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The castle, the forest, the Sarthe

The remarkable quality of our forest estate has earned it PEFC (European programme for certified forests) recognition and the exceptional “Natura 2000” ecological label. With its hundred-year-old oaks, including the famous “Four Brothers”, and its many species, this vast green lung of 400 hectares is home to an extraordinary abundance of wildlife that can be seen often from the windows of the castle, and can be spectacularly heard at the time of the stag's bellow. 

The Ardenay sur Mérize estate with it many amenities, activities and grounds, has combined style and wilderness for a rare and memorable holiday experience.

Forest activities
Activités au château
Activities at the Castle
Activités en Sarthe
Activités de forêt
Activities in Sarthe

Activities & leisure

  • Heated swimming pool in season

  • Tennis

  • Natural observatory

  • Bicycles

  • Table tennis

  • Horse riding, fishing, hunting (on request)

  • Sauna

  • Jacuzzi

Outdoor pool (heated)

For sunbathing or a bit of refreshing, the 11 m x 5 m heated swimming pool (high season) is available with chairs, sun loungers, refreshments and a seating area. The pool is unsupervised and not fenced in.

Tennis court

Hard surface, umpire's chair, training wall.

Fully equipped gym

Elliptical trainer, abdominal trainer, dumbbells, table tennis (under construction in the Orangerie. Available soon).

Sauna et Jacuzzi 

For a relaxing moment together (4 persons max.), the sauna and jacuzzi are available inside the castle.


1/ Was the French forest more extensive in 1850 than today?

ANSWER - No. Its surface area has more than doubled! It occupied 14% of France. It has increased to 31%, which is the size of Switzerland!

2/ And compared to the Middle Ages?

ANSWER - No, again! In 1380, the forest cover represented 25% of the French territory. Wood was then used for everything, construction and heating.

3/ Compared to the end of the 18th century, is the number of large mammals (deer, wild boar) in the French forest today estimated to be :
- Half as many?
- the same?
- double?
- 10 times more?
- 100 times more?

ANSWER - ... 100 times more! 

Our forest and its treasures

Entirely private, our forest will answer all your desires for natural experiences and adventures on more than 20 km of trails. For the more leisurely, wild fruit, berry and mushroom picking; rowboat trips (under your responsibility) and photography, etc. A walking booklet with a map of the paths and lanes will be offered to guide you.

But the forest of Ardenay sur Mérize is first and foremost an abundance of wildlife and game. The animals are so numerous that they let themselves be seen if you don't scare them... and they see and hear you coming from afar.  
But the magnificent stags are there, hinds, roe deer, wild boars, hares, foxes, woodcocks, wild swans and so many others...

Wildlife sighting

Guided experience that starts at the door of your room and can last more than 2 hours if you so wish: on the watchtowers or on foot, eyes wide open, the more daring among you will want to adopt our recommendations: go out at dawn and at sunset, no coloured clothes, no perfume, no big gestures... and no noise. Sometimes you will like to crawl like Sioux to see them up close, or you will wait for them from our observation tower.

Forest walks & cycling

On foot or by bike, 400 hectares and 20 km of trails to discover at random !

We have a number of bicycles available for your use, suitable for the less rugged paths. But if you like a sportier bike, it is possible to hire off-road ones for an exhilarating experience of freedom and nature.

Hunting and fishing

On request (administrative authorization)


In the forest or the vegetable garden, depending on the season: mushrooms, chestnuts, cherries, berries, currant, apple, mirabelle plums, etc. 
You will be shown the good spots.

Horse riding

We can accommodate two horses (stalls, paddocks). On request, rides with a specialised instructor.

Le Mans and the Sarthe experience

Le Mans and the Sarthe département offer an infinite number of experiences and discoveries for young and grown-ups. The city itself is home to one of the most beautiful medieval towns in France, and surrounding villages are heritage sites and among the most beautiful in the country. In this historic setting, international car and motorbike races, amusement parks, sports of all kinds have their own centres, and water sports, the many rivers of the Sarthe. Horse clubs galore invite you to come and watch the riders do their jumps and dressage. 

Yes, 100 times more!...

At the Ardenay estate, the number of animals is such that a prefectural decree orders the annual removal of a minimum number of them, so as to preserve the species (consanguinity) and the forest.
A viewing area allows you to see the deer's habits from the castle, but also from very close up.

The period of the stag's bellow (early September to mid-October) is the most spectacular. You can then join one of our partner wildlife photographers.

Paradoxically, the fees applied to virtuous hunting allows distant countries to protect their species, in particular against poaching, and to maintain their national parks. If you are interested in learning about the world's fauna, you will be shown a private collection of 160 different species of mammals collected in 60 countries. You will discover exceptional animals, especially from the high mountains (Himalayas, Central Asia, Pamir, Rockies) or from icy areas (Arctic, Siberia).

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