Along the water
Ecluse De La Bavouze à MenilEcluse De La Bavouze à Menil
©Ecluse De La Bavouze à Menil |Pascal Beltrami

The towpath along the river Mayenne

An 85 km route in a splendidly well-preserved natural environment

Following the towpath along the river, you’ll reach the very heart of Mayenne.

The river Mayenne

Crossing the department, the Mayenne was once the most important economic route in the area. Already used for trade and transport in the time of Charlemagne, the river remained a vital part of the local infrastructure right up to the middle of the 20th century, when barges still traded in wood, oil or sand going upriver and cider, cereals, linens and hemp going downstream.

The trade routes led to people naturally settling at the water’s edge, building the towns of Mayenne, Laval and Château-Gontier.

After a short period when the navigable waterways fell into disuse, the Mayenne has found a second life thanks to river tourism and the transformation of the towpath into a hiking trail.

The towpath

In the past, boats were pulled either by horses or men from the path bordering the river.

Over the years, the towpath of the Mayenne was worn-in by the passage of all those feet and hooves.

The towpath is one of the most beautiful greenways in France: 85 km of safe hiking route, open to all non-motorised forms of transport.

Undoubtedly the easiest and most authentic way to see the real heart of the département.


Along the towpath you’ll find information panels presenting the history of the river, the buildings and the wildlife.

Some species are unique and protected:

– Yellow iris, ash and black alder …

– Tree frog, grass snake and bullfrog…

you’ll need to train your eye to see them all!

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