France

Things to do in Le Mans

Home to one of the world’s most famous motor races, Le Mans is a must-visit for motorsport fans, but there are plenty of things to do in Le Mans for those who visit outside of this event too.

The city boasts a beautiful old quarter, plenty of museums, and a fantastic zoo, so there is lots to keep you occupied no matter what you love to do while you are on holiday.

Located in northwestern France, Le Mans can be reached in just over 4 hours from Calais by car and the drive is very easy as it is mostly dual carriageways, plus you will find a number of interesting places to stop on the way if you need a break. So why not book your crossing and start planning your trip today?

DVR

Dover Port

CQF

Calais Port

Morning

01:35

05:05

07:00

10:00

Midday

11:30

Afternoon

14:30

16:10

Evening

19:10

20:50

23:55

French Yachts Beach

Things to do in Le Mans

24 Hours of Le Mans
When you think about things to do in Le Mans, this famous race is probably the first thought that pops into your head. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the longest running endurance race which makes it very popular among both motorsport fans and even those who don’t follow the sport too!
 
This event gives drivers the chance to drive as far and fast as they can within 24 hours, and usually takes place during a weekend in the middle of June. If you visit Le Mans outside of when the race is on, you can drive on some of the track yourself as part of it is formed from public roads.
 
Anyone with an interest in motorsport and automobiles will enjoy exploring the 24 Hours of Le Mans museum. Home to 120 vehicles, 40 of which have won the race in the past, this museum offers visitors plenty of information about the event’s history, details about some of its best-loved drivers, and the chance to see race suits and other accessories too.
Race track in Le Mans

Riding a horse through a forest in Le Mans

Arche de la Nature

Just 10 minutes from the centre of Le Mans you will find Arche de la Nature, a park run by the council which offers guests a choice of educational and fun activities to take part in, including forest walks that allow you to discover all about nature and the different species that live in the area.

Throughout the year the Arche de la Nature hosts a number of workshops and festivals, plus you can choose to rent a bike or canoe, ride through the forests on a horse, or have a go at Disc-Golf, a game where instead of using a ball and club you throw a frisbee at holes in order to score points!

Cité Plantagenêt

The old quarter of Le Mans, known as Cité Plantagenêt, is a quaint and quirky area featuring cobbled streets, timber framed houses, and renaissance hotels, which make it the perfect place to wander around and get a feel for what the city was like in the past.

Cité Plantagenêt is home to the Le Mans Cathedral, which at 134 metres in length is one of the largest cathedrals in France. The cathedral was built from the 6th to the 14th century so it is made up from a whole range of different styles, and two of its most impressive features are its stained glass windows and flying buttresses.

You can pick up an audio guide and map of Cité Plantagenêt at the tourist office if you would like to learn about the area, and if you happen to take your trip over one of their heritage days you may even be able to have a look in some of the buildings that are usually closed to the public.

Le Mans old town

Chapel of Verniette of Conlie

Museums in Le Mans

There are plenty of museums in Le Mans to keep you occupied if you want to add a bit of art and culture to your trip. For artwork, artefacts and furniture from between the 15th and 19th centuries, head to the Tessé museum which was originally home to collections from the Tessé family but has since expanded. Here you will find two floors of permanent exhibitions and an Egyptian gallery.

Those with an interest in science and nature will love Le Mans’ Green Museum which houses around 450,000 specimens across its temporary and permanent exhibitions. Want to discover more about the history of Le Mans itself? The Museum of La Reine Bérengère is the place to go. Located in three timber-framed houses, this museum offers plenty of information about the area with art, ceramics, and furniture from between the 18th and early 20th centuries.

If all of these great things to do in Le Mans have tempted you to visit the city for yourself, don’t delay and book your Dover to Calais crossing today!

The city boasts a beautiful old quarter, plenty of museums, and a fantastic zoo, so there is lots to keep you occupied

24 Hours of Le Mans: The Ultimate Guide

While the French are blissfully wedded to world-class cooking and devoted to fine wine, the nation’s long love affair with fast cars is hardly a well-kept secret.

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