Places to Visit and things to do

Our local town: Gorron - restaurants - Markets - walking - cycling - Cheese, cider and calvados - Battle for Normandy

Below are places to visit and things to do in the area.

We are able to assist you with any questions you might have and can recommend these places to you. 


Click on a location photo to link you to the Tourist Office website

The local tourist Bocage-Mayennais is open throughout the year with offices in Gorron,

Colombiers-Du-Plessis, Ambrière-les-Vallées and Pontmain.

Click on logo to take you to the Mayenne Tourism website



A medieval town and castle on a hill with its unusual church and steeple. With numerous restaurants and walks along the river.



Hill town with many restaurants and a spectacular walk to the waterfall. 
Famous for the Battle of Mortain/Hill 314 if interested in WW2 history.

Mont St. Michel

Mont St. Michel Normandy

The regions most famous landmark standing alone in the bay. Along the 
coast are many seafood restaurants serving fresh oysters and mussels.

Lassay les Chateaux

Lassay Les Chateaux

Small photogenic medieval town with a 14th century castle. Classified as a Petite Cité de Caractère. 



Famous for its well preserved castle and botanical gardens. The town has excellent shopping and a Saturday food market.

bagnoles de l'orne

Bagnoles Sur Orne

The town is famous for its thermal waters attracting visitors to enjoy the spa,  restaurants, casino and golf course.


Largest town in the area with the River Mayenne flowing through it. Good  shopping and an excellent food market on Saturday morning in the old town centre.



Capital of the region with the River Mayenne flowing below the castle through the town centre.



A delightful small medieval town with a castle perched on the hill. Wonderful walk down and across the river circling the town with great views of the castle.

cancale - Brittany coast










Coastal town on the Bay of Mont St. Michel. Famous for its oysters and mussels and its numerous seafood restaurants. North of the town along the Atlantic coast are beautiful beaches in between rocky coves.



jublains - pays de La Loire










A Gallo-Roman city town established two thousand years ago. Visit the Roman ruins and the archaeological museum housing the artefacts discovered on the site. 



St. Hilaire-du-Harcouët

St Hilaire-du-Harcouët market

If you are wishing to stock up with local produce the excellent food market is held on a Wednesday morning.


granville - normandy coast










An old fishing port on the West Normandy coast. Famous for its 5 day annual carnival in mid-February and the childhood home of couturier, Christian Dior. The house is now a musuem open to the public.



saint-Céneri-le-gérei - normandy










Recognised as one of Frances most beautiful villages located in the Orne. Narrow streets to discover artists studios, the church and the tiny chapel du Petit Céneri standing alone in a bend in the river.

AmbriÈres les-Vallées

Enjoy lunch by the River Varenne after a walk around the lake and the attractive town centre.

Vitré - the gate way to Brittany










A medieval city known as the gateway to Brittany and labelled a 'City of Art and History'. The château is a medieval masterpiece and is a pleasant city to stroll around the ancient streets, with many shops and restaurants.


brocantes -flea markets / antiques










There are many brocantes in the area. Some far better than others and not over priced. Overtime we have visited most of them, so happy to advice you on those worth visiting. 


Pontmain cathedral

Pontmain Cathedral

In 1871 it is claimed some children saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary. A year later the Bishop of Laval recognised this. Hence a cathedral constructed in this tiny village. 

St. malo - north brittany

On the north Brittany coast, a major port for centuries and one of the world's greatest walled cities.  Walk the battlements surrounding the city and enjoy the shops and restaurants within its walls.

Rennes - east brittany

This university city is the capital of Brittany with a historic centre and one of France's largest gastronomic food markets held each Saturday.

Le Mans - pays de la Loire

Pontmain Cathedral

Famous for its 24 hour Motor race held in June. A fabulous museum charts the history of the historical race. The city also has a ancient centre with a Gothic cathedral.

Cheese/Cider/Calvados experiences

This region of France is famous for its Cheese, Cider and Calvados and you can visit the orchards, learn about the production and enjoy tasting the local produce. For more details visit the Mayenne Tourism site here.


Essential guide to Normandy Cheeses

The Route of the Pear Orchards

Calvados producers in the area 

WALKING / Cycling / kayaking / horse riding

Based at La Martinière there are numerous activities to enjoy. The number of possible cycle routes and walks are endless. Helen is a keen walker and can suggest a wide variety of walks with you. We have very quiet backroads through rolling countryside, So perfect for cycling where you will pass cows grazing, cider orchards and small villages where you can stop to eat and explore.


