An important town in the 10th-11th centuries, Alencon is best known as an important centre for lace production. Alençon Lace was the most expensive lace in the world! It was light and airy, yet durable. Although the industry is not very active nowadays the story is recounted in the town's 'museum of fine arts and lacemaking'.
The attractive centre of the town features a historical section with some interesting half-timbered and ornate stone buildings lining the streets, and numerous small architectural highlights, and is very enjoyable to explore. The part of the town on the Sarthe river is also attractive. There is also a good selection of cafes and restaurants.
In Alencon the highlights include:
- the 19th century circular wheat hall
- the 15th century castle - it is mostly the castle towers that now remain, and part of the walls (the Chateau des Ducs), forming an impressive entranceway
- the impressive 18th century town hall with its tower.
- the Church of Notre-Dame
- the town hall also has an attractive well-maintained garden, and there are various other pretty parks and gardens scattered around the town, along with fountains etc