Le Mans (Ле-Ман) — довольно крупный город в центре Франции, расположенный в долине Луары (регион Земли Луары). Бывшая столица провинции Мэн, «город Плантагенетов», известна теперь своей ежегодной 24-часовой гонкой. Однако, сохранилось много памятников славного прошлого города: В 11 веке за Ле-Ман боролись графы Анжуйские и герцоги Нормандии. Когда норманны захватили Мэн, Вильгель Завоеватель успешно вторгся на остров Англии и оккупировал территорию. В 1069 г жители Мэна восстали и изгнали норманнов, а Хьюго V провозгласил себя графом Мэна. Жоффре V Анжуйский женился на Матильде Английской в кафедральном соборе Ле-Мана. Их сын, Генрих II Плантагенет, король Англии, родился в этом городе.
Погода в Ле-Мане:
Путеводитель по Ле-Ману:
Добраться в Ле-Ман:
- Из Парижа: c вокзала Paris-Montparnasse, 54 минуты, билет от 33,30 € (TGV — 55 мин / TER — 2:18 в пути)
- Расписание поездов в Ле-Ман:
- 23 Le Mans — Nogent — Paris Travaux du 30-01 au 07-02 (PDF, 116.61 Ko)
- Вокзал Ле-Мана:
- адрес: Gare SNCF Place du 8 Mai 1945 72000 Le Mans
- время работы: будни 3:00 — 0:00, сб 5:45 — 23:00, вск и празд. 7:45 — 0:00
- билетные кассы: пн 6 — 20, пт — чтв 6:30 — 20:00, пт 6:30 — 20:30, сб 7 — 20, вск и празд. 8:00 — 20:30
- Из Парижа: Quibus от вокзала Paris Bercy / Paris-Orly-Sud, 3:20 в пути, билет 9,00 €
- Отправление из Парижа: 7:45, 13:38, 16:00, 16:30.
Кафедральный собор св. Юлиана
Главная достопримечательность Ле-Мана — так и недостроенный средневековый собор св. Юлиана. Первоначально это была романская церковь, на которую наложились уровни готики. Собор славится своими витражами.
Старый город Ле-Мана
Живописный исторический центр Ле-Мана (его еще называют город Плантагенетов — Cite Plantagenet) окружен остатками галло-римской стены. Местные готические церкви и особняки эпохи Ренессанса резко контрастирует с окружающей современной застройкой из стекла и бетона.
Цистерцианское аббатство Лепо
У старых ворот города расположено цистерцианское аббатство Лепо (ABBAYE DE L’ÉPAU), основанное в 1229 году королевой Беренгарией, переехавшей жить в Ле-Ман после гибели своего супруга, Ричарда Львиное Сердце.
Замок графов Мэна
Le Palais des Comtes du Maine (замок графов Мэна) сохранился в сильно перестроенном виде. Здесь родился английский король Генрих II.
Ежегодные гонки Ле-Мана
The 24 Heures du Mans
Le Mans’ associations with automobiles began early, when local bell-founder
Amadée Bollée built the world’s first car in 1873 – though it was steam-powered, as
Gottlieb Daimler’s internal combustion engine only appeared in 1887. Over a century
later, Le Mans has a huge Renault factory operating in its southwest suburbs, and the
24 Heures race is a giant of the racing calendar, attended by a quarter of a million
petrolheads – 80,000 of them British.
The first big race at Le Mans was the Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest
in 1906. Two years later, Wilbur Wright took off in his prototype aeroplane, alongside
what is now the fastest stretch of the racetrack, remaining in the air for over ninety
minutes and setting a new record in the process. 1923 saw the first 24-hour car race,
run on the present 13.6-kilometre circuit, with average speeds of 92kph (57mph). It
established the classic rule – that all drivers must make repairs on the circuit. The
original suicidal start, which saw drivers running to their cars from a standing line-up,
was only abolished in 1970, the year Porsche began their legendary winning streak.
