Etang Hirondelle is ideally located for exploring the local area.
If you are planning days out The Chateau de Craon is a must. Built in 1770 and listed as a Historical monument, The immense park, gardens and greenhouse are open for visits every afternoon 1 April to 1 November
You will want to stroll about the beautiful park of 42 hectares with centenary trees, and see the greenhouse which provides the castle with flowers throughout the year.
There is also the vegetable garden, fruit tree orchard and don’t miss the wash house on the river and the ice-house from the 18th century.
La Rincerie is a public lake of 20 hectares offering various water sporting activities such as sailboarding, wakeboarding, and kayaking.
Standing on the banks of the River Mayenne, at the heart of the old province of Maine, the town of Art and History of Laval, founded in the 11th century, has kept some remarkable heritage features from its rich past.
The Old Castle is the town’s flagship monument and was the residence of the Counts of Laval until 1794. It was built in the 11th-16th centuries and is flanked by an imposing circular keep. Nowadays it is home to a museum of Naive Art, whose exhibits include work by the Laval painter Henri Rousseau aka Le Douanier (“the customs officer”), making for one of the finest collections of Naive Art in Europe!
After admiring the treasures of the Old Castle, lovers of old buildings will find plenty to enjoy on a stroll along the medieval streets of Laval! An ideal opportunity to contemplate reminders from another time, such as the picturesque half-timbered façades with corbels, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, and the Beucheresse gate, a remainder of the medieval wall. One of its machicolated towers was the birthplace of the painter Henri Rousseau.
Not far from the Beucheresse gate, continue your walk along the pretty Anne d’Alègre walkway, at the foot of the ramparts, which will lead you to the splendid Perrine Garden. Overlooking the Mayenne Valley from the top of its rocky spur, this public park is very popular with the people of Laval, with a magnificent rose garden, English-style park and children’s play area. A variety of beautiful species, such as cedar, lime trees, giant sequoia, gingko biloba and magnolias, make for a lovely scene.
In the summer, there is a range of activities on offer to discover or rediscover Laval’s many attractions: a sightseeing tour of the town on a pleasure boat, or on the little train; a dramatised, torch-lit tour; a trip in a raft, pedalo or canoe departing from the river stopping place.
Listed amongst the most beautiful detours in France, the thousand-year-old town of Château-Gontier, on the banks of the River Mayenne, combines built heritage and attractive landscapes.
Its historic centre in the upper town, with narrow streets dotted with private mansions, gives you a glimpse of its rich past as a linen cloth trading town. Built in the 11th century, the Romanesque church of St John the Baptist is the oldest church in Château-Gontier, and boasts a remarkable crypt. Not far from there, at the intersection between La Grande Rue and Rue Jean Bourré, stands the Hôtel Fouquet. It was built in the 17th century and is now home to the museum of Art and Archaeology.
On the left bank of the Mayenne, in the Faubourg quarter, stands the old Ursulines convent, an architectural gem founded in the 17th century which is now used as a cultural centre. On a tour of the convent, you can admire the Jesuit-style Church of the Trinity, the cloister and convent buildings, and the elegant 15th-century lords’ manor house of La Touche.
Enjoy a relaxing stroll in one or more of the many floral areas in Château-Gontier. Don’t miss the Garden of the Edge of the World, near the Church of St John the Baptist, with its diverse species, 17th-century icehouse and beautiful view of the Mayenne Valley, and the Scent Garden near the river, full of aromatic plants and fragrant flowers.
City of Art and History located on the edge of the River Maine, the capital of Anjou has a rich architectural heritage. Key monument of the city, the castle of Angers built in the 13th century by Saint Louis was the place of residence of the dukes of Anjou in the 14th and 15th centuries. Flanked by seventeen towers, this impressive medieval fortress is home to a masterpiece: the famous Apocalypse tapestry. Besides the Tapestries museum, the castle of king René also invites its visitors to discover its charming terraced gardens and its panoramic view of the city and of the River Maine. There is also the Atoll shopping centre which is filled with shops and modern restaurants.
The visit inside the castle is with a guide and you will discover how la vie de château was while visiting Craon Castle. On the ground floor, you’ll visit the four reception rooms overlooking the gardens.
All the rooms are magnificently decorated and two of the rooms have panelling from the Louis XV period. You will also visit the castle chapel on your tour.
For more information visit www.craoncastle.com
Stroll on the riverbank of the Oudon & take advantage of the many picturesque footpaths, plus make a stopover at the Lavoir called the “Pré de la Liberté”, the largest one in Mayenne. It is right after the church on the edge of the Oudon. Built in 1841, it is in perfect condition with a length of about 25m and 5m wide. It is surrounded by a walk which allows to adjust to the height of the water.
Craon is a well-known town. It represents an important place for the patrimony as it has more than 5 centuries of history. Roam in the streets of the old town centre to discover some houses with timber frames. It will lead you right to the covered Market of 1850, a veritable emblem of the town centre.
The races of Craon, an inescapable horse racing event… a unique atmosphere in France!
A yearly appointment that gathers more than 70,000 passionate racegoers ready to live the intensity and rythm of sportsmen’s feat!
The amazing Refuge de l’Arche with its 800animals on 14hectres just outside Chateau-Gontier: www.refuge-arche.org
The surprising Musee Robert Tatin at Cosse-le-Vivien: www.musee-robert-tatin.fr
The slate Museum of Renaze, Musée de l’Ardoise
The historical Towns of Laval, Chateaubriant & Nantes offer a choice of many Historical places to visit, Museums, busy Boutiques and variety of restaurants.
Nantes has a huge shopping centre called “Atlantis”, great for a day out shopping.
Laval also offers Bowling, Go Karting and for the smaller children “Petits Loups” an indoor adventure park. Also worth a visit are “Thermes Gallo-Romaine” the Roman Bathes.
For sandy beaches La Baule, St Malo, Cancale and the famous Mont St-Michel are 90 minutes away.
Market day in Craon is every Monday morning.
A large Market is held every Tuesday morning at La Guerche-de-Bretagne.