On the banks of the River Mayenne in northwestern France, Laval is a little city that packs a big historical punch.
The Château de Laval is the city’s centrepiece, a French historic monument raised imperiously above the right bank of the river.
From there you can tour the Centre-Ville and see its timber-framed houses and stately mansions, or stick to the enchanting riverside, crossed by a 13th-century bridge and with Laval’s beautiful monuments arranged like a gallery.
The best of the Mayenne is also on hand: The countryside’s green pasture and hedgerows, the Roman ruins at Jublains and the exquisite castle village of Sainte-Suzanne.
Lets explore the best things to do in Laval:
1. Château de Laval
Laval’s 12th century castle and its renaissance wing from the mid-16th century were both included on France’s original list of historic monuments.
The castle stands 34 metres above the Mayenne River and is easily identified by its rugged circular tower dating to the 13th century.
You can freely enter the château’s museum and the courtyard, from where you can get a close look at the château’s sculpted tufa window frames and gables.
But if you want to see the medieval lower chapel and tower you have to join a guided tour, which departs several times a day in the winter or summer, except on Mondays.