Mayenne

Getting to know Mayenne 

The Mayenne is a surprising region, rich in cultural heritage with lots of unspoilt countryside and plenty to do. It has a temperate climate and its proximity to UK means that you travel less and spend more time enjoying your holiday!

The area is a paradise for fishermen! There are lots of rental properties with direct access to fishing. From line to plate your supper is as fresh as it can be! If you are a novice, there are many professionals on hand to show you how it’s done. You can even rent a boat. Leave all your cares on dry land and become master of your own destiny. Don’t worry if you are a beginner because you will be given a lesson in navigation before setting off. Then stretch out on the sun deck and enjoy the scenery whilst topping-up your tan!  Then there is water skiing, kayaking, canoeing and so much more…

There is no better way to appreciate the beauty of the Mayenne river valley than on a bike, pedalling along the towpath . Stretching for 60 miles/100 km, the path is flat and signposted with distances between points of interest, such as chateaux, villages and old watermills. Towns along the way include Mayenne , Laval , Château-Gontier and Angers . This cycling trail is part of the 615km-long 'Vélo Francette ' cycle route, from Normandy to La Rochelle!

Laval © O.T Laval

 

On horseback you get a great perspective of the landscape. There are many riding centres where you can explore the countryside and observe nature as you trot around the region or you can stay for a holiday and the kids can learn to ride and how to care for a pony which they ‘own’ for the length of your stay. If you prefer to observe rather than participate and you want to watch experienced horsemen showing-off their skills you can check-out the racing at Craon.

There are beautiful villages to explore, Sainte-Suzanne, for example, has been named one of ‘Les plus beaux villages’ in France. Not far from the walls of this fortified medieval village, you will find the ‘dolmen des Erves ’, the most ancient monument dating from the megalithic period showing very early signs of human occupation in the Mayenne.

Tatin museum © P.Le Floch

 

Why not indulge your cultural cravings too? The châteaux of Mayenne, Ste-Suzanne and Lassay should be on your visit list as well as the Basilique d'Evron, a celebration of medieval religious architecture. There are many privately owned châteaux and you can stay in some of them and experience what it’s like to live like a king!

Laval , the capital of the Mayenne, is a delightful town to explore on foot. You can wander through the narrow alleys of the old town and down to the Perrine Gardens on the Mayenne River . It is a town built by the water and you can hop on board the bateaux-lavoirs, which are old floating laundromats! Visit the château of Laval, built on a rocky spur in the 11th-century and rebuilt in the 16th-century with superb views of the town. Inside is one of the world’s finest museums of folk art and a reproduction of local artist Douanier Rousseau’s studio. If you leave town via the towpath, you soon reach the peaceful Basilica of Notre-Dame d’Avesnières. The town itself hums with activity: cosy cafés and enticing boutiques await on the Rue du Pont de Mayenne!

 

Miss the Mayenne and you will be missing out on a region with a rich natural and cultural heritage. So when you are planning your next trip keep in mind that the perfect holiday destination might be closer to home than you think.

> Mayenne Tourist Board

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