Last updated

Prefecture Laval.JPG
Prefecture building of the Mayenne department, in Laval
Drapeau fr departement Mayenne.svg
Blason departement fr Mayenne.svg
Location of Mayenne in France
Coordinates: 48°10′N0°40′W / 48.167°N 0.667°W / 48.167; -0.667 Coordinates: 48°10′N0°40′W / 48.167°N 0.667°W / 48.167; -0.667
Region Pays de la Loire
Prefecture Laval
Subprefectures Château-Gontier-sur-Mayenne
   President of the Departmental Council Olivier Richefou [1]
  Total5,175 km2 (1,998 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019) [2]
  Rank 75th
  Density59/km2 (150/sq mi)
Demonyms Mayennais, Mayennaise
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 53
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 17
Communes 242
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Mayenne (French:  [majɛn] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is a landlocked department in northwest France named after the river Mayenne. Mayenne is part of the administrative region of Pays de la Loire and is surrounded by the departments of Manche, Orne, Sarthe, Maine-et-Loire, and Ille-et-Vilaine.


Mayenne is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. The northern two thirds correspond to the western part of the former province of Maine. The southern third of Mayenne corresponds to the northern portion of the old province of Anjou. The inhabitants of the department are called Mayennais. It had a population of 307,062 in 2019. [3]


Like 82 other departments, Mayenne was created on 4 March 1790 during the early stages of the French Revolution by order of the National Constituent Assembly. The new departments were to be uniformly administered and approximately equal to one another in size and population. The former province of Maine was partitioned into two, Upper Maine, centred on Le Mans, became the new department of Sarthe, and Lower Maine, centred on Laval became the new department of Mayenne. Anjou, to the south, being too big to form a single department, was reduced in size and became Maine-et-Loire. In this partition, Sarthe received the region of La Flèche, and Mayenne received Château-Gontier and Craon. Flax was a feature of the Mayenne economy, and the southern limit for the cultivation of flax was used to determine the new border between Mayenne and Maine-et-Loire.

The American first army's 90th Infantry Division were tasked with capturing the town in 1944. [4]


Mayenne is a department in northwestern France and is part of the region of Pays de la Loire. The department does not have a sea coast, but about thirty kilometres to the northwest is Mont Saint-Michel Bay. The capital and largest town is Laval in the centre of the department. To the north lies the department of Orne, to the east lies Sarthe, to the south lies Maine-et-Loire, to the west lies Ille-et-Vilaine and to the northwest lies Manche. The department forms a roughly rectangular shape, being 90 km (56 mi) long by 77 km (48 mi) wide, with a total area of about 5,175 km2 (1,998 sq mi). The river Mayenne flows centrally through it from north to south, passing through the towns of Mayenne, Laval and Château-Gontier. After leaving the department, the river joins the river Sarthe to form the Maine which later joins the Loire. [5]

The department is varied in topography. Much of it is largely flat, but there are also hilly areas, some with steep-sided valleys and ravines. Of the total area of 516,189 hectares (1,275,532 acres), some 354,000 hectares (875,000 acres) are arable, 69,000 hectares (170,000 acres) are grassland, 26,000 hectares (65,000 acres) are forests and woodland and 50,000 acres (20,200 ha) are heathland and moorland. [6] To the north lies the Armorican Massif, a plateau that has been eroded over time, the highest summit of which, the Mont des Avaloirs, is the highest point in the department at 417 m (1,368 ft) above sea level. A branch range to the south of this plateau forms the ridge that divides the Mayenne Valley from the Vilaine Valley. [6]

The department is subdivided into three arrondissements: Mayenne, Laval, and Château-Gontier; and is coincident with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laval.

Principal towns

The most populous commune is Laval, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 5 communes with more than 7,000 inhabitants: [3]

CommunePopulation (2019)
Laval 49,733
Château-Gontier-sur-Mayenne 16,950
Mayenne 12,823
Évron 8,614
Saint-Berthevin 7,353


Population development since 1801:

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
Sources: [7] [8]


The president of the Departmental Council is Olivier Richefou, elected in 2014.

Presidential elections 2nd round

ElectionWinning CandidateParty%2nd Place CandidateParty%
2022 [9] Emmanuel Macron LREM 64.21 Marine Le Pen FN 35.79
2017 [10] Emmanuel Macron LREM 72.02 Marine Le Pen FN 27.98
2012 Nicolas Sarkozy UMP 53.07 François Hollande PS 46.93
2007 Nicolas Sarkozy UMP 55.45 Ségolène Royal PS 44.55
2002 [10] Jacques Chirac RPR 88.59 Jean-Marie Le Pen FN 11.41
1995 [11] Jacques Chirac RPR 59.49 Lionel Jospin PS 40.51

