Top row: left, Le Mans 24-hr automobile race in June; right, Le Mans Justice Department Office; Middle row: View of Sarthe River and historic area, including the Palais of Comtes du Maine; Bottom row: left, Le Mans Tramway in Gambetta Street; center, Facade built in Le Mans Commerce Center; right, Saint Julien Cathedral
|Region||Pays de la Loire|
|Canton||Le Mans-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7|
|Intercommunality||Le Mans Métropole|
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Stéphane Le Foll|
|52.81 km2 (20.39 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,700/km2 (7,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||38–134 m (125–440 ft) |
(avg. 51 m or 167 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
Le Mans ( // , French: [lə mɑ̃] (
Its inhabitants are called Manceaux and Mancelles. Since 1923, the city has hosted the internationally famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance sports car race.
First mentioned by Claudius Ptolemy,the Roman city Vindinium was the capital of the Aulerci, a sub tribe of the Aedui. Le Mans is also known as Civitas Cenomanorum (City of the Cenomani), or Cenomanus. Their city, seized by the Romans in 47 BC, was within the ancient Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis. A 3rd-century amphitheatre is still visible. The thermae were demolished during the crisis of the third century when workers were mobilized to build the city's defensive walls. The ancient wall around Le Mans is one of the most complete circuits of Gallo-Roman city walls to survive.
As the use of the French language replaced late Vulgar Latin in the area, Cenomanus, with dissimilation, became known as Celmans.Cel- was taken to be a form of the French word for "this" and "that", and was replaced by le, which means "the".
As the principal city of Maine, Le Mans was the stage for struggles in the eleventh century between the counts of Anjou and the dukes of Normandy. When the Normans had control of Maine, William the Conqueror successfully invaded England and established an occupation. In 1069 the citizens of Maine revolted and expelled the Normans, resulting in Hugh V being proclaimed count of Maine. Geoffrey V of Anjou married Matilda of England in the cathedral. Their son Henry II Plantagenet, king of England, was born here. In 1154, during the reign of his uncle King Stephen, Henry landed in England with an army, intent on challenging Stephen for the throne. Some of the members of that feudal force were known by the surname 'del Mans' (Latin for of Mans, as the city was then known.) In medieval records pertaining to the history of Gloucester is a reference to one such man, Walter del Mans, and beside his name 'Cenomanus' was added by the medieval scribe, so that there is no doubt as to Walter's origin. In the English censuses down to the twentieth century the surname Mans (latterly often spelled Manns) was virtually confined to the counties of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and their borderlands, reflecting the original settlement patterns in the Welsh Marches of the original followers of Henry's from Le Mans in 1154. A John Mans/Manns was escheator of Hereford 1399-1400. One family from [Le] Mans held the manor of Dodenham, Worcestershire. (Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, Item 96, ca.1200; Fine Roles Henry III, 23 Aug. 1233 [Hereford];'Parishes: Doddenham', A History of the County of Worcester, volume 4 (1924), pp. 260–62.) Intercourse between England and Le Mans continued throughout the Angevin period.
In the 13th century Le Mans came under the contol of the French crown. It was subsequently invaded by England during the Hundred Years War.
Industrialization took place in the 19th century which saw the development of railway and motor vehicle production as well as textiles and tobacco manufacture.
Wilbur Wright began official public demonstrations of the airplane he had developed with his younger brother Orville on August 8, 1908, at the Hunaudières horse racing track near Le Mans.
Soon after Le Mans was liberated by the U.S. 79th and 90th Infantry Divisions on 8 August 1944,engineers of the Ninth Air Force IX Engineering Command began construction of a combat Advanced Landing Ground outside of the town. The airfield was declared operational on 3 September and designated as "A-35". It was used by several American fighter and transport units until late November of that year in additional offensives across France; the airfield was closed.
Le Mans has an oceanic climate influenced by the mild Atlantic air travelling inland. Summers are warm and occasionally hot, whereas winters are mild and cloudy. Precipitation is relatively uniform and moderate year round.
|Climate data for Le Mans (1981–2010 averages)|
|Record high °C (°F)||17.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.9|
|Average low °C (°F)||2.1|
|Record low °C (°F)||−15.2|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||67.2|
|Average precipitation days||11.2||9.3||10.2||9.5||10.0||7.3||7.6||6.5||8.0||10.7||10.5||11.8||112.6|
|Average relative humidity (%)||87||83||78||74||75||73||72||74||79||86||88||88||79.8|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||66.2||89.7||134.3||170.9||199.7||224.1||227.4||224.9||181.0||118.8||70.9||63.9||1,771.8|
|Source 1: Meteo France|
|Source 2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity, snowy days 1961–1990)|
At the 1999 French census, there were 293,159 inhabitants in the metropolitan area ( aire urbaine ) of Le Mans, with 146,105 of these living in the city proper (commune).
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The Gare du Mans is the main railway station of Le Mans. It takes 1 hour to reach Paris from Le Mans by TGV high speed train. There are also TGV connections to Lille, Marseille, Nantes, Rennes and Brest. Gare du Mans is also a hub for regional trains. Le Mans inaugurated a new light rail system on 17 November 2007.
The first French Grand Prix took place on a 64-mile (103 km) circuit based at Le Mans in 1906.
Since the 1920s, the city has been best known for its connection with motorsports. There are two official and separate racing tracks at Le Mans, though they share certain portions. The smaller is the Bugatti Circuit (named after Ettore Bugatti, founder of the car company bearing his name), a relatively short permanent circuit, which is used for racing throughout the year and has hosted the French motorcycle Grand Prix. The longer and more famous Circuit de la Sarthe is composed partly of public roads. These are closed to the public when the track is in use for racing. Since 1923, this route has been used for the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance race. Boutiques and shops are set up during the race, selling merchandise and promoting products for cars.
The "Le Mans start" was formerly used in the 24-hour race: drivers lined up across the track from their cars, ran across the track, jumped into their cars and started them to begin the race.
The 1955 Le Mans disaster was a large accident during the race that killed eighty-four spectators.
The city is home to Le Mans Sarthe Basket, 2006 Champion of the LNB Pro A, France's top professional basketball division.
The team plays its home games at the Antarès, which served as one of the host arenas of the FIBA EuroBasket 1999.
Le Mans was the birthplace of:
Notable residents include:
Died in Le Mans:
Le Mans is twinned with:
The culinary specialty of Le Mans is rillettes , a shredded pork pâté.
Located at Mayet near Le Mans, the Le Mans-Mayet transmitter has a height of 342 m and is one of the tallest radio masts in France.
Angers is a city in western France, about 300 km (190 mi) southwest of Paris. It is chef-lieu of the Maine-et-Loire department and was the capital of the province of Anjou until the French Revolution. The inhabitants of both the city and the province are called Angevins. Not including the metropolitan area, Angers is the third most populous commune in northwestern France after Nantes and Rennes and the 17th in France.
Sarthe is a department of the French region of Pays de la Loire situated in the Grand-Ouest of the country. It is named after the River Sarthe, which flows from east of Le Mans to just north of Angers.
Maine[mɛːn] is one of the traditional provinces of France. It corresponds to the former County of Maine, whose capital was also the city of Le Mans. The area, now divided into the departments of Sarthe and Mayenne, counts about 857,000 inhabitants.
Olivier Gendebien was a Belgian racing driver who was called "one of the greatest sportscar racers of all time".
The 1967 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Bugatti Circuit, Le Mans on 2 July 1967. It was race 5 of 11 in both the 1967 World Championship of Drivers and the 1967 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The race was the first French Grand Prix to be held in Le Mans since the first ever running of the race in 1906, and as of 2020 is the only time the Bugatti Circuit has been used for the Grand Prix, though the circuit continues to host the French motorcycle Grand Prix.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France. It is considered one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world and has been called the "Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency". The event represents one leg of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, other events being the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. Unlike fixed-distance races whose winner is determined by minimum time, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is won by the car that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours. Racing teams must balance the demands of speed with the cars' ability to run for 24 hours without mechanical failure. In the 2018 race, 41 of the 60 qualifying cars ran the full duration.
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest, sometimes abbreviated to ACO, is the largest automotive group in France. It was founded in 1906 by car building and racing enthusiasts, and is most famous for being the organising entity behind the annual Le Mans 24 Hours race. The ACO also lobbies on behalf of French drivers on such issues as road building and maintenance, the availability of driving schools and road safety classes, and the incorporation of technical innovations into new vehicles. It also runs a roadside assistance service for its members.
La Flèche is a town and commune in the French department of Sarthe, in the Pays de la Loire region in the Loire Valley. It is the sub-prefecture of the South-Sarthe, the chief district and the chief city of a canton, and the second most populous city of the department. The city is part of the Community of communes of the Pays La Flèche. The inhabitants of the town are called Les Flèchois. It is classified as a country of art and history.
The Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, also known as Circuit de la Sarthe located in Le Mans, Sarthe, France, is a semi-permanent motorsport race course, chiefly known as the venue for the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race. Comprising private, race-specific sections of track in addition to public roads which remain accessible most of the year, its present configuration is 13.626 kilometres (8.467 mi) long, making it one of the longest circuits in the world. The capacity of the race stadium, where the short Bugatti Circuit is situated, is 100,000. The Musée des 24 Heures du Mans is a motorsport museum located at the main entrance of the venue.
Darren Turner is a British professional racing driver currently racing for Aston Martin Racing as a factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
A number of video games have been made of Le Mans 24 Hours. The race, the Circuit de la Sarthe, and competing cars have been featured in racing games such as the Gran Turismo series.
Simon Pagenaud is a French professional racing driver. He currently drives the No. 22 Chevrolet for Team Penske in the IndyCar Series. After a successful career in sports car racing that saw him taking the top class championship title in the 2010 American Le Mans Series, he moved to Formula Racing in the Indycar Series where he became the 2016 IndyCar champion and the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner, becoming the first French driver to win the Indianapolis 500 since Gaston Chevrolet in 1920 and the first polesitter to have won the race since Helio Castroneves in 2009.
William des Roches was a French knight and crusader who acted as Seneschal of Anjou, of Maine and of Touraine. After serving the Angevin kings of England, in 1202 he changed his loyalty to King Philip II of France and became a leading member of his government.
The 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 76th Grand Prix of Endurance, taking place on 14–15 June 2008 at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France, organised by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO). The test day was on June 1. The race was attended by 258,000 spectators. The Audi team's progress and victory was documented in the 2008 film Truth in 24.
The Le Mans Legend is a vintage sports car race held during the 24 Hours of Le Mans festivities. Created in 2001, it was created by the Motor Racing Legends group, and supported by the ACO, organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Fresnay-sur-Sarthe is a commune in the Sarthe department in the region of Pays-de-la-Loire in north-western France. On 1 January 2019, the former communes Coulombiers and Saint-Germain-sur-Sarthe were merged into Fresnay-sur-Sarthe.
Benoît Tréluyer is a French professional racing driver.
Stefan Mücke is a German professional racing driver.
L'Épau Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey founded by the English queen Berengaria of Navarre in 1229. It is located on the outskirts of the city of Le Mans, on the left bank of the Huisne, adjoining the town of Yvré-l'Évêque. The abbey was suppressed in the French Revolution. The surviving buildings came close to destruction on several occasions, but their preservation was finally assured in 1958 by the General Council of the Sarthe department.
The following are results from the automobile and motorcycle races contested at the Circuit de la Sarthe and Bugatti circuits in Le Mans, France.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Le Mans .|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Le Mans .|