Located south-west of Le Mans, between Le Mans, Angers and Tours, La Flèche in the Loir valley offers something for all the family. La Flèche Zoo spans 34 acres, home to 1,200 animals (including polar bears, grizzly bears, elephants, giraffes, penguins and sea lions), with daily shows and animations.
It is close to Château du Lude – the most northerly of the Loire Chateaux – as well as the Benedictine Solesmes Abbey, where visitors can watch monks singing vespers. Or for the nautically inclined, hire a boat to cruise along the languid Sarthe River – no licence needed – it takes four days to reach Le Mans.
Three new, super-stylish safari-style lodges have been added at La Flèche Zoo, overlooking the Madagascan lemurs. Adding to the four lodges which opened in April, 2013, spend a night at the zoo in a choice of company from Arctic wolves, to white tigers or leaping lemurs. Each lodge has oversized windows that look out onto the enclosures, with a master suite, children’s bunk room, bathroom and outdoor shower and a Pergola for al fresco dining.
Price: La Flèche Zoo (Tel: 02 43 48 19 14; www.safari-lodge.fr) offers one night half board from £110pp based on 4 sharing, including a 2-day zoo pass.
Le Gentleman is a brand new boutique hotel which opened this autumn. Situated in elegant townhouse dating back to 1725, it has been sympathetically refurbished with 14 rooms. There is a hidden garden for summer and a cosy lounge with a log fireplace for the colder months.
Price: Le Gentleman (02 43 45 89 36; www.legentleman.fr) offers rooms from £80-115 based on 2 sharing.
Le Tertre Rouge, 72200 LA FLÈCHE