The French city and circuit of Le Mans are synonymous with motorsport - having hosted two and four wheel races and endurance events for many years. Le Mans first held a motorcycle Grand Prix event in 1969, when the great Giacomo Agostini won the 500cc race, lapping all the other riders on his MV Agusta.
The modern circuit has been a permanent fixture on the MotoGP™ calendar since 2000. Local French fans are knowledgeable and passionate about their racing, with a boisterous atmosphere at races. French riders of different eras and in different classes such as Johann Zarco, Christian Sarron, Olivier Jacque, Arnaud Vincent, Guy Bertin, Randy de Puniet and Mike Di Meglio have brought their country race wins and titles, adding to France’s significant racing heritage.
A large modern European republic with centuries of epic history - a country of elegant cities, miles of beaches, towering mountains, wonderful local food and vast areas of unspoiled countryside, France has a romance all of its own.
Paris is a powerful and enchanting capital city and it's hard not to fall in love as you take in its trendy wide tree-lined boulevards. The River Seine, the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, and the countless charming cafes and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré add to the its intrigue.
In the wider Paris region, the Palace of Versailles is one of the world’s architectural masterpieces. Elsewhere, cities such as Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, and Montpellier have rich histories, cuisine and local cultures to be discovered.
Explore the beautiful regions of Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées, Burgundy and Champagne-Ardenne and your love affair with France will grow stronger.
A visit to Le Mans - a city of just under 150,000 people on the Sarthe River - is also a real treat, with plenty to keep you entertained.
Weather: MotoGP™ visits Le Mans in May, when there are pleasant temperatures - average daily highs being 21°C (70°F) and nightly lows dropping to 9°C (48°F). It is not uncommon for the races to be affected by rain at Le Mans at this time of year so it’s advisable to pack waterproof clothing and footwear.
Le Mans is the capital of the Sarthe department, and is a big enough place to provide a wide variety of accommodation options for visitors.
Away from the city there are many quieter places for camping which can be found within a few km of Le Mans.
In the city-centre itself you will find some typical business-style hotels and a range of basic to luxury hotels.
Another option is to hire an apartment in the city for a few nights or if you prefer to experience the French countryside then rent a typical gîte for an authentic Gallic stay.
History, style, fine dining and wine are abundant in the Loire Valley, little wonder then that it is sometimes referred to as the ‘Garden of France’, given the plethora of orchards, farms and vineyards here.
Great local produce such as artichoke and asparagus are to be treasured, whilst the Rillettes pork pate you will find in many Le Mans bars, restaurants or butchers shops tastes excellent on a fresh French baguette.
The Loire Valley is serious wine territory with local wine regions including Sancerre & Pouilly-Fumé, Anjou-Saumur, Vouvray and Touraine, Chinon and Muscadet, from which Chenin blanc and Sauvignon blanc wines are produced in great quantity and excellent quality.
There may be no better place to enjoy a glass of French wine than an elegant château. Naturally, this area of France features some of the country's most extravagant fortresses, including Le Lude which is perhaps the easiest to reach from Le Mans - just 45km away from the city.
The Bugatti Circuit is a permanent race track located within the Circuit des 24 Heures of Le Mans and is named after Italian-born French automobile designer and manufacturer Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti.