The Centre Culturel de la Sarthe (departmental centre for culture) was founded in 1998 by the Sarthe departmental council to promote cultural activity around three local heritage sites, the Abbey of l’Epau, the priory of Vivoin and the Aubigné Racan archaeological site. The public establishment is chaired by Véronique Rivron, vice president of the departmental council.
The three properties each have a different heritage yet share the same desire to host high-quality events, play an educational role, organise artistic encounters and theme-based tours to attract the widest possible audience.
Royal Abbey of L’Epau
The Royal abbey of l’Epau is one of the most beautiful examples of Cistercian architecture in France.
This remarkable site is the focus of an ambitious policy to develop interest in local heritage. The abbey is a sought-after venue for cultural events ranging from concerts, exhibitions, music festivals, drama and dance to photography.
Events fall into three wide categories: architecture, art and landscapes. The grounds of the building are an integral part of the site’s interest and a preservation orchard. The Centre Culturel de la Sarthe took over management of the abbey on 1 July 2016.
The Priory of Vivoin
Located in the Pays de la Haute Sarthe, the priory is open from March to November and hosts exhibitions, musical and dance performances, shows of all kinds, artistic courses and workshops, drama, heritage days and open-air cinema.
The archaeological site of Aubigné Racan
The Roman site is on the plains close to the river Loir, on the boundaries of the Cenomani, Andes (Andecavi) and Turones territories. The site is overlooked by a promontory fort known as the Camp de Vaux, that was occupied in the bronze age. At the foot, a Gaulish necropolis, later the site of a Roman theatre, has been uncovered.
The 15-hectare site combines natural and heritage conservation interests.