Le Perche is partly in Normandy administratively, but for its inhabitants it is first and foremost Le Perche. Covering mainly Orne and Eure et Loir, it is known as Perche-Gouët in Sarthe and the village of Montmirail. The landscape is one of gently rolling hills, manor houses (around 700 !), abbeys, forests and heavy, dappled grey workhorses (occasionally jet black too !). The woodland is nowadays less dense than in the past and the countryside is dotted with majestic trees and houses of whitish-gold stone with roofs of flat tiles or slate and turrets containing spiral staircases.
Le Perche and its character villages
Le Perche has many villages and small towns with shops and local services. Some of them are recognised character villages like Montmirail at the foot of a castle, Bellême and its aristocratic mansions, Longny which owed its prosperity to the iron industry, and La Perrière, perched on a rocky promontory. Retrou in Eure et Loir is dominated by its Château Saint Jean, while along the RN12, Mortagne au Perche was the birthplace of the philosopher Alain. And we mustn’t forget 2 other Orne villages, Rémalard and Nocé, headquarters of the Parc Naturel Régional at the Manoir de Courboyer.
Throughout the year this network of villages and small towns are venues for local markets, cultural events and festivals. The Musicales de Mortagne et du Perche festival is followed by Septembre Musical de l’Orne, both of which are held in the many listed churches of Le Perche. A large number of artists have settled in Le Perche and opened workshops and galleries. Shops selling chic objects and furniture are often tea rooms or wine bars too, providing an opportunity to put the world to rights with friends and find a bargain at the same time !