Listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, and the only to be located in Mayenne, Sainte-Suzanne stands out for its restored facades and its Renaissance château dating from the early 17th century, known as a jewel of classical architecture. Its keep and medieval ramparts withstood attacks from William the Conqueror.
The CIAP Architecture and Heritage Centre welcomes visitors, introducing them to Mayenne local heritage, both artistic (architecture, history…), and natural heritage (flora & fauna), in fun and educational ways.
The Robert Tatin Museum
The story of a carpenter-turned-artist who decided to travel the world before settling in Mayenne, where he had grown up. For 20 years he built monumental, poetically named sculptures such as The Garden of Meditation, Dragon, Butterfly Refuge and The Alley of the 19 Giants… During his career he met Cocteau, Giacometti and Prévert, however he refused to be assimilated to any movement or academy, preferring his freedom and proximity to nature.
Jublains, or Noviodunum (meaning literally ”new town”), was created more than two thousand years ago by the Gallo-Romans, to improve living conditions for its inhabitants.
At the centre of the site are the public buildings:
- The castellun, an imposing fortress used to protect precious goods.
- The thermal baths, used for sports, hygiene, and body care.
- The ancient theatre, a place for shows and communal games.
Each year further excavations take place, and artefacts are on display in the Museum of Archaeology there.
The Valley of Caves at Saulges
The only decorated caves in the north of the Loire, two caves are open to visitors. The first, named “Cave Margot”, is 300 metres long and boasts priceless cave engraving of woolly rhinoceros, bison and even birds. The second is the Rochefort. A vertical cave, plunging into a 15-metre chasm down to an underground lake. It can be explored via steps and ladders.
In the adjoining museum, home to the latest technologies, a 3D cave reconstruction enables you to admire the cave paintings while virtual reality headsets allow you to immerse yourself in the daily life of a hunter-gatherer.
The Valley of Caves at Saulges also offers you the chance to enjoy climbing, with courses accessible to all – in particular for little ones – or simply to laze on the banks of the Erve river.
The Refuge de l’Arche (Wildlife Park and Zoo)
Located near to Château-Gontier-sur-Mayenne, The Refuge de l’Arche was created over 45 years ago. The refuge, as its name suggests, works for animals and animal protection. Its mission is to house only mistreated animals rescued from illegal animal trade or that have been abandoned. In total, around 450 mammals, 660 birds and 40 reptiles live in this wonderful haven.
The MANAS – Museum of Naïve Art and Singular Arts
The MANAS is a museum dedicated to Naïve and Singular Arts, presenting its permanent collections and temporary exhibitions across 1100m2. Its most famous contributor is Henri Rousseau, known also as the Douanier (the Customs Officer), himself a child of the Laval region. The museum houses three of his paintings. A pioneer at the time of its creation 50 years ago, the MANAS is recognised as a discoverer and supporter of artists outside of the mainstream.
It is located in the emblematic Château de Laval, a lookout overlooking the Mayenne river, and which is also open to visitors. Come and discover this medieval fortress with its circular keep, 13th century framework and its impressive ramparts.