Mortain is a small market town steeped in history. Situated in lower Normandy within the Manche region of France. Mortain sits at a crossroads of countryside between the Bay of Mont Saint Michel and the Regional Natural Park of Normandy-Maine, two remarkable areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Within Mortain lies two magnificent rocky waterfalls; La Grande Cascade (the Large Waterfall), the largest waterfall in the West of France and La Petite Cascade (the Small Waterfall), a wild and hidden site in the heart of the town which cascades down towards the steps of a gigantic natural stairway cut out of the rocks.
The Collegiate Church of Saint Evroult which stands proudly within the town of Mortain was originally built in 1082 by Count Robert of Mortain, half brother of William the Conqueror. Only the Romanesque door (dated 1157) in the south of the church remains in the current Collegiate Church which was restored in 1220-1250, thanks to generous donations of Countess Mahilde, daughter-in-law of King Phillippe Auguste. The Collegiate Church was partially burnt down in 1562 by the Huguenots and during the French Revolution, the building sustained some damage. In August 1944, during the Battle of Mortain, the building was hit by many artillery shells and bombs some traces of which are still visible today.
Other historic sites include La Place Du Chateau, L’Abbaye Blanche (The White Abbey), La Chapelle Saint Vital, The Church Saint Hilaire Du Neufbourg, La Petite Chapelle Saint Michel (Saint Michael’s Chapel), In front of the chapel, an orientation table sits on the peak (323 metres above sea level). The views are really worth seeing and on a clear day the Mont Saint Michel and the frontiers of Britanny and Maine can be seen from the viewpoint. Rochers de la Montjoie (Hill of Montjoie or Hill 314, the official military name), the highest point of Mortain where the German soldiers guarded the region from 1942 until 1944 by installing lookout post. You can also see a geodesic border used to study the shape and the measure of the dimensions of the Earth and a monolith of Armorican sandstone. Also worth a visit are Le Rocher Brûlé (The Burned Rock) and Le Rocher De L’Aiguille (The Needle Cliff). There are so many places to visit in and around Mortain, with its miles of walks and cycle routes, its picturesque landscapes and history it is a centre of rural excellence and a green tourist resort.