Taking its name from the river which flows on its way to join the Loire at Angers, Sarthe’s rural attractions and historical gems are often overshadowed by the association of its capital, Le Mans, with motor sports.
Sarthe is situated between the Atlantic coast and the Parisian Bassin. To the north, the countryside becomes similar to the rolling hills of Normandy, to the south are the sprawling vineyards of the Loire valley. Sarthe's three main rivers and 465 streams make it a fisherman's paradise.
Most people come for one of two main attractions - the abbey at Solesmes, for its Gregorian singing, and the 24-hour motorcar race at 'Le Mans'.
If you have the time, perhaps you'd care to discover some of the remaining 200 castles, manors, abbeys and cathedrals that scatter this department.