At the edge of Normandy, the town of Mayenne has an imposing castle as a reminder of its past as a stronghold and ducal town. It has towered above the Mayenne river for over a thousand years. In turn a Carolingian palace, castle fort and prison, Mayenne castle now houses a museum about the history of the place and the medieval era, with a remarkable collection of parlour game pieces from the 10th-12th centuries.
After visiting Mayenne's castle and park, you can continue exploring the town with a look at the Basilica of Our Lady, built in the 12th, 16th and 19th centuries. Inside is a polychrome wood statuette of Our Lady of the Miracles. There is also Place de Hercé with its octagonal fountain, Place Cheverus surrounded by private mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the 11th-century Church of St Martin made of rusted granite, located on the left bank.
Those who enjoy the water can enjoy boat or pedalo rides departing from the river stopping place, from May to September.
Local festivities include the Arts'Borescences in late June, with shows, concerts and art in the streets, followed by the Summer of 6 Thursdays (Été des 6 Jeudis), with outdoor concerts on Thursdays from mid-July to late August.
The town of Mayenne is located in the region Pays de la Loire, in the department of Mayenne, 20 minutes drive from Laval.
Former ducal city, it was formed in the eleventh century and early twelfth century near the castle, the Church of Notre Dame and, on the other side, the priory of St. Martin.
The city market is held twice a week on Saturdays and Mondays. Brasseries and restaurants are on offer, including a Michelin-starred restaurant, and the charming shopping district has a wide range of shops.
The Mayenne castle museum: classified as an archaeological site of national interest, the Mayenne castle overlooks the river and gives its full scale to the city. More than 1000 years old, the castle is one of the best preserved civil buildings from the early Middle Ages in Europe. It invites you to discover very rare collections, thanks to an interactive and fun tour. It is also labeled “Tourism and Disability” for the four types of disabilities (motor, visual, hearing and mental).
The Calvairiennes chapel, the last vestige of a vast 17th century convent. It has become an art and exhibition center, dedicated to contemporary creation.
The Notre-Dame basilica, a composite building from the 12th, 16th and 19th centuries and its statue of the Virgin of Miracles.
The municipal theater located in the park of the castle of Mayenne.
The Saint-Martin church, a beautiful 11th century building, in rusty granite.
Place de Hercé with the old palace of the Barre Ducale, from the 17th century and the octagonal fountain.
Place Cheverus lined with numerous mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries, witnesses to the rich past of the old ducal city.
The Visitation convent which extends over almost two hectares, right in the city center.
La Vigie, Memorial to the deportees of the
Sightseeing cruises aboard the La Meduana boat trip to discover the history of the town of Mayenne and the river that crosses it (from May to September).
Guided tours of the city Mayenne every Wednesday morning at 10:30 in July and August.
Festival "Arts'Borescences" concerts, street art ... the last weekend of June.
Festival "Summer Thursdays 6": 6 outdoor concerts in the city of Mayenne from mid-July to late August.
The cultural center of the country Mayenne "Kiosk" offers throughout the year performances (theater, concerts, exhibitions ...).
Gallo-Roman city of Jublains (fortress, temple, amphitheater, thermal baths) and its departmental archaeological museum presenting numerous objects testifying to the Gallo-Roman era.
Forum Métiers d'Art de Jublains: place to meet and exchange around art professions: exhibitions, courses and shop.
The towpath allows you to travel the Mayenne by bike, on foot, on horseback and by boat, along the river, for 85 km. Panoramas of nature, calm and serenity.
Lac de Haute-Mayenne: 123 ha lake in a remarkable landscape. Many possible activities (hiking, canoeing, etc.).
Village of Fontaine-Daniel, cradle of the Canvases of Mayenne.