sarthe (72)
region: pays-de-la-loire

Taking its name from the River Sarthe, the département was created in 1790 following the French Revolution. Today it forms part of the region Pays-de-la-Loire. Where it flows through Le Mans, the river is rather constrained; but elsewhere, northwards to its source near Alençon, it is flanked by beautiful countryside draped with trees and bright in summer with sunflowers. It runs from 250km (155 miles ) from its source in the Orne département to Maine.

The département comprises six separate mini-regions, each with their own characteristics – Pay du Mans lies at the centre; to the east the Pays du Perche Sarthois. Continuing anti-clockwise there is the Pays d’Alençon, la Haute Sarthe, Vallée de la Sarthe and, in the south, the vallée du Loir.

The department has a population in excess of half a million, spread across an area that is largely agricultural. Soft undulating landforms ripple away to the horizons in what must be one of France’s least well-known counties.

Sarthe is south of Normandy and on the southern edge of the Armorican Massif. It is bordered by the departments of Orne, Eure-et-Loir, Loir-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire and Mayenne. The capital of the department is Le Mans, famed for its motoring racing, and as the founding place of the Plantagenet Dynasty.


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Agence départementale de développement économique et touristique de la Sarthe
31 rue Edgar Brandt, ZA Monthéard, 72000 LE MANS
Tel: 02 43 40 22 50

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