Another great way to get around Le Mans is to use their ultra-modern light rail service, which takes you to stops on either end of the city. It’s not expensive and it is certainly worth trying if you are heading somewhere in the suburbs. I chose to visit the Arche de la Nature on one of my afternoons and I took the tram from Place de la Republique to a stop just outside of the park. Located just ten minutes from the center of Le Mans, the Arche de la Nature offers visitors a huge natural space. Along the footpaths, walkers can explore the river, the wooded areas and the forest, and can visit the Ferme de la Prairie (meadow farm). A total of 450 hectares of nature open to the public permanently and free of charge. The forest of the Arche de la Nature extends over almost 350 hectares. Representative of the region’s forested landscape, this forest is a favored habitat for a wide variety of wild animals: deer, wild boar, pheasant, etc. There is also a remarkable 2.5-kilometer tree walk, arboretum and three marked orientation trails to choose from. The conservation farm and the kitchen garden of the Ferme de la Prairie are teeming with activities for people of all ages. First, one needs to be able to walk at least 2.5 kilometers in the hot sun in order to reach it! Yes, I found that out the hard way when I ventured there hoping to reach “The Inn” which I was told would serve food and refreshments. Wrong. They were closed and it was already after noon. I had to wait around until 2 PM just to get a bottle of water and a morsel of cake before making the walk back to the tramway. If you plan on visiting and you are reading my article, be warned: take food and water with you! I didn’t have lunch until well after 3 PM. With its barn, sheepfold, farmyard, stables and meadows, the farm is home to many local animal breeds, some of which are very rare (the Blanc de l’Ouest pig, the Normandy donkey, the Le Mans chicken or the Saosnoise cow). At the heart of the farm, the kitchen garden offers a great diversity of crops and gardening techniques. The stables of the Percheron horses are open to the public as well and horse-drawn carriages are a great way to explore the park.