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05 April 2024  |  Architecture

The medieval charm of Sainte-Suzanne

Sainte-Suzanne is perched on a rocky peak overlooking the Erve valley from 70 meters, between Laval and Le Mans. Sainte-Suzanne is best known as the medieval city which defied William the Conqueror. The rich heritage of this era which is still visible does not constitute the oldest witnesses to the history of Sainte-Suzanne. The Erves dolmen (the oldest monument in Mayenne) as well as recent archaeological excavations reveal the origins of the site dating from five to six centuries BC!

Let’s take a closer look at the charming village of Sainte-Suzanne.

The history and heritage of Sainte-Suzanne

The history of Sainte-Suzanne dates back to medieval times, when the village was a strategic stronghold perched on a rocky promontory. Its castle, built in the 11th century, testifies to its military and political importance over the centuries. The ramparts, which are still well preserved today, as well as the imposing watchtowers and the remains of the fortifications, recall the time when Sainte-Suzanne was an impregnable stronghold.

Beautiful landscapes and heritage

Sainte-Suzanne is not only attractive for its historical heritage, it also offers spectacular panoramas of the surrounding valleys. Visitors can take the hiking trails that wind around the village, offering stunning views of the lush Pays de la Loire countryside. In all seasons, the surrounding nature is adorned with changing colors, creating a living picture that enchants walkers.

Middle Ages and Renaissance castle

Behind its ramparts, Sainte-Suzanne is said to have resisted Guilhaume the Conqueror. Built on the site of the old medieval fortress, the Renaissance castle is the work of Guilhaume Fouquet de la Varenne, general controller of posts. It now houses the Mayenne heritage and architecture interpretation center.

To see and do in Sainte-Suzanne and nearby

The Great Mill

Former mill of the lords of Sainte-Suzanne, the Grand Moulin is today a paper mill, run by a master papermaker.

Château de Sainte-Suzanne

You can freely enter the courtyard of the castle, according to the opening hours of the CIAP (Architecture and Heritage Interpretation Center). You can access the Romanesque keep and the castle's sheepfold, where exhibitions often take place. Take the time to admire the view of the Coëvrons from the ramparts. And for those who wish to pretend they are the lord of Sainte-Suzanne, climb to the top of the keep, accessible free of charge, for a breathtaking panorama! If you are a group, we invite you to contact the castle for a visit.

Belvedere of the Tertre Ganne site

During the Hundred Years' War, the site was used by the English to open breaches in the ramparts of the fortified city of Sainte-Suzanne. Indeed, it is the most beautiful view you can have of the castle and the city of Sainte-Suzanne.

Belvederes perched above magnificent landscapes or large panoramas opening onto nature and its spectacular landscapes, promises of escape and change of scenery... These proposals invite you to find appeasement in simple contemplative pleasure, to reveal the place of man in nature, or even to overcome your vertigo!

Large squares set up within villages, belvederes are often open spaces, overlooking grandiose landscapes: valleys, mountains, rivers and the sea. The Most Beautiful Villages of France when perched on their promontory often offer beautiful views not to be missed during your visits. Discover some of them here.

Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei - Near Sainte-Suzanne

15 kilometers southwest of Alençon, located in a loop of the Sarthe spanned by a small stone bridge, Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei wraps its old village houses around the 11th century Romanesque church with exceptional frescoes. On the other bank of the Sarthe, opposite the charming 15th century chapel, a miraculous spring, born from the prayer of Saint-Céneri, is said to have the power to cure certain eye diseases...

Viewpoint over the villages

The Most Beautiful Villages of France can be visited from the inside, but often, we would like to have an overall view to admire the homogeneity of the architecture, colors, materials, appreciate a silhouette of houses built around a castle or church, and take souvenir photos worthy of the most beautiful postcards. So, bring your devices: in selfie or panorama mode, our selection of the most beautiful viewpoints on The Most Beautiful Villages of France will not disappoint you.

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Amélie Roca

I am a Community Manager for Pure France as well as the host of Pure France TV, presenting high quality rental homes all over France.

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