Etymologically spoken, however, the name of Laval, in all likelihood, merely stands for "the valley" in French ("la vallée" in contemporary language), to capture the lush valley of the Mayenne river, wherein Laval is situated.
This name commonly appears in other French location names, sometimes with a second word, such as in Laval-d'Aurelle (Ardèche) or Laval-sur-Doulon (Haute-Loire).
Laval is a relatively new foundation in comparison to other French cities.
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The linen industry remained the principal activity in Laval until the 20th century, when milk processing became more profitable.