Information about the 134km long river Mayenne and the 18km long river Oudon

The Mayenne is one of the delightful river navigations of the Anjou region, long abandoned by commercial traffic but increasingly popular as a cruising waterway. It was conceded by the State to the Pays-de-la-Loire region, allowing development of the river as a cruising waterway and tourist asset. The Mayenne was canalised in the 19th century from Mayenne to its confluence with the Loire at Bouchemaine, a distance of 134km. For many years the upstream 26km section to the town of Mayenne was no longer navigable, but the 17 locks and weirs in this section were restored in 1986-1990 by the region and département. Boats are once again able to reach Mayenne. Note however that only boats with limited air draught can proceed upstream of Laval (see under Headroom).Mayenne-reg

Just above the town of Angers the Mayenne is joined by the Sarthe, and from this point it takes the name of Maine. The development of pleasure cruising (especially with deep-draught boats) was long hindered by the severely limited draught during summer drought periods on the lower non-canalised sections of both the Mayenne and the Maine. This situation was remedied by construction of a new weir and lock downstream of Angers. A secondary channel, known as the Vieille-Maine, forms a cross-link with the Sarthe downstream of Montreuil-Belfroy. For craft passing from one river to the other, use of this link saves 5km by comparison with the route via the confluence, although most navigators will probably prefer to visit Angers for the facilities offered in the town.

The river Oudon, a right-bank tributary of the Mayenne, is canalised over a distance of 18km from the Mayenne to the small town of Segré, where a port de plaisance has been established near the head of navigation.


History – The Mayenne was navigable in its natural state up to Château-Gontier. Above here, flash locks were built from the mid-16th century, and trade developed up to Laval. Economic expansion in the 17th and 18th centuries justified canalisation, not only to Laval but also upstream to Mayenne. This extension, with 20 locks and weirs, was built at the same time as about 40 flash locks were replaced by 25 weirs and locks, some in short lock-cuts, between 1853 et 1878. At this time it was planned to build a watershed canal north from Mayenne to the tidal river Orne at Caen, but the project was abandoned as railways became the preferred carrier of freight. The navigation was abandoned after World War II, but restored from the 1970s as a cruising waterway. The upstream section was completed in the early 1990s. The départements remain concessionaries from the State until ownership is transferred outright to the Region Pays de la Loire.

The Oudon was canalised at the same time as the lower Mayenne, in the 1850s, to link the market town of Segré to Angers and the Loire. The waterway carried construction timber, granite and slate brought to Segré from the upper valley. It was abandoned after World War II, but restored in the 1970s at the same time as the Mayenne.

Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max Beam: 5.20m
  • Max Height: 2.10m
  • Max Draught: 1.40m

Local Waterway Links



Locks There are 45 locks between Mayenne and Montreuil-Belfroy. The first 37 are 31.00 by 5.20m, the last eight being slightly longer (33m). Signs have been installed on the locks to distinguish the different situations which boaters will encounter:
–    Red disk: lock closed, passage forbidden.
–    Yellow disk: lock in operation, and worked by the lock-keeper (whether resident or posted temporarily).
–    Blue disk: lock in operation, to be worked by the boat’s crew (forbidden at night).
All locks up to Laval are normally worked by lock-keepers, while upstream to Mayenne lock operation is do-it-yourself. During the high season (June to September) a maintenance team supervises this section of the river and is available to provide assistance as necessary. Restrictions may apply outside the cruising season, which is from April to October inclusive.

Draught The maximum authorised draught is 1.40m, increased to 1.80m from Angers to the confluence with the Loire.

Headroom Above Laval the air draught is restricted by the limited headroom under the Pont de l’Europe, 2.80m above normal water level and 2.10m above the highest navigable water level. From Laval to the confluence with the Sarthe the bridges offer a minimum headroom of 4.10m above normal water level, reduced to 3.40m above the HNWL. On the Maine the normal headroom is 6.40m.

Authority DDE Mayenne
–    rue Mac Donald, cité administrative, BP 3842, 53030 Laval cedex 09
–    Mairie, 10 r de Verdun, 53100 Mayenne



Locks There are three locks, overcoming a difference in level of 3.50m. Their dimensions are 33.00 by 5.20m.

Draught The maximum authorised draught is 1.50m, although in times of drought boats drawing more than 1.00m may have difficulty.

Headroom The least headroom under the bridges is 4.60m above normal water level, reduced to 3.60m above the highest navigable water level.

Towpath There is a rough towpath throughout, with metalled sections near the locks.

