Laval, Normandie, France

Earlier this week, theTravelsketcher and I had to take a trip to Laval to get our COVID boosters, so we decided to make a day of it and see some of the sites in this historic city. Laval, about one hour from our home, is the capitol the Department of Mayenne, and is located about 190 miles southwest of Paris. This city has a medieval section with two castles, ramparts, museums, gardens, cathedrals, and much more.

Established in the 11th century, Laval was an important stronghold in the middle ages, and a major center in the textile and linen industries. La Mayenne river meanders through the city, and the newer sections of town have grown up around it through the centuries.

Ramparts and walls were built in the 13th century to protect the city from invading armies.

Vieux Château is an interesting place to visit and houses a gallery with modern art, and a temporary exhibit of creative origami.

The highlight of Laval for me was Jardin de la Perrine, a lovely botanical garden perched on a hill overlooking the city below.

Established in 1885, the garden has a wide variety of flowers, trees and shrubs, a fine arts museum, playground, animals, fountains, and is a lovely place to stroll.

The post-impressionist painter, Henri Rousseau was born in Laval. He started his painting career in his late forties. Prior to paining, he was a tax collector. His art can be viewed at MANAS Musèe not far from the garden, as well as at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

We also visited Laval Cathédral, built in 1070, and remodeled extensively over the centuries, it is now a blend of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architecture.

The back of the cathédral, I wasn’t able to get a good photo of the front.

We had a delicious lunch at L’Atelier Gourmand, just behind the cathédral. This has become our new favorite restaurant; the chef even accommodated my request for a vegetarian meal, which is hard to find in France.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Laval, even with getting our COVID boosters. It’s an inviting city and we will probably visit again in the near future.

Wishing you grand adventures,


24 thoughts on “Laval, Normandie, France

Add yours

  1. Yet another corner of France I hadn’t been aware of Tricia. It is so picturesque, I’ve always been a sucker for these kind of unusual, wonky buildings, so full of character and charm. Yet another castle and cathedral for your ever-increasing French collection. The food looks splendid too, could you talk me through a few of those dishes`? By the way, I finally got around to following the Travelsketcher and will be checking out some of his work over the coming days. Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Leighton, thanks for stopping by! Like you, I love medieval buildings and am amazed at their solid construction; they really stand the test of time. Okay, I love talking about food! For lunch, the orange dish was a chilled melon soup with goat cheese and an Italian ham; the other soup was a creamy broth with sage, and a lightly poached egg. My vegetarian plate had some goat cheese wrapped in a light pastry on a bed of greens, a chilled gazpacho with avocado, and some veggies. I published a short story centered around food a few years ago, here’s the link:

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful city to explore with you today! I love that Rousseau went from being a tax collector to a painter- but with such lovely places right in his home town it is no surprise that he felt more inspired by what was outside than the numbers sitting in from him inside.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: