La Flèche (lä flĕsh), town (1990 pop. 16,581), Sarthe dept., on the Loir River. The town has a few light industries. It is famous for its college, the Prytanée, founded by Henry IV in the 16th cent., where René Descartes was a pupil. In 1808, Napoleon I transformed the school into a military academy open only to the sons of officers and members of the Legion of Honor. La Flèche has a 15th-century château that houses the town hall.