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.
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,