Le Mans is situated on River Sarthe and is a popular tourist destination in France. It used to be the capital of Maine province but is now the capital of Sarthe. The city has been a constituent of the Pays de la Loire region. The city has been the host of the internationally popular 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1923. The inhabitants of this city are known as Mancelles and Manceaux. Here is our list of the best things to do in Le Mans, France.
1. Le Mans Cathedral
This beautiful Catholic cathedral is located in Le Mans, France and is dedicated to the first bishop of the city, Saint Julian of Le Mans. The bishop spread Christianity in the locality in the 4th century. The construction of this famous cathedral dates from around the 6th century to the 14th century. You can see several French Gothic elements in it. The cathedral is notable for its rich stained glass.
Le Mans Cathedral
Address: 2 Place Saint Michel, 72000 Le Mans, France
Website: Le Mans Cathedral
2. La Nuit des Chimères
Organized by Le Mans city, La Nuit des Chimères is a nightly cultural event held once a year since 2005. This festival uses holograms and lights up the entire old town from Tuesday to Saturday during the summer. Visitors are allowed to take a night stroll free of cost and marvel at the rich architectural heritage. The projected graphics narrate the tale of the Plantagenet city and life during the Middle Ages.
La Nuit des Chimères
Address: Cité Plantagenêt, 72000 Le Mans, France
Website: La Nuit des Chimères
3. Cité Plantagenêt
The residents of Le Mans feel proud that their city is linked to the Plantagenet dynasty, which produced England’s rulers for over three centuries. In 2003, the old quarter was christened with the name. The old quarter has several streets lined with charming old houses surrounded by timber frames along the border of the Gallo-Roman walls. You can also catch glimpses of beautiful renaissance palaces adorned with elegantly carved walls. It is better to avail the services of an experienced guide from the local tourist office so that you don’t miss out on any surprises.
Website: Cité Plantagenêt
4. Circuit des 24 Heures
For many people, the City of Le Mans is inseparable from the word “24 Hours.” This proves how popular the event has been since it started in 1923. The Le Mans 24 Hours is one of the most prestigious motor races and the most ancient motor race that still continued and is regarded as an ultimate test of both endurance and skill for the participating vehicle and its driver. For people who are fanatics of motorsports, this circuit is like a paradise. For everyone else, the circuit is regarded as a piece of contemporary heritage.
Circuit des 24 Heures
Address: Circuit des 24 Heures, CS21928, 72019 Le Mans Cedex 2, France
Website: Circuit des 24 Heures
5. Gallo-Roman Walls
These walls date back to the 3rd century and span up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) between the Sarthe and the Cathedral in Le Mans, France. The walls were intended to protect this city with as many as 26 towers and were a part of a colossal rectangle once upon a time. When you have a closer view of the walls, you just cannot miss the beautifully designed geometric pattern with alternating layers of pale pink mortar, red brick, white limestone and sandstone.
6. Historic Houses
With the help of the local tourist office, you can get a list of all the marvelous old houses that you simply cannot afford to skip during your stay at Le Mans. Some of them include the mesmerizing Maison d'Adam et Eve located at Grande-Rue. It is one of the finest structures built during the Renaissance era showing Bacchus and Ariadne and not Adam and Eve. Also, try to visit the great distinguished-looking Hotel de Vignolles with its unique sloping roof from the year 1549 in Le Mans.
Website: List of historic houses in Le Mans
7. Musée des 24 Heures du Mans
Car racing is popular in Le Mans and the town boasts of its own exclusive museum. Most visitors simply love the collection of automobiles that are put on display there. There are 120 vehicles on display, including 40 race cars that have participated in the event. When you visit this museum, you can learn how this famous race started and introduce yourself to the details of some memorable personalities from the pages of history. You can see a number of competing vehicles including the Audi safety car, the official one heritage cars, suits and goggles from former race champions and filling stations in the museum.
Musée des 24 Heures du Mans
Address: 9 Place Luigi Chinetti, 72100 Le Mans, France
Website: Musée des 24 Heures du Mans
8. Musee de Tesse
This is LeMan’s Museum of Fine Arts. To enjoy your visit thoroughly, you can avail one of the several guided tours. There are different tours based on various themes. The museum is situated outside the park of Tesse and enjoys proximity to the Quinconces of the Jacobins. The edifice is an ancient episcopal palace and has a rich collection of paintings.
Musee de Tesse
Address: 2 Avenue de Paderborn, 72100 Le Mans, France
Website: Musee de Tesse
9. Abbaye de l’Epau
Back in 1229, Queen Berengaria founded an erstwhile Cistercian abbey called ‘Epau Abbey.’ The abbey is situated on the outskirts of the City of Le Mans. During the French Revolution, the abbey was suppressed. Although a few buildings survived the revolution, they were on the verge of ruin on various occasions. In 1958, the preservation of these buildings was assured.
Abbaye de l’Epau
Address: Route de Changé, 72530 Yvré-l'Évêque, France
Website: Abbaye de l’Epau
10. Maison de la Reine Bérengère
The museum boasts a versatile ethnological collection on the Maine region as well as of Le Mans. The building where the museum is housed was built in the 15th century and is in an excellent state of conservation. It is situated in the Plantagenet city. The museum got its name from Berangere de Navarre, who was Richard Coeur de Lion’s wife. She was one of the dowagers in the city and resided in the palace of the counts of Maine with her spouse. The palace is now the town hall of the city.
Maison de la Reine Bérengère
Address: 7-13 Rue de la Reine Bérengère, 72000 Le Mans, France
11. Papea Parc
Papea Parc was previously known as Papea City and is a popular amusement park in the city spread over an area of 0.22 square kilometers (0.08 square miles) in the Sarthe. The park has an outdoor venue along with a log flume, roller coaster, mini farm, water park and lake where you can enjoy boating with your dear ones.
Papea Parc (Yvre-l'Eveque)
Address: Lieu-dit Neptune – 72530 Yvré l’Évêque, France
Website: Papea Parc
12. Arche de la Nature
This is a huge natural space situated just 10 minutes from the main area of Le Mans. You can take a stroll, discover the beauty of the flowing river, explore the forest or go to the Prairie Farm. There are approximately 460 hectares (1,140 acres) of open space to enjoy the natural beauty of the place.
Arche de la Nature
Address: 43 Rue de l'Estérel, 72100 Le Mans, France
Website: Arche de la Nature
13. Local delicacies
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The city has earned a name for its good quality of meat and if you are a carnivore, you have arrived at the right place. Some of the popular local delicacies that you may savor during your visit include beef, pork and other poultry items like guinea fowl and Capone, which are usually made with mushrooms and potatoes. However, the most-well known delicacy in the city is none other than the rillette, which is usually made with pork but is also available in fish, chicken and duck varieties. Check out La Vieille Porte for some delicious food!
La Vieille Porte
Address: 12 Rue de la Vieille Porte, 72100 Le Mans, France
Website: La Vieille Porte
Fall in love with Le Mans
Whether you are a car racing fanatic or nature lover or want to enjoy a quiet and relaxing vacation, the city of Le Mans has everything for you on a platter. Plan for a holiday and enjoy your stay with your loved ones now.
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