Not far from us at Domfront is the Route Véloscénie, a dedicated traffic free cycle route from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel. Starting from Domfront the route to Mont-Saint-Michel is 80km. 

Click on the photo to view the Véloscénie website. 

We can arrange bicycle rental.

We have secure storage to keep your bikes over night, whilst you have a good nights sleep ready for your next day adventure. Should you wish to go kayaking, horse                                                                                                                                                         riding etc. please ask and we can arrange places you can                                                                                                                                                   go to do these activities. 


Gorron is our local market town, 7 km from La Martinière.


You will find a variety of shops which should cover your needs.


Supermarket and Fuel Station - Super U

Mini Supermarket in the main street

Small food market Wednesday mornings

Banks with ATM - Credit Mutuel and Credit Agricole

2x Boulangerie



Bar Tabac

Newsagent and Tabac

Estate Agents

DIY Store - La Maison.Fr 

Self service Laundrette - between Super U and the fuel station

Bars and Restaurants

Small gift, Art and Clothing Shops


Indoor Swimming Pool

Doctors Surgery





markets in the area

Generally markets are open from 8.00am to 2.00pm.

We have been to many of the markets listed, but not all.

Some markets are small the ones we recommend are larger, with a good variety of stalls.

Markets marked with a * we recommend.

Rennes ** market (1 hr 15mins. drive) is France’s 2nd largest gastronomic market and highly recommended


MONDAY -        Mayenne

TUESDAY -        Ernée   Landivy   Laval*   Villedieu-les-Poêles*                                       Sourdeval    Bagnole-de-L’Orne

WEDNESDAY - Gorron   St. Hilaire–Du-Harcouet* 

                           Lassay le Chateau   Laval *  Flers

THURSDAY -    Le Teilleul   Chateau Gontier

FRIDAY -           Domfront*   Fougerolles-du-Plessis   Vire

SATURDAY -     Fougères*   Rennes**   Ambrières-les-Vallées

                           Bagnole-de-L’Orne   Laval*  Mortain   Mayenne


If like us, you enjoy great food, we can recommend a number of restaurants, bistros and cafés in the area to suit all tastes and budgets. In our gîtes manuals, we list a selection of restaurants with a brief outline of what type of food they serve, plus price range and a telephone number. If you would like us to make a reservation for you, please ask.


For food lovers we have discovered Michelin* and Fine Dining restaurants if you are looking for classic French cuisine. Travel towards the Normandy and Brittany coast to find the freshest sea food. Oysters, mussels etc. which were only collected that morning. For an excellent lunch at bargain prices, go to where the locals enjoy their 'Plat de Jour'. Usually costing 14€ per person, offering 3 or 4 course lunch including wine or cider. Or you perhaps you just fancy a pizza or galettes and crêpes. 



restaurants we have discover and can recommend

The list below details restaurants we have discovered and we can recommend. A brief description of each restaurant, where located and approx. drive time to reach. Often in France opening days and times can be sporadic, so would recommend you call ahead to reserve a table. We are happy to make the call for you. Suggested Price Budget is marked to give you an idea of cost of lunch/dinner with drinks. 

€ Low Prices €€€€ High Prices. 

CHEZ VERO - LESBOIS: Small french restaurant in Lesbois village close to La Martiniere. Daily Plat du Jour and Pizzas. Generally open lunchtime and some evenings. Prices - €   0243 005476

LE PAPILLON - GORRON: English owned bar/restaurant serving traditional French Plat du Jour and a la carte. Lunch and dinner. Closed on Mondays. Prices - €€   0243 086367

CREPERIE DE MENHIR - GORRON: Small creperie in the town centre near the Mairie. Serving Gallettes, crepes and a small a la carte menu. Check opening days. Prices - €€   0243 039054

CUISINE DE BUBBA - GORRON: Excellent pizzas and kebabs. Opposite the Mairie in the town centre. Only open Thursday. Friday and Saturday. Prices - €   0986 116818

HOTEL DE FRANCE GRILLE - DOMFRONT: Steaks and other french specialities cooked on an open wood fire. Open all day, but closed on Mondays. Very popular at weekends. Prices - €/€€   0233 385144

L’ECHAUGUETTE - DOMFRONT: Pizzas, a variety of salads, fish and meat dishes. Open all week except Mondays. Nice small terrace in summer to eat out the back. Prices - €€   0233 377171

AU BAR NORMAND - DOMFRONT: Famous little bar with small terrace opposite the church. Good selection of beers and wines. Serves excellent Thai curries/snacks. Prices - €/€€   0233 385129

