Le Mans Landmarks and Monuments

(Le Mans, Pays de la Loire, France)

Photo showing the Gallo Roman WallsLe Mans has long had an association with the world of cars, from the development of the very first steam-powered car, to today's exciting world of motor racing. Little wonder, then, that Le Mans' two race tracks have become the city's best-known landmarks

Equally worthy of a visit, though, are Le Man's historical monuments. These include ancient Celtic and Roman remains, as well as a fine example of 19th-century underground engineering. The main landmarks and monuments are explained below.

Different view of the Gallo Roman Walls

Gallo Roman Walls

Built to defend Le Mans during the 3rd century, some 1,300 metres / 4,265 feet of irregular quadrangular walls still surround the city as far as the plateau of Sargé. A dozen of its towers have been preserved, complete with their geometric black-and-white patterns, and can still be seen by visitors to the city today.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Crypte Archéologique des Thermes Romains (Roman Baths)

Address: Avenue de Rostov, Le Mans, France, FR
Tel: +33 0243 28 17 22
From the 3rd century until 1980, the Roman baths, known locally in Le Mans as the Crypte Archéologique des Thermes Romains, lay hidden from view. Now, visitors can find out all about the central role that the baths played in Roman life, through an informative video and exhibition housed underneath the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts.
Open hours: tours, by reservation only
Admission: charge

Picture showing the Bugatti Circuit

Bugatti Circuit

Address: Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, Le Mans, F-72019, France, FR
Tel: +33 0243 40 24 30
The city's short permanent circuit is named after the founder of the famous Bugatti car company, Ettore Bugatti. Over the years, it has gained a reputation for fast, entertaining racing. The circuit hosts a number of racing events throughout the year, including the '24 Hours of Le Mans' motorcycle race, the MotoGP Championship and various French club races.
Open hours: circuit open for special events and by appointment
Admission: charge

Circuit de la Sarthe

Address: Automobile Club de l'Ouest, Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, Le Man, F-72019, France, FR
Tel: +33 0243 40 24 24
Each June, the Circuit de la Sarthe race track becomes Le Mans' main attraction and an important local landmark, as racing devotees come to witness the spectacle of the world-renowned 24 Heures du Mans car race. The first race took place in 1923, and today the race still runs on the same 13.5-km / 8-mile circuit, part of which is Le Man's permanent Bugatti Circuit. The course may be the same, but today's racing drivers have to drive at speeds in excess of 220 kph / 137 mph. Visitors to the circuit can buy tickets for the 24-hour race itself, or to one of the many practice sessions held throughout the year. Alternatively, as part of the circuit is made up of public roads, it's possible to experience the infamous 'Mulsanne Straight' for yourself. Just head south of Le Mans, on the main road to Tours.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Aerial photo of the Tunnel

The Tunnel

Address: Place des Jacobins / Pont Yssoir, Le Mans, France, FR
This tunnel connects the Place des Jacobins with Pont Yssoir. Built in the 19th century to make access into Le Mans easier, it remains an interesting landmark for visitors to the city today. Of particular interest are its landscaping and lighting, together with a rather intriguing monument dedicated to pioneer aviator, Wilbur Wright.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Le Menhir

Address: Place Saint-Michel, Le Mans, F-72000, France, FR
Overlooking the River Sarthé is a huge sandstone rock. Known as Le Menhir, this monument to Celtic beliefs is said to have dominated the Old Town of Le Mans for the past 5,000 years.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free