The Mayenne, old Maine in Pays de la Loire!

Now, lets continue with some exotic destination, that folks need to know more about my belle France. Here is my humble contribution to the Mayenne, department 53 and city of Mayenne in the region of Pays de la Loire.

Mayenne in department Mayenne no 53 on region Pays de la Loire at about 250 km west of Paris .Dominating the banks of the Mayenne river between Le Mans and the littoral of the Manche. Mayenne is located north of the department of the Mayenne between Laval and Domfront, Aleçon, and Fougéres. Before the French revolution it was part of the province of Maine and after split into the Mayenne and Sarthe both in Pays de la Loire.

There are three bridges over the Mayenne river. The pont Mac-Racken from the 19C today is the route I take the N12 to drive into Paris toll free; the bridge was done in 1834 first naming itself Ambroise de Loré, then Orléans ,Caisse d’Epargne and finally Mac Racken honouring the sacrifice of this American soldier that allow the passage of the Weaver group 90th division to cross the river in WWII to free the left bank in June 5 1944; there is a commemorating plaque there. You have the viaduc en aval for trains on the local line Landivy-Mayenne; also call locally the viaduc Eiffel done between 1901 and 1903; it has a central arch in metal of 54 meters high with a 17 meters arrow, and later renovated into  a road viaduc in concrete done in 1970. Next to it is the old bridge of the railroad that is now pedestrian connecting the town of Saint Beaudelle to the route Mayenne to Laval.

The transports well this is my usual route now by car to Paris,toll free. The city is crossed by the N12 that links Paris to Brest passing by Alençon, and also connecting to Pré en Pail, Ernée, and Fougéres where you can connect to the A84 connecting Caen to Rennes (and also Vannes) and the autoroute A28 connecting Tours to Abbeville.  You, also have the D23 that follows the course of the Mayenne river going north to south in the department and allows you to connect to Laval, Chateau Gontier and Angers on the south direction, and Domfront and Caen on the north direction. This road ,also allows you to connect with the autoroute A81 north of Laval that goes into Le Mans and Rennes. Amazing ,there is no train station here the one existant was closed long ago.  The region Pays de la Loire has not decided to re open it, in the meantime there are buses on the network Pégase of Mayenne that connects to Laval and other cities in the department.

A bit of history I like.

The city of Mayenne first appeared in the Middle Ages on a Roman road connecting Jublains to Vieux near Caen and it was here that you can crossed the Mayenne river. From the Gauls time, the people of Aulerques Diablintes had their capital at Moulay south of the city ,later this was abandoned after the Roman conquest and a new town was built at Jublains. After much fiscal pressure, the territory was attached to the Cénomans of which capital and bishop was at Le Mans; this union of lower maine and upper maine allows the union of the province of Maine.

The castle of Mayenne was founded in the 7C and mentioned for the first time in 778AD while Charlemagna gives it to the bishop of Le Mans. It is a noble residence in wood surrounded by a moat, this has disappeared only visible by some holes in the poles. It was attacked several times between 840 and 870 by the Bretons that carried wars against the Franks. The castle bridges are demolished with the exception of the Caisse d’Epargne ; an American soldier J.D Mac Racken sacrifices himself to stop its destruction and later allowed the Allied to force the nazis to run over the Mayenne river,and now carries Mac Racken name.

Things to see here if anything come to see the Castle of Mayenne.

The castle dominating over the city has most of its elements from the 12C especially the logis and circular donjon, and the appearance is definitively Middle Ages. More on the castle museum here: Castle of Mayenne


castle of Mayenne

Cardinal Mazarin did a lot of urban renewal here especially on the squares or place Hercé, place Cheverus, and Place Saint Vincent. All on the same axis from northwest to the Mayenne river. This axis is located in the road between the Normandy and Brittany on one side and the Le Mans on the other, being the main road of the city You have the space between the Place Hercé and Place Cheverus a building called the Barre Ducale ,this is where the administration lived and was used as the city hall and justice palace ,built between 1660 and 1669. Cardinal Mazarin died in it in 1661 even if did not lived to see it finished.In the Place de Hercé there is a fountain from 1683 with a basin and an obelisk, another fountain is at the Place Saint Vincent and the Place de Cheverus has a statue of Cardinal de Cheverus done in 1844 by David d’Angers.

At the Place de Cheverus there are several mansions worth noting such as the oldest Hotel Chappedalaine built in the 16C and the Hotel de Hercé at no 10 from the second half of the 17C, hotel Chasteloger at no 14 debut 17C and Hotel Montpinçon at no 22 from 1666 finished in the 18C. At the Place de Hercé you have the Hotel Baglion at no 6 built in 1660, Hotel Brossard at no 10 built in 1770, Hotel Le Forestier as well as Hotel Clinchamp at no 16 from the 16C that hosted a literary room under king Louis XVI

The religious building here ,best is the Basilica Notre Dame des Miracles on the right bank renovated and facade from the 12C. on the left bank, the Church of Saint Martin, Chapelle of the former convent of Calvairiennes and Chapel of Saint Leonard.

Here are some webpages that will help you plan your trip to the nice city between the famous Paris region and the less famous west coast of France down in country France deep deep in traditions.

City of Mayenne on tourism in French :

Tourist office Mayenne dept !

Pays de la loire tourism on Mayenne in English:

There you go another gem of my belle France, you all need to hop on and see it. Hope it helps your planning and do come it is quaint old France all around you. Happy travels, good health and many many cheers!!!

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