The mill at Thévalles

With 4,500 km of waterways, it is not surprising that the department of the Mayenne had at its peak, some 1,500 operational water mills. These were used for purposes ranging from operating defence machinery, fulling, and tanning leather, to grinding corn.

Admission is by guided tour offered in French, and the tour guide will start the machinery for you when you are there. As you walk around the mill, you can feel the rumbling under your feet, as well as see and hear the cogs and mechanisms working. The massive oak and iron water wheel is especially impressive and there are also seven miniature model mills on display.

The mill is situated on the river Erve just a little way downstream from Les Hallais. It's a 5Km drive, and to reach it by car turn right out of Les Hallais, go over the river, up the hill and turn right at the T junction at the sign for the 'Site et Grottes'. Follow the road into Saulges and then follow the signs out of Saulges towards Chémeré le Roi. The mill at Thévalles is signposted off to your left.

The mill can also be reached on foot by a beautiful walk that follows the course of the river. Begin as for the oratory of St Céneré, then follow the signs on from there. Allow at least an hour each way.

Allow an hour to explore the site and enjoy the guided tour. Open May-September 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00 except Sunday mornings and Monday mornings. There is a small charge for the tour.

Back to sightseeing