Le Mans travel guide

Cities and towns

About Le Mans

Le Mans in Pays de la Loire is a modern city with a diverse heritage.

Although best known for its motorsports connections, specifically the famous 24 hour Le Mans motorsport endurance race, it is also steeped in history. A fortified Roman town built on a prehistoric settlement, and the former capital of the Maine Department, Le Mans' history spans millennia and can be explored in the city's many museums.

Don't miss a trip to the menhir, a 7000 year old sacred stone that stands near the striking Cathédrale St Julien. From the well preserved relic of a Roman wall to the Gothic and Renaissance churches, and the wood framed houses of the 15th century, the stunning architecture showcases a lively history and the reasons for the city's popularity as a location for film shoots such as The Man in the Iron Mask. The beautiful architecture quite literally lights up the city as the stunning Light Trail illuminates the buildings at night. 

Take a ride in a Barouche carriage through the streets of the Old Town with its eclectic mix of small boutiques and the daily market at Place du Marché where you can buy delicious local cheeses. Relish the rich taste of Le Mans' specialist dish of rillettes - a pâté style meat dish traditionally made from pork and spread thickly on toast. Don't forget to enjoy the renowned wines of the Loire Valley in the city's excellent restaurants and bars.

If you're holidaying in Le Mans, then some recommended trips are to the historic town of Laval and the Normandie-Maine Regional Natural Park which are both just over an hour's drive.

Why visit Le Mans?

  • Le Mans 24 hour race
  • The Architecture
  • The Old Town
  • The museums


  • Country: France
  • Region: Western Loire
  • Department: Sarthe
  • Population: 148,000
  • Coordinates: 48.010827,0.196724

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Find a holiday

Brittany Ferries holidays include return ferry travel with your car so you can explore at your own pace. What's more, you can pack everything you need to make the most of your time away - from bikes to surfboards and even the family pet.