Château de Mayenne, Pays de la Loire (Mayenne)
About 40 miles from us is the recently restored “Musée Château de Mayenne”, in the centre of the town of Mayenne, the chief town of the department of the same name in Pays de la Loire.
The Mayenne Castle Museum tells the story of the castle and town of Mayenne since Carolingian times, when a fortress was built overlooking the river to defend the region from Breton invaders. It was only during excavations in 1993 that it was discovered that the origins of the building dated back so far, to the 9th and 10th centuries.
Following that initial discovery there followed 15 years of archaeological digs, during which many rare treasures were unearthed including tens of thousands of ancient coins and some unique backgammon and chess pieces.
Over the past few years a small fortune (over 4.5 million euro) has been spent on stabilising and restoring the fortress and ramparts, and equipping it as a state-of the art museum. The Mayenne castle and museum were opened to the public in summer 2008.
The museum uses sound and light to illustrate the genesis and development of the castle through the centuries. Particularly inventive, we thought, were the outlines cast by projectors on the walls to show successive changes to the window and door architecture.
The lights are accompanied in the main rooms by audio commentaries in English and in French – look for the buttons to press as you go into each room. There are also interactive computer screens which children find particularly appealing, and information panels in both English and French.
You can hire an audio guide from the ticket desk – we did this, but with virtually all of the same information available free, we thought this was actually a waste of money.
October to March : 9h –12h30 / 14h –17h
April, May, June, September : 9h –18h
July – August : 10h – 19h
Closed Mondays except July and August
Closed 25 – 26 December, 1 – 2 January, 1 May
Parking in the square near the entrance to the Château de Mayenne, next to the Tour des Anglais.
Fully wheelchair accessible thanks to lifts between floors.
Tel. +33 (0)2 43 0. 17 17
Access to the Castle of Mayenne from the B&B:
All sites are within easy reach of our B&B in Lower Normandy
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