Laval is a town of 55,000 inhabitants in the Mayenne department. The modern outskirts of the town are not very attractive, unlike the medieval centre, split by the river Mayenne, once the scene of much commerce and industry, such as the bateaux-lavoirs but now mainly used by pleasure boats.

The painter Henri Rousseau, known as “Le Douanier” (“the customs officer”), from his day-job, was born in Laval in 1844, and the town celebrates its famous son in the Museum of Naive Art which includes a reconstruction of his Paris studio as well as two of his works.


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