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.