The administrative capital of Mayenne Department is about 1 hour’s drive South of Saint-Lo, equidistant from Rennes and Le Mans (making 4 great towns for exploring and shopping). The City is surrounded by industrialisation but at its heart is a fine, imposing centre of grand proportions, set off by the beautiful Mayenne River. The central streets are narrow but easily navigated to find a fairly large and rather attractive tree-lined car park (with a small fair in Summer) next to the main bridge. Here, one can relax in cafes, overlooking the river or browse main shops, including a diversity of bookshops up the hill. Every 30 minutes, fountain rise from the River near the bridge and, for the more energetic, it is said to be a continuous, gorgeous riverside walk all the way to Mayenne.
Touristy spots in Laval
In Rue St. Benoit, lies the Monastere N.-D. de la Coudre, of the Ordre Cistercien de la Stricte Observance. Here, the nuns make sweets, leather goods and rather superior cheeses. There are also gardens (Perrine) and a museum, plus all the creperies, boulangeries, cafes and restaurants you could wish for. Market days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. THe town was also the finishing point for Stage 5 of the Tour de France in 2021. (Copyright About-France.com)
We travelled to the Saturday Market in La Place de Tremoille recently. This is a fairly large market, extending down from the Historique district ending up by some very steep streets down to the riverside roads and cafes, near the fountains. It is mainly a fruit and vegetable market, with just a few clothes etc and is a “functional” rather than “touristy” location. The nearby roads are blocked off for the market and parking and disabled access is very difficult. However, the produce is first class and the reward is to drift down to the centre and enjoy people-watching at the numerous cafes and bars along the river front.