Le Mans

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Le Mans is a town in France, best known for its annual 24 hours automobile race. Le Mans is twinned with Bolton, England.

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Points of Interest in Le Mans

  • Take your time to get up to date information at the Office du Tourisme (Tourism center[1]), located in Rue de l'Etoile. It is a 10 mins walk from the Cathedral.
  • The splendid Saint-Julien Cathedral, located in the heart of the town, is a magnificent example of the lengths and efforts put to build up such buildings in the Middle Ages. With its reversed rounded arches, it is one of the most impressive religious monuments in the area, and one of the largest cathedral in France. Its building started in the 11th century and took over 500 years. Techniques and styles evolved throughout its history, as a result the cathedral is a mix between various architectural styles. The nave is pure Romanesque, but the choir is in flamboyant Gothic. The stained glass inside the cathedral should not be missed. One of the panes, dating back from the twelve century, is actually the oldest stained glass still standing in the world.
  • The Old City (Cite Plantagenet), just behind the cathedral, is a large and nice example, with many houses and buildings dating back from the late middle age \ beginning of renaissance (look for the Pilier Rouge or the Maison des Deux Amis). The paved streets and limited traffic make for a nice strolling in this very "middle age looking" old town. In the old town, you can stop at the little Musee de la Reine Berengere Museum for some displays about the local history. The large Palais de Comtes du Maine palace is now part of the city hall and can not be visited. Ruins of a Roman thermal building dating from the 3rd century, have recently been uncovered. They can be visited with a prior reservation (02 43 28 17 22).
  • The Gallo-Roman Walls, around the old city, date back from the third century and are still in excellent condition.
  • The Musee de Tesse museum, just outside of the old city, offers displays of various interest, with a reconstitution of an Egytian tomb at the basement.
  • L'abbaye de l'Epau (Epau Abbey), on the Eastern side of the town, was founded by Queen Berengaria of Navarre, widow of Richard I of England (Richard Lionheart). Only ruins were remaining during the 1950s, but after 30 years of restoration, the Abbey, now a proprety of the prefecture, can be visited and is used for cultural events, notably the Festival de l'Epau [2].
  • The circuit of the 24 Heures du Mans is located at the south end of the city. The famous Hunaudieres straight is actually part of the public road from Le Mans to Tours. You can visit some of the rest circuit, though it is of limited interest if there is no race. Seeing the 24 h, is of course a very different story. The town buzzes with many international visitors and the noise of the motors can be heard from the city center. Try to stay awake for the whole 24 h, as the glow of the carbon brakes in the night with racing faster than Formula One is unforgettable. The tradition at the end of the race is for the public to invade the circuit. Although it is officially prohibited, a few thousand people each year take the chance of a lifetime to take a stroll on the bitumen. Close to the circuit is a large Automobile Museum, open even if there is no race.

St-Julien Cathedral

Musee de Tesse

Bugatti Circuit

24 Hours of Le Mans Museum

Circuit de la Sarthe

Palace of Congress and Culture

Abbaye de l\'Epau

MM Arena

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Popular events in Le Mans in the near future

Date: Category: The event list provided by Eventful
The event list provided by Eventful

About Le Mans

Background

The rich and 17 centuries long history of Le Mans, former capital of the province of Maine, is too often eclipsed by the annual worldwide famous 24 h race, held on the brink of the city.

There are, however, beautiful reminders of the past and a gloriously restored old city, which was used as a backdrop for several movies. The cathedral Saint-Julien, at its heart, is a wonder and should not be missed.

The city is very easily accessible from Paris, it has much to offer and deserves more than only a short trip to its circuit when the motors roar. The "Cité Plantagenêt" may be one of the best-kept secrets in France.

Food

Rillettes, a kind of boiled pork pate, is the culinary specialty of Le Mans. It actually tastes much better than its description. You can buy some rillettes in almost every meat shop in town, and it makes for the perfect sandwich pasted on some fresh baguette.

A very good variety of restaurants is found in the town center and especially in or around the old city. For 50 Euros and a very good sample of French cuisine, give a try to Le Grenier A Sel, 26 Place de l'Eperon, La Ciboulette, 14 Rue de la vielle porte, or Le Nez Rouge, 107 Grande rue, all of them close or inside the old city. Le Baobab, on the same street as La Ciboulette, offers some African cuisine at the very heart of the old city.

The area closer to Place de la Republique, popular with young people on weekends, offers cheaper eats, with several kebab shops that would fill you for 10 euros or less.

Drinks

Le Mans is a rather quiet town (except for a few hours once a year) and the university campus is quite far from the centre, so on weekdays the streets are almost empty and the bars are calm, to say the least.

The majority of bars and pubs are located close to Place de la Republique. The main arteries for an evening drink in Le Mans would be Rue du Port, going from Place de la Republique to Sarthe river, and Rue du Docteur Leroy, also starting from Place de la Republique.

On weekends, there are a few busy spots, you can check Le Mulligan's, 44 Rue du docteur Leroy, an Irish pub, or the Le Passeport du cochon vert, 25 Place d'Alger (its name would poetically translate as The Green Pig Passport), both are frequented by a young clientele.

In the old town, Le Saint-Pierre, 7 Place Saint-Pierre (facing the town hall), is completely packed during the week-ends. Going down from the old town towards the place de l'éperon, Le Chicago 5 rue de la vieille porte, is the place to be for cocktail amateurs, with a rum/Cuban-themed ground floor and a lounge/prohibition theme on the first floor.

One of the heritage houses of the old city, Le Pilier Rouge, 5 rue du Pilier Rouge, has been fully restored into a bar. It is located right above the huge tunnel crossing under the old city.

There are a few gay bars, notably La Limite, 7, Rue Saint-Honore in the old city, or L'Arc en ciel, 2 Rue Doree, also in the old city.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Le Mans on Wikivoyage.

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