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Prefecture building of the Sarthe department, in Le Mans
Prefecture building of the Sarthe department, in Le Mans
Coat of arms of Sarthe
Coat of arms
Location of Sarthe in France
Location of Sarthe in France
Coordinates: 48°17′N 0°13′E / 48.283°N 0.217°E / 48.283; 0.217Coordinates: 48°17′N 0°13′E / 48.283°N 0.217°E / 48.283; 0.217
Country France
Region Pays de la Loire
Prefecture Le Mans
Subprefectures La Flèche
 • President of the General Council Roland du Luart
 • Total 6,206 km2 (2,396 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Total 556,946
 • Rank 47th
 • Density 90/km2 (230/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 72
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 40
Communes 375
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2
The Château de Boisclaireau, residence of the Gueroust family, Counts of Boisclaireau, in Sarthe.

Sarthe (French pronunciation: ​[saʁt]) is a French department, named after the Sarthe River.


The department was created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, pursuant to the law of 22 December 1789, starting from a part of the province of Maine which was divided into two departments, Sarthe to the east and Mayenne to the west.[1]

In Roman Times, this province contained the city of Mans, and many of its ruins are still left standing. The Thermal Bathhouse attracts many tourists, as does the Theater of Aubigné-Racan, both located on the outskirts of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine.

Marin Mersenne, perhaps the most important scientific figure in the early 1600s, was born in the vicinity of Sarthe.


The department of Sarthe is at the north end of the administrative region of Pays-de-la-Loire. This places it south of Basse-Normandie and on the south edge of the Armorican Massif. It is bordered by the departments of Orne, Eure-et-Loir, Loir-et-Cher, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire and Mayenne.

Approximately 300,000 people, comprising more than half of the department's population, live in Le Mans, its conurbation or the essentially urban communes close by. The rest of the department retains its rural character, however, being dominated economically by agriculture.

The economy, especially in the Le Mans area, received a boost with the arrival of the railways in 1854 and of a TGV connection in 1989. In terms of road connections the A11 autoroute, which reached Le Mans from the east in 1978, also highlights Sarthe's strategic position as the gateway to the French west.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Sarthe region
  2. ^ "Weekly auto agenda: Le Mans". The Independent. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 

External links[edit]