A castle and museum at Laval!

And I take you now on a trip to Laval, in the dept 53 of the Mayenne and the region of Pays de la Loire.  Of course, I have come by here with the car and by train, but hardly ever did justice to the town  emblematic monuments until now.  I have written on the garden, the Cathedral , and the Basilica, and now its the turn to do it for the Castle-Museum.

The castle is overlook a lot by all, of course in an region where castles are like houses you tend to dismiss some great properties. However, this castle is unique for its architecture and interesting museum in it. Let me tell you about the Château of Laval and its Naîf arts museum.

The Chateau de Laval  has its foundation in the 11C , and allowed the birth of the city. An emblematic monument of Laval, it occupies a rocky promontory above the Mayenne river. It nevertheless has an element which gives it a unique status in the castral landscape: the oldest preserved masonry in France. It is made up of two distinct sets: the Vieux-Château, (old castle) which corresponds to the medieval castle, and the Château-Neuf, (new castle) a Renaissance gallery transformed into a courthouse in the 19C.



The history of the Château de Laval is intimately linked to that of the Maison de Laval, which appeared with Guy I, founder of the château. The Old Castle is remarkable for its 12C chapel as well as for its imposing master tower, crowned with a 13C wooden mantle, an exceptional example of military architecture from the Middle Ages. The richly carved bays of medieval houses, made at the beginning of the 16C, and the gallery of Château-Neuf, dating from the 1540s, are outstanding elements of the Renaissance which show the evolution of architecture at that time.

Laval chateau vieux feb16

The Old Castle, which served as a prison from the French revolution to 1911, has been open to the public since the 1920s. Initially devoted to archaeology, natural history and the decorative arts, it has housed the Musée d ‘Naive Art and Singular Arts of Laval. This museum presents works by numerous artists representative of naive art and singular art.


The Museum of Naive Art and Singular Arts (MANAS) is the oldest museum dedicated to naive art in France. It was created in 1967, and its opening was a way for the town to pay homage to Henri Rousseau, whom it regretted not having celebrated in his lifetime as not accepting his art form. This emblematic painter of naive art was born in Laval. In the following decades, the collections were increased and diversified, in particular to take into account singular art and foreign artists. These are presented in seven rooms, one dedicated to modern primitives like Henri Rousseau, another to various naive currents, another to naive Eastern Europeans, another to the Lefranc collection, the rest being dedicated to singular artists.


The official webpage for the museum is here: Official naif museum on the old castle

A bit on the architecture that I like

The castle forms a triangular set of about a hundred meters on one side. It is surrounded by several streets that date back to the Middle Ages such as to the south is the Grande Rue, to the west the rue des Orfèvres, to the northeast the rue du Val -de-Mayenne. To the northwest, the Château-Neuf and its esplanade are bordered by a steep lane, the roquet du Palais; roquet means pug which is a steep slope in local talk. The main entrance of the castle overlooks the Place de la Trémoille, one of the most important in the city. This square overlooks both the pavilion which provides access to the Vieux Château, and the esplanade opening in front of the Château-Neuf. This is a wonderful area to walk like if you are back in the Middle Ages , just awesome and worth the detour me think.


Since the Château-Neuf housed the Laval courthouse from the French revolution to 1998, the square formerly bore the name of Place du Palais. Its current Place de La Trémoille, honors the youngest son of the last count of Laval, Antoine-Philippe de La Trémoille, royalist chief guillotined in front of the castle gates in 1794.


Some webpages as usual from me to help you plan your trip to this wonderful town of Laval are

City of Laval on the castle museum in French

Tourist office of Laval on the Castle Museum in French

Tourist office of the Mayenne dept 53 on the castle museum in French

There you folks, i put the webpages in French because it has more info as usually the case but in the tourist offces you can see in English for example. Hope you enjoy your visual visit to Laval and its Castle-Museum!

And remember, happy travel, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: