Le Mans

Car race

Le Mans (pop 148,000) stands today as the capital of the Sarthe Department and is known for its pork products as well as its iconic,and sometimes tragic, 24 Hours of Le Mans-the world's oldest endurance motor race held annually since 1923.  During the 1955 race a competitor’s vehicle crashed into a crowd and killed the drivers along with more than 83 spectators.

Le Mans was once known as the Roman city of Civitas Cenomanorum and remnants of this Gallo-Roman period still exists in its landscape.   Buried behind its post-modern exterior, lies the fine old town of Cite Plantagenêt, which sheathes the half-timbered and stone houses that line its cobbled streets. The town stands in the shadow of the grand gothic Cathedralé St-Julien [Place du Cardinal Grente], which houses intriguing statues and an intricate system of flying buttresses. The town is also shielded by the ancient Gallo-Roman walls [rue des Chapelains] which stretch 300m long, sporting 11 towers in between.






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LE MANS:   1. Tourist office  2. Train station (south of map limits; zoom out to view)  3. Cathedralé St-Julien  4. Cite Plantagenêt area