Current National Assembly Representatives

ConstituencyMember [12] Party
Mayenne's 1st constituency Guillaume Garot Socialist Party
Mayenne's 2nd constituency Géraldine Bannier MoDem
Mayenne's 3rd constituency Yannick Favennec Becot Union of Democrats and Independents

Flora and fauna

Mayenne has a diversity of habitat types such as forest, heathland, bog and farmland. Some 1445 species of plants, 63 species of mammals, 280 species of birds, 16 species of amphibians and 11 species of reptiles have been recorded, as well as thousands of species of invertebrates. The peat-lands and bogs are often fringed with woodlands of alder and ash, and in some places carnivorous plants such as sundew and butterwort flourish, fritillaries, marsh cinquefoil and cottongrass grow and butterflies, dragonflies and spiders abound. [13]

The woodlands are mostly small with the deciduous trees dominated by oak. Here roe deer, badger, fire salamander, Aesculapian snake, middle spotted woodpecker, little owl and white admiral can be found and uncommon plants present including European columbine and wild russet apple. [13]

The dry grasslands, which cover the limestone and sandstone soils, are also rich in fauna and flora. They house the snake Vipera aspis , the Large blue butterfly, the blue-winged grasshopper and the bee orchid. The heathland in the north of Mayenne is populated by dwarf gorse and cross-leaved heath and there are plenty of spiders, nightjars and warblers. The old quarries are the refuge of bats, amphibians, the shining cranesbill and greater butterfly orchid. Rivers and ponds are home to eel, northern crested newt, European otter, kingfisher, grass snake, common moorhen and plants such as spearwort, yellow flag, arrowhead and Isopyrum thalictroides , a small poisonous plant. [13]


The department is largely rural with about 80% being used for agriculture, 8% being urban area and the remainder forest, heath and plantations. [14] Livestock farming predominates, with the breeding of cattle, horses and pigs, and also bee-keeping being important. [15] The soil is generally poor, but it is of better quality around Laval and Château-Gontier. In these parts corn is cultivated and there are plantings of hemp, flax, fruits and vines. There are many apple orchards and large quantities of cider are made. [6] The department is rich in mineral resources; iron and coal are mined and there are quarries for marble, slate, building stone, limestone and flint; the white sand deposits are used in the manufacture of glass. [6]

Industries include the manufacture of linen, paper and hemp, and cider-making is traditionally carried on in the department. [15] Office furniture is manufactured in Château-Gontier, [16] and Laval is active in the industrial sector, with dairy products, electronics and chemicals in a modern science park.


See also

Related Research Articles

The Duchy of Anjou was a French province straddling the lower river Loire. Its capital was Angers and it was roughly coextensive with the diocese of Angers. Anjou was bordered by Brittany to the west, Maine to the north, Touraine to the east and Poitou to the south. The adjectival form is Angevin, and inhabitants of Anjou are known as Angevins. In 1482, the duchy became part of the Kingdom of France, and from then remained a province of the Kingdom under the name of the Duchy of Anjou. Following the decree dividing France into departments in 1790, the province was disestablished and split into six new départements: Deux-Sèvres, Indre-et-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Sarthe, and Vienne.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indre-et-Loire</span> Department of France in Centre-Val de Loire

Indre-et-Loire is a department in west-central France named after the Indre River and Loire River. In 2019, it had a population of 610,079. Sometimes referred to as Touraine, the name of the historic region, it nowadays is part of the Centre-Val de Loire region. Its prefecture is Tours and subprefectures are Chinon and Loches. Indre-et-Loire is a touristic destination for its numerous monuments that are part of the Châteaux of the Loire Valley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maine-et-Loire</span> Department of France in Pays de la Loire

Maine-et-Loire is a department in the Loire Valley in the Pays de la Loire region in Western France. It is named after the two rivers, Maine and the Loire. It borders Mayenne and Sarthe to the north, Loire-Atlantique to the west, Indre-et-Loire to the east, Vienne and Deux-Sèvres to the south, Vendée to the south-west, and Ille-et-Vilaine to the north-west. It also borders Ille-et-Vilaine in the north for just 20 yards (19 m), France's shortest department boundary. Its prefecture is Angers; its subprefectures are Cholet, Saumur and Segré-en-Anjou Bleu. Maine-et-Loire had a population of 818,273 in 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Loir-et-Cher</span> Department of France

Loir-et-Cher is a department in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. Its name is originated from two rivers which cross it, the Loir in its northern part and the Cher in its southern part. Its prefecture is Blois. The INSEE and La Poste gave it the number 41. It had a population of 329,470 in 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eure-et-Loir</span> Department of France

Eure-et-Loir is a French department, named after the Eure and Loir rivers. It is located in the region of Centre-Val de Loire. In 2019, Eure-et-Loir had a population of 431,575.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ille-et-Vilaine</span> Department of France

