Created in 1975, the Regional Nature Park Normandy-Maine covers two regions (Lower Normandy and Pays de la Loire), and four departments: Orne, Manche, Mayenne and Sarthe.


The nature park has a wealth of natural treasures. Rare species can be observed here, namely the freshwater pearl mussel and the white-clawed crayfish. The park is also home to exceptional natural environments such as heathland, bogland, limestone hills or talus slopes. The park begins in Mortain in la Manche and stretches towards Domfront and lower Maine.
The notable difference between this Regional Nature Park and that of Cotentin and Bessin, is that 25% of its surface is covered with woods and forests. The forest of Mortain is part of the Normandy Maine Park.


Remarkable sites...

La Fosse Arthour

“La fosse Arthour” is a 70 metre deep gorge, renowned for its wild and beautiful environment. It is an ideal spot for walking or climbing and is the subject of many legends. It is said that King Arthur, ignoring his obligation to wait until nightfall to see his wife, met his death here.

Holiday Normandy

Holiday Normandy

The cascades of Mortain

The great waterfall is considered to be one of the most important in the West of France. The river Cance falls from a height of 20 meters onto Armorican sandstone, surrounded by dense vegetation.

The small cascade is a shaded green spot, ideal for walks. A staircase leads you into the deep gorge, cut by the Cançon stream; the cool atmosphere, the sound of running water and birdsong are ingredients for a pleasant walk in Normandy.

 

 

“Les roches de Ham” is a natural site to the South of Saint-Lô.


In the heart of Norman bocage country it's a typical landscape, with its farmland criss-crossed by hedges and trees.
“Les roches de Ham” is a 105m high cliff of schist, towering over the river Vire.
From this spot, you will enjoy a splendid panorama over the surrounding countryside and the winding river.

Many trails include “les roches de Ham” in their itinerary. Greenways (voies vertes) are ideal if you fancy exploring the countryside around St-Lo, on foot on a bicycle or on horseback.

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The cliffs of Gréville-Hague, Castel Vendon… the cliffs of la Hague were much enjoyed by the painter Jean-François Millet and are the ideal starting point for a hike along the coastal path.


Having walked through the hamlet Laye, you will reach a spot offering exceptional views over the bay of Ecalgrain. A little further in the distance is the phenomenal Nez de Jobourg (literally translated the “nose” of Jobourg): a headland with cliffs that are at their highest point 128 meters above sea level: the highest in Normandy and among the highest in Europe. Nez de Jobourg is very distinctive: it stretches into the water, dominating the sea and gives one the feeling of standing at the very edge of the world.

Shores and moors of la Hague

At the heart of a Natura 2000 site, the granite cliffs of Jobourg and Voidries provide a spot from which you can enjoy fantastic views over the Channel Islands and the coves and rocky outcrops below.


Le sentier des douaniers: a coastal path

The coastal path offers stunning views as it winds along the coastline of la Manche, from the bay of Mont Saint-Michel to the Cotentin marshlands. The path got its name “sentier des douaniers” because customs (“douaniers” in French) used it to spot frequent smugglers transporting merchandise between the continent and the islands.

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Overlooking the dunes of Hatainville, the rocky outcrops of Carteret headland offer exceptional views over the Channel Islands.


On the rocky plateau, the gorse-covered moors welcome Dartford warblers, ravens and peregrine falcons. Around the lighthouse, dry stone walls (recently restored, as part of a preservation scheme) safely guide the footsteps of visitors along the cliffs of the “Côte des Isles”.

Weekend Normandy

The dunes of Hatainville

Between the headlands of Carteret and le Rozel, the dunes of Hatainville rise at 60 metres, covering cliffs that are over 70,000 years old. Vegetation grows in tiers, from sea level to the top of the dunes. A variety of rare species dress the dunes with colours, changing with the seasons: blue sea lime grass, yellow and brown early spider orchids, purple wild thyme and bright pink pyramidal orchids...


…Nearby

The Canville fresco

The 16th Century frescos where discovered in 1982, when the whitewash was removed from the ceiling of Canville-la-Rocque chapel. It depicts the story of three German pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela.

The beach huts of Carteret

Pretty white and blue beach huts can be found on the beach of la Potinière, in Carteret. Unfortunately, gale force winds often cause damage to our beloved beach cabins.

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The moors of Lessay are a remarkable site, situated to the south of the town. It is a vast stretch of flat land where gorse, heather and grasses grow.

 

Author Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly used the Lessay moors – "the terrible moors" – as a setting for several of his novels. In “Bewitched” (1852), he describes this natural space in the following words:
"The heathland of Lessay is one the most considerable portion of Normandy called Cotentin peninsula. (...) Located between La Haye-du-Puits and Coutances, this Norman desert, where one meets no trees, no houses, no fences, no traces of men or beasts other than those left by the passer-by or the morning herd in the dust, if it was dry or in the wet clay, if it had rained, displayed an immense sense of loneliness and sadness that was not easy to forget. (...) In the opinion of the whole country, it was a dreadful passage... '

Don't miss:

- Abbey of the Trinity

A 11th Century abbey-church: a fine example of Romanesque art, displaying ribbed vaults.

- Classical music festival at the abbey:  “les heures musicales”

Internationally renowned ensembles, such as “Arts Florissants” or “Cercle de l’Harmonie”, propose concerts each year in the abbey of Lessay.

- Lessay fair

The millennial agricultural fair takes place each year on the second week end of September, attracting several thousands of people.

Weekend Normandy