Orne holiday rental homes, France - Gites Orne

Orne is a department in the northwest of France, named after the river Orne. The department is in the Lower-Normandy region, its rural landscape ensures one in five of the population is involved in farming. The Orne is known for its meadows, orchards, forests of oak and beech trees, rivers, half-timbered houses, and traditional farmhouses - there is much to admire when staying in an Orne self catering holiday house or gite.

Alençon, the capital of the department, is located on the River Sarthe. This pretty prosperous town was once the lace capital of Europe and still has a lace school today. Historic buildings include the gothic churches of Notre-Dame and Saint Léonard and many antiquated houses.

The fortified town of Bellème set high up in the forest and beautiful countryside has narrow streets secreting away 17th and 18th century houses. The larger charming country town of Montagne au Perche has a 16th Century hospital cloister, houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, and is known for its world famous ‘boudin’ – sausage! Can you resist during your holiday in the Orne?

Camembert, the village where Camembert cheese is made, is located in Orne. The village consists of the Cheese Museum (in the shape of a Camembert cheese), the Town Hall, the Church of St Anne, the Ferme Président (a museum) and Beamoncel (the house where Marie Harel, the creator of camembert cheese lived).

Domfront, birthplace of Eleanor of Aquitaine, with its cobbled streets and half timbered houses has an 11th century watchtower and 11/12th century church, both with superb views of the surrounding countryside. Some of the original ramparts, towers and moats have survived.

The 19th century thermal resort of Bagnoles de l’Orne retains all the authenticity of the Belle Epoque with its lake, Casino and Grand Hotel.

When you rent a self catering holiday cottage in Orne, why not visit the Equestrian Centre at Haras du Pin? Named 'a horse's Versailles' for its grandeur, the Haras du Pin is well known for its horse shows and dressage events.

Also head to the Parc Regional du Normandie-Maine for information on walks, riding, climbing and canoeing in France's largest national park.  Gastronomy is another good reason to come here with creams, apple & pear brandy, and cider all proving an irresistible temptation!

Travelling to your Orne holiday rental home, France

By road: Alençon is linked by the A28 auto route with the nearby cities of Le Mans to the south (Sarthe) and Rouen (Haute-Normandie) to the north. The A88 auto route is due for completion by the end of 2010 and will link the A28 just north of Alençon to the coastal port of Caen. It takes 2 hours to reach Paris from Alençon and an 1hr 30 from the port Caen. By rail: TGV from Le Man – Paris is 55 minutes and 2hr 40 from Lille to Le Mans. A local service from Le Mans to Alençon is just 35 mins. By air: Tours is the nearest airport, 100 kilometres away from the Orne offering Ryan air flights from Stansted.