The Museé de la Vie Autrefois is located at the Vivoin Priory. It is open from 2:00 until 5:30 PM every day in July and August and there is lots of activity, costumed docents and demonstrations. In April, May, June, Sept. and Oct. it is only opened on weekends and holidays. We didn't know this and fortunately arrived on a Saturday so it was all open at the end of September.
The museum is small but very well done and fascinating. The grounds are beautiful and since you are in Normandy, there are plenty of apple trees and I suspect no one would notice if you picked a few for your noon picnic.
When you enter the priory church, look up. The ceiling is very different from what one expects. It is semicircular almost as though a huge boat turned upside down. The rest of the church is simply decorated, very plain but lovely.
The main attraction here are the outbuildings and gardens . . . and in season, the Sarthe Cultural Center with its activities. The museum appears to be open all year so don't miss it. It is located inside the priory out buildings.
Drove south around Alençon and entered the A28 driving to exit #21 where we followed signs to Vivoin and easily parked at Place des Tilleuls and entered l’Eglise St. Hippolyte.
Then we wandered outside and, finding an open gate, entered le Prieuré de Vivoin where we hoped, on a Saturday, to see exhibits and demonstrations at the ecomusée. It was not to be. We had full run of the entire place but the demonstrations and activities are only in July and August and this was late September. We walked through it all taking pictures and reading the information.
The apples were ripe on the trees and the flowers were still blooming beautifully. The museum is done very nicely and it was open.