In 1979, the actor Paul Newman finished second; the following year a Frenchman,
Jean Rondeau, won in a car he had built himself.
These days, expensively backed professional teams dominate. In 2003, the race
was won by a British team, Bentley, the first time they had taken the chequered flag
since 1930. The three drivers had covered some 5000km (3000 miles) in the 24 hours,
averaging around 210kph (130mph). For one member of the team, Tom Kristensen
this was his fourth victory in as many years and his fifth overall. Reverting to his usual
Audi R8 the following year, Kristensen went on to win again – and in 2005 he finally
passed Jacky Ickx’s 23-year-old record of six wins at Le Mans. In 2006, however, he
was beaten into third place by a different and somewhat unusual Audi, the R10 – the
first diesel-powered car ever to win the 24 Heures.
The racetrack and Musée de l’Automobile
The Sarthe circuit, on which the world-renowned 24 Heures du Mans
car race takes place each year, stretches south from the outskirts of the city,
along ordinary roads. The simplest way to get a taste of the track is just to take
the main road south of the city towards Tours, a stretch of ordinary highway
which follows the infamous Mulsanne straight for 5.7km – a distance that
saw race cars reach speeds of up to 375kph (230mph), until two chicanes were
introduced in 1989, bringing the revs down a few notches. You can follow
the straight down to the Mulsanne corner, turn along the D140 towards Indianapolis
and the Arnage corner, then follow the D139 to the Ford corner, at
the entrance to the Bugatti circuit – the dedicated race track section of the
During the three-day race weekend, held from Friday to Sunday in mid-June,
you’ll need a ticket to get anywhere near the circuit, as the roads all around are
barred off and access is tightly controlled. Tickets can be bought direct from the
organizers at wwww.lemans.org, or via the tourist office, and cost e61 for all
three days, e25 for trial days (Fri & Sat), and e39 for race day, which is always
on a Sunday. You’ll need a separate ticket (e61–102) to get access to the grandstands
of the Bugatti circuit: be sure to book well in advance. Many enthusiasts’
clubs and ticket agencies offer tour packages including accommodation
– otherwise impossible to find at race times – and the crucial parking passes;
try wwww.clubarnage.com or wwww.pageandmoy.com, or look through the
adverts in a motor-sports magazine. True petrol heads book themselves a place
at one of the circuit-side campsites. At other times of the year you can attend
the Le Mans Classic, in September, and the bikers’ 24 Heures Moto, in early
April, among other races.
Musée de l’Automobile
The Musée de l’Automobile (daily: Feb–May & Oct–Dec 10am–6pm;
June–Sept 10am–7pm; e7) is on the edge of the Bugatti circuit, the dedicated
track section of the main Sarthe circuit. As a stunning parade of some 150 vehicles,
ranging from the humble 2CV to classic Lotus and Porsche race cars, the
museum speaks for itself, but there’s also a good attempt to document the early
history of car racing, including automobile anatomy and automated assembly.
The visit ends with audio-visual displays examining the world of car racing,
including a simulated high-speed track.
LE MANS, the historic capital of the Maine region, is taken over by car fanatics
in the middle of June for the famous 24-hour race. During the rest of the year,
however, it is unfairly under-visited. As a large, industrial and traditionally leftwing
city, its atmosphere could hardly be more different from bourgeois Tours,
80km to the south, but the two cities share a passion for rillettes, a kind of potted
pork meat, as well as a good deal of history: Le Mans was the favourite home
of the Plantagenet family, the counts of Anjou, Touraine and Maine. The tiny old quarter, in the shadow of the magnificent cathedral, is splendidly preserved,
while outside town you can visit the serene Cistercian abbey of Epau and, of
course, the racetrack.
