte.

Trotting Races – The Hippodrome at Vire is our closest trotting race track (35 minutes from the gîte), with approximately 10 meetings each year.

Horse riding – Trek around the bay of Le Mont St Michel.

 

Markets & Shopping

Sourdeval – Tuesday morning weekly market

Villedieu-les-Poêles – Tuesday morning weekly market

Ducey – Tuesday morning weekly market

St Hilaire-du-Harcouët – Wednesday morning weekly market (largest in the area)

Flers – Shopping, and weekly market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings (Saturday includes a very popular fish market)

Vire – Shopping, and weekly market on Friday morning

La Ferté Macé – Shopping, and Thursday morning weekly market.

Bayeux – Shopping, and Saturday morning market

Saint Lô – Shopping, and Saturday morning market

On Sundays there are village car boot sales held all over the region, and this can be a great way to explore the countryside via small villages that may otherwise be missed.

 

Sports & Activities

Rock climbing at Fosse Arthour within 15 minutes of the gîte.

Go-Karting just a 10 minute drive from the gîte.

Bungee Jump, Giant Zipline, Giant Swing, and Luge! Viaduc de la Souleuvre is approximately a 50 minute drive from Le Pressoir.

Horse riding around the bay of Le Mont St Michel.

Tandem Parachute jumps at Granville, a little more than an hour from the gîte.

Helicopter and Microlight flights. See Le Mont St Michel and the bay from the air.

Watersports: Yachting, Windsurfing, Sandsurfing and Kayaking at Granville and the bay of Le Mont St Michel

Golf de Vire, La Dathée Approximately 30 minutes from the gîte.

Andaine Golf Club, Bagnoles de l'Orne  Approximately 40 minutes from the gîte.

Domaine du Golf de Clécy Approximately 50 minutes from the gîte.

Golf Club de Granville Approximately 1 hour from the gîte.

For a full list of links to websites mentioned here (and more), see our Links page.