My visit to Bellême
Please note: Bellême is far from flat, there will be steps, rocks, steep slopes.
It takes about 1h30 to do this course without rushing. If you come to hunt, a good number of flea markets and decorations will be on your way.
You leave the Syndicat d'Initiative, turn left and walk along the mini-golf course. You will notice that the games have the Perche as their theme.
We call this place “Les Promenades” created in the 18th century, during the development of the boulevard which avoided passing through rue Ville Close. Just after, on the left, you have a superb view of the Bellêmoise countryside, motocross terrain and the golf course.
Cross the street at the level of the chocolate factory which deserves a gourmet visit and climb the alley of the castle ramp. Take a left.
At the top, a nice view over the roofs of the city, the castle was not built by chance and really dominates the region.
Walk around the Place de l'Europe, passing behind the village hall (Philippe de Chennevières hall, former corn hall built in 1819) to discover the second ramparts that protected the upper part of the castle.
Turn right rue du château, left place Heim, and you are on the city ramparts. Go down the porch (Saint-Sauveur door dating from the 15th century). On your left, a plaque recounts the siege and capture of the city by Saint Louis.
Walk down the Place de la République, also called the Church or Market Square, which has existed since the Middle Ages. If you have time, visit the Saint-Sauveur church or click on the following link:
Just behind, in rue Coquetière at n°12, the 16th century presbytery with its forged balconies.
At the bottom of the square, turn left (place au Blé) and immediately after, right, behind the Café du Midi.
You are in one of the oldest streets in the city (rue aux Gélines) which of course owes its name to poultry. To know the origins of the street names, click here:
This one still bears the traces of the old lighting with this small door giving access to the gas to light the street lamp.
At the bottom of the street, turn left into rue d'Alençon, which was called rue Saint-Michel before the revolution because it led to Mont-Saint-Michel. This street has many bourgeois houses and mansions: you can just visit their magnificent gardens during Heritage Days.
The school has the same name and if you have been a student here, click on the link, you may be in one of these classes.
Go down the street to the level of the water pump which served the district (the water in the houses having arrived only in 1932), turn left rue du Puits.
Climb the stairs in front of you or the small passage on the left.
Cross the street and take rue des Quatre Vents opposite.
At the first intersection, take the path on the left which delimits the park of Saint-Santin (first construction in 960, before the current Bellême, on this hill. The chapel is the oldest religious building in Perche): there is no only had a wooden castle and a stone chapel.
The visit is only authorized on Heritage Days.
To see images of Saint-Santin, click on the link:
Go back up to the town, passing under the Croix Blanche bridge built in 1830. At the top of the street, turn immediately right, then left rue de la Croix d’Or. You can take a break in the Square Simone Veil and visit the soap factory just opposite.
Climb to the top of the cul-de-sac where you will see the ramparts and a porch tower.
Take the small lane at the end of the impasse on the left which comes out at Place de la République.
Go straight past the town hall built in 1582 and enlarged in 1782,
go down the few steps to find yourself on Place Liégeard: this was once the Place Royale where all court sentences were executed.
Visit of the town hall:
Turn right rue Besnardière, then right again rue Hautguinière.
Pass under the building on the right a little higher.
You are in the Ruelle du Fossé de l’Horloge in the old castle moat.
You can see the clock tower on the left, a fortification tower: it was used to monitor the road to Mortagne-au-Perche. Before the construction
of this large wall along the alley, you could have seen this:
Depending on the season, take the opportunity to breathe in the scent of roses, honeysuckle and jasmine in the small garden below. Continue in the alley, be careful the passage is very low.
You come out once again on the Place de la République, turn left and go up the porch.
Go straight on rue Ville Close. From the 16th century, many noble families built mansions. There is also a former post office and a former gendarmerie. The Hôtel de Fontenay, also called the Maison du Gouverneur, is one of the most beautiful facades on the street.
At the bottom of the street, on your right, you have the statue of Colin Maillard, statue offered by the sculptor Leharivel-Durocher for Philippe de Chennevières who donated it to the city. Rumors say that he wanted to make fun of the Bellemois who refused progress.
Continue towards the city center (Rue Boucicaut and Place de la Liberté). Stay on the same sidewalk to Carrefour Market.
Cross the two streets to find yourself at the foot of the Chapelle de l’Hôpital. You can visit it, otherwise click on the link:
Go back towards the city center, stay on this sidewalk. You will pass in front of the hospital built between 1863 and 1865, the public school built in 1887. If you have been to this school, click on the link, you will surely find yourself in one of the class photos:
Then in the rue du Cimetière.
On your left the perception and the post office, you arrived on the place Boucicaut. On the right, the birthplace of Aristide Boucicaut, the inventor of modern commerce. For more information click on the link:
Go around the square and go down towards the cemetery.
Below the Crédit Agricole, go down the few steps to cross the Parc de Vigan.
At the exit, turn right to go up Boulevard Bansard des Bois.
At the end of the street, the Relais Saint Louis, a former coach house.
Cross the road, you are in front of the moat of the castle, also called the drinking trough because it was for a long time the drinking trough for horses. On your right, above the moat, the Hôtel Bansard des Bois, built between 1769 and 1787.
There, you have finished "my visit to Bellême". By doing this tour, you could see many shops of all kinds, Bellême being a very active small town.
Many exhibitions are visible all year round, not to mention the Mycological Days in October and the magical month: December, with its illuminations and entertainment. Click here :
If you like history, I would recommend the book: Les Chroniques de Bellême by Bellême Patrimoine, Angoulême edition. If you are interested in our dialect, the book: 50 weeks of Father La Bricole, edition: Le Perche and L'Etrave. For more books on the region, click here: