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Mayenne

Trip Planner Europe  /  France  /  Pays de la Loire  /  Mayenne
(4.4/5 based on 800+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: museums, historic sites, wildlife areas
Mayenne is a commune in the Mayenne department in north-western France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department. It is situated on the river Mayenne.HistoryIn medieval times, the town was the seat of the Lords of Mayenne. The town originated when Juhel II of Mayenne built a monastery near the gate of the pre-existing castle, which led to the formation of the settlement.Mayenne was besieged two times in 1574 and 1590, and suffered substantial damage. It was rebuilt and re-embellished in the following century thanks to the help of Cardinal Mazarin. It however suffered from plague in 1707.On 9 June 1944, during World War II, it was bombed by English aeroplanes, which caused heavy damage and numerous casualties.Main sightsThe Château, built in the 11th century over remains of a Carolingian edifice. It has five towers, only one of which has kept its original conical roof. The vaulted rooms and the chapel have 13th century decorations. Once used as a prison, since 2008 it is home to a museum.The Basilica of Notre-Dame, founded in 1100. Of the original building, the piers and the arcades of the nave remain.Romanesque church of St. Martin, enlarged in neo-medieval style during the 19th century.Twin townsMayenne is twinned with: Waiblingen, Germany, since the 1970s Devizes, UK, since the 1970s Jesi, Italy, since 2001
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