Ille-et-Vilaine is a department of France, located in the region of Brittany in the northwest of the country. It is named after the two rivers of the Ille and the Vilaine. It had a population of 1,079,498 in 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Loiret</span> Department in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Loiret is a department in the Centre-Val de Loire region of north-central France. It takes its name from the river Loiret, which is contained wholly within the department. In 2019, Loiret had a population of 680,434.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Orne</span> Department of France

Orne is a department in the northwest of France, named after the river Orne. It had a population of 279,942 in 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sarthe</span> Department of France

Sarthe is a department of the French region of Pays de la Loire, and the province of Maine, situated in the Grand-Ouest of the country. It is named after the river Sarthe, which flows from east of Le Mans to just north of Angers. It had a population of 566,412 in 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pays de la Loire</span> Administrative region of France

Pays de la Loire is one of the 18 regions of France, in the west of the mainland. It was created in the 1950s to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful of "balancing metropolises" ¹.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maine (province)</span> Place in France

Maine is one of the traditional provinces of France. It corresponds to the former County of Maine, whose capital was also the city of Le Mans. The area, now divided into the departments of Sarthe and Mayenne, counts about 857,000 inhabitants.

Montreuil most often refers to Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis, in the eastern suburbs of Paris, in the Seine-Saint-Denis département.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Laval, Mayenne</span> Prefecture and commune in Pays de la Loire, France

Laval is a town in western France, about 300 km (190 mi) west-southwest of Paris, and the capital of the Mayenne department.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mayenne (river)</span> River in western France

The Mayenne is a 202.3 km (125.7 mi) long river in western France, principally located in the French region of Pays de la Loire. Together with the river Sarthe and its tributary the Loir it forms the Maine, which is a tributary to the Loire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chouannerie</span> 1794–1800 set of battles between the French revolutionaries and the royalists

The Chouannerie was a royalist uprising or counter-revolution in twelve of the western départements of France, particularly in the provinces of Brittany and Maine, against the First Republic during the French Revolution. It played out in three phases and lasted from spring 1794 to 1800.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arrondissement of Laval</span> Arrondissement in Pays de la Loire, France

The arrondissement of Laval is an arrondissement of France in the Mayenne department in the Pays de la Loire region. It has 34 communes. Its population is 112,937 (2016), and its area is 686.1 km2 (264.9 sq mi).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arrondissement of Château-Gontier</span> Arrondissement in Pays de la Loire, France

The arrondissement of Château-Gontier is an arrondissement of France in the Mayenne department in the Pays de la Loire region. It has 76 communes. Its population is 73,769 (2016), and its area is 1,527.4 km2 (589.7 sq mi).

The following is a list of the 17 cantons of the Mayenne department, in France, following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Catholic Diocese of Laval</span> Catholic diocese in France

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Laval is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite diocese in France. The episcopal see is Laval Cathedral in the city of Laval. Created in June 1855, the diocese was originally erected from the Diocese of Le Mans, and corresponds to the department of Mayenne. Under the Ancien Régime the diocese of Mans had an Archdeacon of Laval, whose responsibilities extended over the deaneries of Ernée, Évrun, Laval and Mayenne. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Rennes, Dol, and Saint-Malo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Loire</span> Longest river in France

The Loire is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of 1,006 kilometres (625 mi), it drains 117,054 km2 (45,195 sq mi), more than a fifth of France's land, while its average discharge is only half that of the Rhône.


  1. "Répertoire national des élus: les conseillers départementaux"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 4 May 2022.
  2. "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2019". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 29 December 2021.
  3. 1 2 Populations légales 2019: 53 Mayenne, INSEE
  4. Schama, Simon (1989). Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution. New York: Knopf.
  5. Philips' Modern School Atlas. George Philip and Son, Ltd. 1973. pp. 42–43. ISBN   0-540-05278-7.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Comprehensive Dictionary of the World. Mittal Publications. 1992. pp. 806–807. GGKEY:RC6C27C4NE1.
  7. "Historique de la Mayenne". Le SPLAF.
  8. "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  9. "Les résultats du second tour de l'élection présidentielle". 19 April 2022.
  10. 1 2 "Présidentielles".
  11. "Résultats de l'élection présidentielle de 1995 par département - Politiquemania".
  12. Nationale, Assemblée. "Assemblée nationale ~ Les députés, le vote de la loi, le Parlement français". Assemblée nationale.
  13. 1 2 3 "Exposition: "La Biodiversité en Mayenne"" (in French). Mayenne Nature Environnement. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  14. "Le contexte Meyennais" (PDF) (in French). Préfecture de la Mayenne. 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  15. 1 2 Bozman, E.F. (1966). Everyman's Encyclopaedia: Volume 8. J.M. Dent and Sons. p. 301.
  16. Weiler, Nolwenn (25 January 2015). "En Mayenne, des salariés sauvent leur entreprise de la faillite". Basta ! (in French). Basta!. Retrieved 24 September 2015.