186 Route 25.
into a pleasant and undulating country, with meadows and woods.
Attractive and extensive view to the left. — 140 M. Briouze (Poste),
a little town carrying on a trade in cattle and granité.
From Briouze to Couterne, I81/2 M., railway in li/i-2 hrs. (fares
3 fr. 35, 2 fr. 25, 1 fr. 50 c). — 4 M. Lonlay, with an abbey-church of the
llth and 16th cent.; 81/2 M. La Ferté-Macé (Cheval Noir), a village with
7775 inhab., carrying on the manufacture of ticking. — 13i/2 M. Bagnoles-
de-1'Orne (Hôtel des Bains; de Paris; de Bagnoles), a hamlet situated in a
deep roeky gorge on the Vée, a tributary of the Mayenne. It possesses one
sulphurous (warm) and two chalybeate S/trings, producing a strong sédative
effect and used both internally and externally. A casino, a park, a lake,
and pretty walks are among the attractions. — I81/4 M. Couterne, see p. 199.
148 M. Messei is also served by the railway to Domfront (p. 193).
151 M. Fiers (Buffet; Hôtel de l'Europe; de l'Ouest; du Gros-
Chêne, at the station), a modem cotton-manufacturing town with
13,400 inhab., agreeably situated on a hill to the right. It has a
fine Norman church. In the neighbourhood is a Château, part of which
dates from the 16th century.
Fiers is also a station on the railway from Caen to Laval (see p. 192).
154 M. Caligni - Cerisy is also a station on the line to Caen
(p. 192). — 157y2 M. Montsecret-Vassy.
A branch-railway runs hence to Sourdeval via (5 M.) Tinchebray
(Lion d'Or), a small industrial town, with manufactures of hardware. At
the battle of Tinchebray in 1106 Henry I. of England defeated and captured
his elder brother Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy. — 16 M. Sourde-
val (Poste) is a similar small industrial town, which is also a station on
the railway from Vire to Mortain (see p. 187).
164 M. Viessoix. Fine view to the right as we approach Vire.
168 M. Vire (Hôt. St. Pierre, Rue du Calvados; Cheval Blanc,
Rue aux Fèvres), an old town with 6600inhab., picturesquely situ¬
ated on a hill washed by the river of the same name, is an important
woollen-manufacturing centre and carries on trade in the granité
quarried in the neighbourhood. Much of the blue cloth used for mili¬
tary uniforms in France is made hère.
The long Rue du Calvados ascends to the right from the station
to the town. At the top ('/2 M.), in the Rue aux Fèvres (to the
right), is the square Tour de l'Horloge, with a Gothic gateway of
the 13th cent., flanked by two round crenelated towers.
To the left, near the end of the Rue de la Saulnerie, rises the
Church of Notre-Dame,& large Gothic structure ofthe 12-15th cent.,
with double aisles and a central tower. Like most of the other build¬
ings of Vire, it is built of granité. In the interior, to the left of the
choir, is a tasteful Gothic door. The high-altar, in gilt bronze, is
embellished with statues; the altar in the N. transept is also orna-
mented with statues and bas-reliefs, and that in the S. transept with
a Pietà ; and the large chapel, to the right of the sanctuary, contains
a painted and gilded altar-piece with twisted columns. This chapel
also contains the font, encircled by a tasteful balustrade, and two
interesting paintings. The polychrome painting in the choir and
two carved wooden pillars below the organ are noteworthy. — The