Authority DDEA – 15 bis rue du Petit Thouars, 49047 Angers

Click to enlarge

Route description

PK 0.0     Bridge (MacRacken), head of navigation
PK 0.2     Bridge
PK 0.4     Mayenne, quay and moorings, l/b, town with all facilities
PK 0.7     Bridge
PK 0.8     Lock 1 (Mayenne)
PK 3.4     Saint-Baudelle bridge, village 300m r/b
PK 3.6     Lock 2 (Saint-Baudelle)
PK 5.2     Le Val, hamlet and chapel, l/b
PK 7.5     Lock 3 (Grenoux), r/b
PK 9.5     Lock 4 (La Roche)
PK 10.5     Lock 5 (Boussard)
PK 13.1     Lock 6 (Corçu), La Giraudière, small village l/b
PK 14.3     Lock 7 (Bas-Hambert)
PK 14.5     Montgiroux bridge, boat moorings, sanitary building, showers, telephone, grocery, Martigné 4km l/b, Saint-Germain-d’Anxure 2.5km r/b
PK 14.7     Lock 8 (Communes), Montgiroux castle r/b
PK 15.9     Lock 9 (Port)
PK 17.3     Lock 10 (Nourrière), castle on hillside l/b
PK 18.3     Lock 11 (Verrerie)
PK 19.2     Lock 12 (Richardière)
PK 19.8     Lock 13 (Fourmondière supérieure)
PK 20.0     Bridge (Rochefort), Andouillé 3km r/b
PK 20.1     Lock 14 (Fourmondière inférieure)
PK 20.9     Lock 15 (Moulin Oger)
PK 23.9     Lock 16 (Ame)
PK 24.7     Lock 17 (Maignannerie)
PK 26.3     Saint-Jean-sur-Mayenne bridge, quay for 2 boats d/s l/b, water, electricity, shower, village r/b
PK 27.1     Lock 18 (Boisseau), l/b and weir
PK 28.9     Motorway bridge (A81)
PK 29.9     Lock 19 (Belle-Poule) l/b and weir
PK 31.0     Changé bridge, village r/b
PK 32.4     Bridge (Pritz, D900, Laval ring road)
PK 33.5     Lock 20 (Bootz) l/b and weir

This view of tranquil river in the evening sun was captured from a TGV crossing the viaduct upstream of Laval. © Raimo Ketolainen
This view of tranquil river in the evening sun was captured froma TGV crossing the viaduct upstream of Laval. © Raimo Ketolainen

PK 34.0     Railway viaduct and footbridge
PK 34.3     Laval bridge (Pont de l’Europe), quay u/s and d/s r/b, Anjou Navigation hire base, 10 berths, night €3, water,
electricity, showers, slipway, pump-out, restaurant

Town centre on both banks

PK 34.7     Bridge (Pont Neuf)
PK 34.8     Lock 21 (Laval) l/b and weir
PK 35.0     Bridge (Pont Vieux)
PK 35.6     Boat moorings (base nautique) l/b
PK 35.9     Lock 22 (Avenières) l/b and weir
PK 36.0     Bridge (Pont d’Avenières, D57, Laval ring road)
PK 38.7     Lock 23 (Cumont) r/b and weir
PK 39.3     Saint-Pierre-le-Potier l/b
PK 42.3     Lock 24 (Bonne) r/b and weir
PK 43.9     Lock 25 (Port-Ringeard) r/b and weir
PK 44.0     Entrammes bridge (D103), village 1800m l/b
PK 44.1     Boat moorings l/b
PK 45.0     Lock 26 (Persigand) r/b and weir
PK 48.5     Lock 27 (Briassé) r/b and weir
PK 51.2     Lock 28 (Bénâtre) r/b and weir, picnic area, Origné 800m r/b, pontoons
PK 53.2     Lock 29 (Fosse) r/b and weir
PK 58.0     La Valette bridge (D4), mooring and picnic area, castle u/s l/b, Houssay 1000m r/b
PK 59.4     Lock 30 (Rongère) r/b and weir, castle u/s r/b
PK 62.1     Saint-Sulpice boat moorings for 2 boats, water, shower
PK 62.2     Lock 31 (Neuville) r/b and weir
PK 65.8     Lock 32 (Roche-du-Maine) r/b and weir, picnic area d/s r/b
PK 68.4     Lock 33 (Mirvault) r/b and weir, slipway
PK 70.5     Château-Gontier bridge, quay d/s r/b, moorings  u/s l/b, free for 48h, water, electricity, shower €2, small town spread on both banks
PK 71.1     Bridge (N162, Château-Gontier ring road)
PK 71.7     Lock 34 (Pendu) r/b and weir
PK 71.9     Disused railway viaduct
PK 72.4     Azé l/b
PK 75.9     Lock 35 (Bavouze) r/b and weir, recommended restaurant
PK 76.6     Entrance to lock-cut, r/b
PK 77.4     Bridge
PK 77.8     Lock 36 (Ménil), moorings for 3 boats u/s r/b, water, electricity, shower, slipway, end of lock- cut, weir l/b
PK 77.8     Ménil r/b
PK 81.6     U/s tip of island, navigation r/b arm
PK 82.1     Lock 37 (Fourmusson) r/b
PK 83.8     Daon bridge, moorings and Canalous Plaisance hire base u/s l/b, 2 berths, night €5 (one night free), water, electricity €2.50, shower, slipway, village and leisure park ‘Au Fil de l’Eau’ l/b
PK 88.0     Lock 38 (La Jaille-Yvon) r/b and weir, small village r/b
PK 90.5     Lock 39 (Chenillé-Changé) in short cut, r/b
PK 90.6     Chenillé-Changé l/b, Canalous Plaisance hire base, free mooring one night only, water, electricity
PK 92.1     Chambellay bridge, mooring for 4 boats, water, slipway, village r/b
PK 93.6     Lock 40 (Roche-Chambellay) in short cut, r/b
PK 96.8     Lock 41 (Montreuil-sur-Maine) r/b and weir
PK 96.9     Montreuil-sur-Maine quay for 8 boats, water, electricity, slipway, village r/b
PK 98.0     River divides, keep to r/b arm
PK 99.0     Bridge (Pont de l’Aubinière, D770), Le Lion d’Angers 2000m r/b
PK 101.0     Confluence of Oudon, r/b
PK 101.8     Entrance to lock-cut, r/b