The modern centre of Le Mans is place de la République, bordered by
a mixture of Belle Epoque buildings and more modern office blocks, and
the Baroque bulk of the église de la Visitation. Almost all the sights lie
inside the beautiful old quarter, on the raised ground immediately west of
At the crown of the old town is the immense cathédrale St-Julien, on
cobbled place du Cardinal Grente (daily: late June to late Sept 8am–7pm; late
Sept to late June 8am–noon & 2–6pm; free). The approach from the east, up the
steps from place du Jet d’Eau and past the forest of flying buttresses that props
up the incredibly tall Gothic choir, is undeniably dramatic. The older half of the
cathedral, the nave, was only just completed when Geoffroi le Bel – the count
of Maine and Anjou who wore a sprig of genêt (broom) in his hat, hence Plantagenet
– married Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England, in 1129, founding the
Plantagenet line. The cathedral is one of the greatest Romanesque structures in
France, in both scale and decorative ingenuity. According to Rodin, the sculpted
figures of the south porch were rivalled only by those at Chartres cathedral
and the Parthenon in Athens; sadly, they are now blurrred by weathering. The
archaic lozenge patterns of the west front date right back to the 1050s, when
the nave was begun, but the most ancient stone of all is propped up against the
southwest corner, a strangely anthropomorphic, pink-tinted menhir that may
be a last remnant of a prehistoric sacred site at this spot. Local tradition would
have you put your fingers in the holes for good luck.
Inside, for all the power and measured beauty of the Romanesque structure,
it’s impossible not to be drawn towards the High Gothic choir. At the transept,
there’s a vertiginous leap up to the 34-metre-high thirteenth-century vault.
The whole choir is filled with coloured light, filtered through the stained-glass
windows, but the brightest colours are found in the chapelle de la Vierge,
at the easternmost end of the choir, where the stunning vault is painted with
angels singing, dancing and playing medieval musical instruments, set against a
lustrous red background. The sacristy, on the south side of the ambulatory, is
worth seeing for its single central column, which seems to fountain out into
the vault above.
The city centre
The old quarter, known as Vieux Mans, lies on a hill above the River Sarthe
to the north of the central place de la République. Its medieval streets, a hotchpotch
of intricate Renaissance stonework, medieval half-timbering, sculpted
pillars and beams and grand classical facades are still encircled by the original
third- and fourth-century Gallo-Roman walls, which are among the bestpreserved
in Europe and run for several hundred metres. Their shape, and the
elaborate geometric details set into their pink brick, are best viewed from the
river, which can be accessed by steep steps from the south side of place du
Local crafts and history are showcased at the Musée de la Reine Bérengère,
rue de la Reine-Bérengère (daily except Mon: May–Sept 10.30am–12.30pm
& 2–6.30pm; Oct–April 2–6pm; e2.80, or e6 with Musée de Tessé), which is
named after Queen Bérengère of Navarre, the wife of Richard the Lionheart.
The museum is dull, but the house is a beautiful fifteenth-century construction,
one of many on the street. The Maison des Deux-Amis, opposite, gets its name from the carving of two men (the “two friends”) supporting a coat of
arms between the doors of numbers 18 and 20.
Heading away from the cathedral, you enter the equally ancient Grande
Rue. Further down on the left, just off place St-Pierre, a sixteenth-century
apothecary’s shop known as the Maison d’Adam et Eve is superbly carved,
the pair of original sinners apparently contemplating a gigantic toffee apple.
In the 1850s, a road was tunnelled under the quarter – a slum at the time
– helping to preserve its self-contained unity. The road tunnel comes out on
the south side, by an impressive monument to Wilbur Wright – who tested
an early flying machine in Le Mans – and into place des Jacobins, the vantage
point for the St-Julien apse. From here, you can walk east through the park
to the Musée de Tessé (July & Aug Tues–Sun 10am–12.30pm & 2–6.30pm;
Sept–June Tues–Sat 9am–noon & 2–6pm, Sun 10–noon & 2–6pm; e4, or e6
with Musée de la Reine Bérengère), where the highlight is an exquisite enamel
portrait of Geoffroi le Bel, which was originally part of his tomb in the cathedral.