LE RELAIS DE LA VARENNE - AMBRIERES-LES-VALLEES: Newly renovated restaurant with excellent position beside the river. Pizzas, Steaks, Burgers, Pasta, a broad menu choice. Prices - €€   0243 049054

LE LION D’OR - FOUGEROLLES-DU-PLESIS: Traditional French Plat du Jour lunch time menu. Salad buffet, choice of mains and dessert includes wine/cider. Only opens lunch time. Prices - €   0243 055376

LA VERTE CAMPAGNE - ST.HILAIRE-DU-HARCOUET: Excellent Plat du Jour with cider and wine included. A good place for lunch after visiting the market on a Wednesday. Prices - €   0233 6988183

COM A LA MAISON: LA FERRIERE-AUX-ETANGS: Family run restaurant. Traditional Plat du Jour menu. Great terrace area with tables under the trees beside the lake. Lunch/evenings Prices - € 0233 144872

LE BRISTOT - FOUGERES: Small bistro restaurant close to the theatre. A broad French menu with pizzas and burgers or escargots, foie gras, Rognons de Veau etc. Prices - €€   0299 995904

LE MOULIN DE JEAN - CUVES: Perhaps our favourite restaurant. An old Water Mill in a great setting, and depending on the season it is possible to eat indoors or out on the terrace. Michelin quality a la carte menu. Prices - €€€/€€€€  40 minutes drive   0233 483929

LA MERE CHAMPLAIN - CANCALE: If visiting Mont St. Michel and the Brittany coast this is one of our favourite seafood restaurants over looking the bay. Great choice of Fresh oysters, mussels, crabs and lobster plus catch of the day. To get a table in the open terrace windows you will need to make a reservation. Very busy at weekends. Prices - €€€/€€€€ 1hr15mins drive   0299 896004

LE QUERRIEN - CANCALE: Another of our favourite restaurants which always has a great atmosphere. Great seafood plus a variety of meat dishes and some great desserts. Again very busy at weekends. Prices - €€€/€€€€ 1hr15mins drive   0299 896456

LA FORGE - FONTAINE-DANIEL: A la Carte restaurant with nice terrace over looking the village green and a small lake. Plat du Jour choice at lunchtime. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Prices - €€€ 30 minutes drive   0243 003485

AUBERGE DE LA MINE - LA FERRIERE-AUX-ETANGS: Michelin * Restaurant about 30 minutes from La Martiniere. Unfortunately no outdoor terrace. Choice of A la Carte with as many courses you should wish to choose or the 8 course Taster menu. Superb quality from Chef Nobis  Prices - €€€/€€€€   0233 669110

LA PAUSE DES GENETS - GENETS: Located on the bay of Mont St. Michel. Quirky deco inside with a beautiful Asian themed garden to enjoy lunch or dinner. Excellent modern French cuisine with an Asian touch. Prices - €€€  One hour drive   0233 897238

AUBERGE DU GRAND GOUSIER - DOMFRONT: Centre of town near the Church and Palace de Justice. Plat du Jour or a la carte choice. Outdoor terrace. Generally open all week except Mondays.

Prices - €€/€€€ 15 minutes drive   0233 383725

AUBERGE DE LA FOSSE ARTHOUR - FOSSE ARTHOUR: Lovely restaurant in a great setting. Located in a gorge surrounded by trees with a rushing stream alongside. Outdoor terrace to enjoy lunch or dinner alongside the stream. Also offers drinks/snacks if enjoying a walk through the woods and around the lake. Lunch/Dinner Prices - €€€ 20 minute drive   0971 722695

CAFE DE SAINT-MALO - ST.MALO: There are so many restaurants in the old walled city, but this one we have returned to a number of times. Wide selection of seafood and meat dishes a la carte or from their Menu du Jour. Prices - €€€ 1hr20mins drive   0299 564675

D-day and the Battle for Normandy

The Normandy region was made infamous on the 6th June 1944 with the D-Day landings, the following Battle for Normandy which ended when the Allies crossed the River Seine at the end of August 1944.

The whole area around, but mainly north of La Martinière was the battle ground of the Allied Offensive and German defence. 

The D-Day beaches of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword are about 2 hours north from here. Throughout the region there are numerous museums to visit covering different facets of the sea and airborne landings, the cemeteries for both Allies and Germans and numerous routes to follow to discover the history of this important period in history.  

I am very interested in military history and will discuss and assist you to discover places to visit.