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Touring la Mayenne region

added by Liliane

Touring la Mayenne region Touring la Mayenne region
La Mayenne

I was born in Laval in the Mayenne (53) and I am sad that such a lovely area is so unknown. Situated 40 miles west of Le Mans and 2 hours from Caen. The Mayenne is a place that everybody drives through on their way south. And yet...What a waste!! You are missing such as opportunity to explore one of the loveliest regions of the France profonde.

Mostly agricultural, it is full of lovely old stone properties, great gites, superb rich farm food and 2 brilliant fishing rivers: the Mayenne which meanders through the whole region and the Ernée a faster, smaller river full of trout, pike and perch. The markets are full of regional goodies and the farm chickens are as they used to be, firm and tasty.

Laval is an old town built around the river Mayenne with a medieval castle full of interesting features including a fascinating roundish roof. It contains the surgical instruments of Ambroise Paré, credited with inventing surgery. The town has lots of bars and nice shops, with a theatre and cinemas. The rue de la Paix has all the beautiful clothes shops but they are not cheap, whilst the rue Charles De Gaulle on the other side of the river has great but far more reasonably priced shops.

It has the CRAPPA (I know, my kids love the name too) in the forest surrounding Laval. By the way a CRAPPA is a fitness trail with picnic areas and it is good fun, works for kids and grown ups. The museum Tatin just a few miles from Laval, is a bizarre collection of sculptures both in the extensive garden and in the house itself. Kids love it.
Mayenne is another pretty town well worth a visit and Gorron is a small town where the many brits have settled. There are many mostly medieval castles to go and see in the area.

But my favourite activity is discovering the small villages with their stone farmhouses, formica tables bars and short square people. They are friendly and very proud of their heritage. They will always be able to direct you to a local farm where you can buy cider, chickens, eggs or milk or even, if you are lucky, farm made Calvados.

Finally my favourite restaurant, La Guinguette. It is a old boat house, on the bank of the river Mayenne in Montflours, a few kms from Andouillé. 10 miles from Laval (which by the way has a great campsite on the river) and you can watch the pleasure boats going past while you have your meal. The food is great and very reasonably priced, it has play garden for the kids and the owners are so friendly.

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