Alençon is a handsomely restored old market town, north of Le Mans, known for its traditional lacemaking industry.
Alençon was the first French town to be liberated by French forces at the end of the war. Although bombed in the action, several grand buildings stand out. The very cultured sister of King François I, Marguerite d’Angouleme, married Duke Rene of Alençon in the late 15th century, and patronized the splendid Flamboyant finishings of Notre-Dame. Inside, small Gothic dogs and dragons adorn ribs of the elaborate vaults. There are some very refined stained glass windows from the early 16th century.