Top 5 Reasons to Visit Le Mans, France

So I’m pretty new to this whole blogging thing, but I was thinking about the first bit of content I should write about and decided that I wanted to write about a town that’s near and dear to my heart: Le Mans.

 

I lived in Le Mans for a little over 10 months while I worked as an English TA at a local high school, and while it may not be a major city like Paris, it definitely has its draws!  The students I worked with complained that Le Mans was small and boring, but for me it was a fantastic place to live and it’s a great place for someone to visit!  So let’s jump into my list of just some reasons why you should visit Le Mans!

 

 

 

1) Le Vieux Mans

Le Vieux Mans is what we might call in English, “the old town”.  It’s my #1 reason to visit Le Mans mainly because of how beautiful this part of the city is.  As you walk through the streets, you feel as if you’re transported into a different time!  Visiting the old town always made me think about what life must have been like years and years ago.  Le Vieux Mans is quaint with its small, cobblestone streets and shuttered windows.  You can even make your way to a small overlook where you can see the part of town on the other side of the river.  It’s no wonder why some filmmakers decided to use this part of town as a backdrop, like in the film “Cyrano de Bergerac”.

 

One of my favorite spots!

 

2) L’explorateur [ http://www.creperie-lexplorateur.fr/ ]

 

Their business card is so cute!

 

My favorite gallette: le Québécois

This second reason could kind of go hand-in-hand with the first, considering it’s located in Le Vieux Mans.  But I had to put it in its own spot on this list.  L’explorateur is a magnificent crêperie with an extensive menu of both savory and dessert crêpes.  The theme of the restaurant is, if you can tell from its name, travel and exploration, and the menu follows this theme, as the savory crêpes (aka gallettes) are all inspired from different countries around the world!  My friends and I went here NUMEROUS times and the owner recognized us pretty early on.  He is a super nice guy who always made us feel welcome, even when we showed up literally as the doors opened.  If you ever make the trip, I recommend le Québécois, which has a fried egg, bacon, and maple syrup.

 

 

 

3) Day Trips

Le Mans is in a prime location to use as a home base during your visit to France.  Located only 1 hour by TGV from Paris, it’s easy to get to if you fly in to Paris, or if you want to visit Paris but not pay extortionate amounts to stay there.  If you’re looking to spend a little less money on trains, you can also get a regular-speed train (called the “TER”) which takes about two hours.  Prices vary by the type of train and the time of day, but in general I can recall spending usually around 30€ for a one-way ticket.

 

Some other great cities you can get to that are close-by: Angers, Nantes, Tours, Versailles, Orléans, Rennes…among plenty of others!

 

PS – The TGV = the “Train de Grande Vitesse”, basically called the “super fast train”.  The TER = the “Transport Express Régional”.  This one I think you can probably translate yourself!  =P

 

 

4) The Roman Walls

This is a treat for history buffs and for any Americans who are dying to see something that’s like, 100x older than anything in our history (please don’t fact-check my math.  I’m bad at math).  According to www.World-Guides.com, the Roman Walls in Le Mans are about 1300m in length and date back to the 3rd century.  The walls border Le Vieux Mans, and on the other side is a quaint walking path near the river.

 

Lights on the roman walls!

 

 

In July and August, there is a light show every night called “La Nuit des Chimères” where different moving picturesare cast up on the Roman Walls and other various structures in the old town.  It’s definitely worth checking out.  My favorite lights were seen on the Cathédral du Mans.

 

The cathedral all lit up!

 

5) 24h du Mans

Le Mans is probably most well-known for its massive annual sports car race called 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is held in June.  Because I lived in Le Mans between August and early May, I didn’t get to experience this event myself.  I can share with you some information based on what I was told from colleagues.

 

First and most importantly: Patrick Dempsey apparently attends each year.

 

Secondly, and I had to fact-check, this one, there are generally over 200,000 people who attend this event.  Considering the population of the city is somewhere around 160,000, that means a lot of tourists go to this event!

 

Thirdly, a bunch of the main roads in Le Mans are shut down from the public and are used as part of the race track.  I can remember a colleague driving me home once and pointing out some of the roads that are used for the race.

 

There is a museum that you can visit in Le Mans if you’re interested in learning more about this sporting event.  My friends and I never made it there so I can’t give you my personal experience, but this event is definitely something to put on the bucket list if you’re a fan of cars and racing.

 

 

I hope I’ve convinced you that Le Mans is worth a trip!  Please check out any of the links below if you’re interested in doing some of your own research. =)

 

Resources:

https://maps.google.com/

http://www.creperie-lexplorateur.fr/

http://www.world-guides.com/europe/france/pays-de-la-loire/le-mans/le_mans_landmarks.html

http://www.nuitdeschimeres.com/?lang=en

http://www.lemans.org/en

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to use one of these images to share it on Pinterest! =)

 

12 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons to Visit Le Mans, France

  1. Le Mans looks like a stunning place to visit. I especially loved the cathedral lit up at night! The proximity to Paris is certainly appealing – you can get a taste of the capital and then escape easily to enjoy some smaller town French charm.

  2. I liked how you inserted Patrick Dempsey in your post:-) Le Mans looks beautiful and full of history

  3. Le Mans has a great deal more to offer than an annual car race ! The compact Vieux Mans and its well-kept cobbled streets and beautiful 15th-century timbered houses looking as if they were built yesterday, are beautiful. For those with an interest in matters horticultural as well as cultural, in early October Le Mans holds an open garden event 🙂

    1. I totally agree! Most people I’ve spoken to only know Le Mans because of the car race, but there’s so much more to see there!! This list is just a small amount of the things Le Mans has to offer. =)

  4. This town looks so beautiful! I would definitely love to visit when I go to France again. Did you to TAPIF? I studied French in university and was considering doing it, but ultimately decided not to. I have a couple friends doing TAPIF in La Réunion.

    1. Yes, I was doing TAPIF while living in Le Mans! I also studied French in college, and was unsure of what to do after I graduated so I ended up applying for and then doing TAPIF. It was a great experience!

  5. I think it’s a great town to visit if you’re in that region. I’d never heard of it before up to now.

  6. It was so interesting reading about Le Mans! I remember watching Cyrano de Bergerac in one of my French classes. I didn’t know part of it was filmed there. The Roman Wall looks like a spectacular sight. Definitely adding Le Mans to my France bucket list!

  7. I’ve driven passed Le Mans many times but I never stopped there! Maybe I’ll stop next time 😉

  8. France is one of those countries that I would like to see more of than just the capital. I love crepes and the French coountryside. The cathedral looks amazing all lit up too! So unique

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