Grez-Neuville is one of many pretty villages along the Mayenne. © Manfred Heyde/Wikimedia
Grez-Neuville is one of many pretty villages along the Mayenne. PK 102.9 © Manfred Heyde/Wikimedia

PK 102.7     Lock 42 (Grez-Neuville) r/b and weir, end of lock-cut
PK 102.9     Grez-Neuville bridge, quay, Anjou Navigation hire base u/s r/b, 3 berths, night €7, water, electricity, slipway, village 200m l/b
PK 106.3     Pruillé r/b (ferry), moorings
PK 107.3     Lock 43 (La Roussière) r/b and weir
PK 107.4     La Roussière château and quay r/b
PK 108.9     Entrance to lock-cut, r/b
PK 109.4     Lock 44 (Sautré), end of lock-cut, weir l/b
PK 110.4     Port-Albert quay l/b, Feneu 1300m
PK 113.1     Bridge (Juigné-Béné), quay d/s r/b,
PK 115.6     Lock 45 (Montreuil-Belfroy) in cut, r/b, weirs l/b (cruising information available here and at lock 44)
PK 118.2     Cantenay-Épinard bridge (heading u/s take r/b arm), mooring for 3 boats, water, slipway, village 700m l/b
PK 118.9     River divides, Vieille-Maine l/b leads to Sarthe
PK 120.9     Ferry
PK 122.5     Confluence of Sarthe , l/b, Mayenne becomes Maine
PK 122.6     Railway bridge
PK 122.7     Motorway bridge (Viaduc de la Maine, A11)

Mooring in Angers, with the Saint-Maurice in the background © Mekong 49
Mooring in Angers, with the Saint-Maurice in the background. PK 125.3 © Mekong 49

PK 123.0     Bridge (Jean-Moulin), inner ring road
PK 124.1     Tramway bridge (Confluences), also for pedestrians/cyclists
PK 124.4     Bridge (Pont de la Haute-Chaîne), quays l/b
PK 125.0     Bridge (Pont de Verdun)
PK 125.3     Angers port de plaisance in basin r/b opposite château and town centre, trip boats, 15 berths, €7.50 (one night free) water, electricity
PK 125.5     Bridge (Pont de la Basse-Chaîne), quay (Éric Tabarly) d/s r/b
PK 126.5     Road bridge (Pont de l’Atlantique, N23)
PK 126.7     Lock (Angers) r/b and weir
PK 127.2     U/s tip of island (Robinson), navigation in  l/b arm, commercial quay l/b
PK 127.7     D/s tip of island, navigation in l/b arm
PK 128.1     Basin l/bAngersJnPlan
PK 129.4     Bridge (Pruniers, formerly rail)
PK 131.7     Railway bridge
PK 132.4     Bouchemaine suspension bridge, village r/b
PK 132.9     Former oil tanker quay r/b
PK 133.7     Confluence with Loire, navigable d/s only

Vieille Maine

PK 0.0     Junction with Mayenne at PK 118.9
PK 3.0     Junction with Sarthe at PK 128.3


PK 0.0     Confluence with Mayenne (PK 101), Bec d’Oudon, bridge
PK 2.0     Le Lion-d’Angers bridge, quay d/s r/b for 20 boats, water, electricity, moorings free for 2 nights, village r/b
PK 4.0     Bridge (N162)
PK 8.0     Lock 3 (Himbeaudière) l/b and weir
PK 8.8     Bridge (Pont du Port-aux-Anglais), Andigné 1000m r/b
PK 14.0     Lock 2 (La Chapelle-sur-Oudon) l/b and weir, village r/b
PK 16.9     Bridge (D775)
PK 17.0     Lock 1 (Maingué) l/b and weir
PK 17.1     Railway bridge
PK 18.0     Segré, head of navigation (Moulin de la Tour), port de plaisance d/s at former quay, 6 berths, shower, slipway, pump-out

self-drive canal boat rental france


Hiring your own cruising boat is an ideal way to explore and experience the pleasures and treasures that the French waterways have to offer. Hire boats come in different sizes, to suit a couple, a family or you and your friends, and your ‘hands on the wheel’ holiday can be arranged from start to finish by any of the reputable companies to be found on

Base locations map – Anjou