Otherwise, it’s a very mixed bag of paintings, furnishings and sculptures,
while in the basement there’s a full-scale reconstruction of the ancient Egyptian
tomb of Queen Nefertari, the principal wife of Ramesses the Great.
On summer nights, the cathedral and various other buildings in the old quarter
are illuminated in a son et lumière show, called la Nuit des Chimères (daily:
July 11pm; Aug 10.30pm; free), the highlight of which is a parade of mythical
monsters projected along the length of the Gallo-Roman walls.
It’s worth making a brief foray out of the old quarter to see the church of
Notre-Dame-de-la-Couture, on place Aristide-Briand. The Gothic choir
and nave mostly date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but you can still see some of the stonework and round arches belonging to the earlier Romanesque
church, especially down in the crypt, which once housed the remains of
The Abbaye de l’Epau
If car racing holds no romance, there’s another outing from Le Mans of a
much more contemplative nature, to the Cistercian Abbaye de l’Epau (daily
9.30am–11.30am & 2–5.30pm; opening hours may vary in summer to accommodate
exhibitions; t02.43.84.22.29; e3), 4km out of town off the Chartres–
Paris road. If you haven’t got your own transport, take bus #14 from place de
la République in Le Mans to the “Pologne” stop, from where it’s a five-minute
walk. The abbey was founded in 1229 by Bérengère, or Berengaria of Navarre,
the wife of Richard the Lionheart – though they rarely saw each other, and never had children, perhaps because of Richard’s probable homosexuality. In
fact, Richard repeatedly spurned her, and formally repudiated her in 1196, after
which she retired to Anjou and then, after fighting his brother John for a share
of the rapidly diminishing Plantagenet territories in France, to Le Mans.
The abbey stands in the Cistercian’s favoured rural setting, and has remained
more or less unaltered since its early fifteenth-century restoration after a fire.
You can visit the huge dormitory under its wooden barrel vault, and the typically
plain abbey church, but the chapterhouse, whose four columns support a
web of ribbed vaulting protecting Bérengère’s original tomb, is more interesting.
Her slightly outsized effigy clutches a book, representing her “life story”.
Eating and drinking
In the centre of town, the cafés and brasseries on place de la République
stay open till late, while on nearby place l’Eperon there’s a very good, if pricey,
traditional French restaurant, A Le Grenier à Sel (t02.43.23.26.30; closed Sun
& Mon; menus from e18). The interior has a restrained, contemporary feel, with
cool, pale colours, but the food has warmer and more classic tendencies: on the
e60 tasting menu, mains might include beef with truffled potatoes, and scallops
with pork belly in a cream of morel mushrooms. The most atmospheric restaurants
are located in the labyrinthine streets of Vieux Mans, the old quarter. The Auberge
des 7 Plats, 79 Grande-Rue (t02.43.24.57.77; closed Sun & Mon), does a good
range of inexpensive plats and a good-value menu at e15. For a special occasion,
make for the rustic Le Flambadou, 14bis rue St-Flaceau (t02.43.24.88.38;
closed Sat lunch & Sun), which offers very meaty dishes from Périgord and the
Landes (main courses around e15). Nearby on place St-Pierre, Le Fontainebleau
(t02.43.14.25.74; closed Mon & Tues) has pleasant outside seating facing the
Hôtel de Ville and serves classic French cuisine, with menus from e17.50.
There’s a daily market in the covered halls on place du Marché, plus a bric-abrac
market on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings on place du Jet-d’Eau,
below the cathedral on the new town side.
Путеводитель по Ле-Ману:
На англ., фр, нем. языках.
Туристический маршрут по Ле-Ману:
В окрестностях Ле-Мана:
Достопримечательности вокруг Ле-Мана:
1:20, 124 км
1:31, 133 км
109 км, 1:23
114 км, 1:25
192 км, 2 ч
124 км, 1:20