From charming market towns to picturesque villages, discover the banks of the rivers Mayenne, Oudon, Maine, and Sarthe on foot. Castles, abbeys, watermills, and lockkeeper’s houses line the towpaths of the Rivers of Western France.
Explore the Mayenne Valley
To follow the course of the Mayenne, get on the old towpath which snakes its way along the river. In days of old, it served as passage for men and horses to tow boats from the riverbank.
One of the most beautiful Green Lanes of France
A towpath turned hiking trail extends over 85km (53mi) from Daon to Mayenne and is accessible to walkers, cyclists, and horseback-riders alike. It counts among the most beautiful Green Lanes of France. Along the well-maintained trail, information panels tell the story of riverboating, the architectural heritage (lockkeepers’ houses, mills) as well as flora and fauna.
A few walking trails that pass by the river
When you’re walking on foot, you can take your time and easily access the heritage of the towns and villages constructed along the water, such as Château-Gontier, Chenillé-Changé, Grez-Neuville, and many others. From the towpath of the river Mayenne you can access backcountry walking trails to discover the surrounding countryside.
The tour of the Isle-Briand
Enjoy a bucolic walk in the wooded park of the Isle-Briand which is bordered by the rivers Mayenne and Oudon. A hub for horses and riding, this location offers great views of the hippodrome and the market town of Lion d’Angers. A 7km (4mi) long walking trail traverses the undergrowth, pastures, and the towpath.
A stopover on the island of Saint-Aubin
Between the rivers of Mayenne, Maine, and Sarthe lies the charming island of Saint-Aubin. After a short crossing by ferry, you will find yourself on the nature trail which meanders across 600 hectares of meadows. Though the site is flooded during the winter, pleasant walks on the island await you from early spring onwards.
Go for a walk with the whole family along the river Sarthe
Take some time to wander through the centres of charming market towns which line the banks of the river Sarthe and offer stunning views of the river.
Around Solesmes Abbey
From the church of the small town of Juigné you will be able to get great views of the Abbey of Solesmes which dominates the valley. Don’t miss out on the mediaeval monuments in Asnières-sur-Vègre, a village declared “little town of character”, through which runs the picturesque river Vègre. The close-by towns of Avoise, Parcé-sur-Sarthe, and Malicorne offer further beautiful walks.
A walk on both banks of the river Sarthe
Treat yourself to a walk from one bank to the other of the river Sarthe. Setting off from Châteauneuf-sur-Sarthe, you will follow the river in the direction of Juvardeil. After the bridge you will pass some old lime kilns before reaching the cable ferry in Jurvadeil. It is easy to operate and will be great experience for the children! The walk continues on the left bank upriver to return to Châteauneuf.