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Tourist attractions Le Mans

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  • 1 Cathedral of St Julien Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    Place St-Michel

    Note the superb Gothic chevet which must be seen it for its system of flying buttresses. Then looking out over place Saint-Michel there is a very attractive doorway. Inside, the chancel (34m high and lit by stained-glass windows) has a depth and capa..

  • 2 Sarthe Automobile Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    9 place Luigi-Chinetti

    Tracing the history of the 24 Heures du Mans (Le Mans 24 Hour Race), this museum has around 100 vehicles, many of them race winners, displayed in a modern and informative manner. Display cases, models and touch screen technology recount the story of ..

  • 3 Le Mans Old Town Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. St-Michel

    Mounted on its hill and protected by a Gallo-Roman wall, the old town of Le Mans shaded by its cathedral is made up of cobbled lanes punctuated by stairways and bordered by half-timbered and stone houses. This tranquil place, where time seems to stan..

  • 4 Gallo-Roman Walls Interesting

    Archaeological and historical sites

    r. des Chapelains

    Brilliantly restored along the Sarthe waterfront, this 1 300m-long construction with 11 towers is one of the finest of its type still extant in France. Under the rays of the sun, the alternation of bricks and black and white geometric motifs crowned ..

  • 5 House of Reine Bérengère Interesting

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    9 r. de la Reine-Bérangère

    This elegant house was built in 1460 for a Le Mans alderman. It is embellished by an arched door, with ridge pieces on its historiated corbels, and a half-timbered sculpted façade. As far as poor Bérangère (wife of Richard the Lionheart) is concerned..

  • 6 Tessé Museum Interesting

    Museums and art

    2 avenue de Paderborn

    Established in the old bishop's house built on the site of the Tessé family residence, whose fine picture collections were seized in 1793. Note the Plantagenet enamelwork, an important collection of Italian paintings (the little saint with narrowed e..

  • 7 Church of the Couture Interesting

    Religious buildings

    pl. Aristide-Briand

    This belongs to the Abbey of St-Pierre-de-la-Couture then situated in open country. The facade bears witness to the four centuries of its construction ; the Gothic towers (end of 13C) the door (13 and 14C) and the stained glass windows (14C) The nave..

  • 8 Joan of Arc's church (old Coeffort Hospital) Interesting

    Religious buildings

    Place Washington

    This attractive 12C building was originally the sick room for the hospital that Henry II Plantagenet founded in 1182 to expiate the murder of Thomas Becket. Just a legend? The elegant vaults are in any case in the style called Plantagenet.

  • 9 Abbaye de l'Épau Interesting

    Religious buildings

    Route de Changé

    This Abbey situated In a rural setting beside the Huisme, was founded in 1229 by Queen Bérangère. The monastic buildings are organised around a cloister. The cloister is home to a refectory, a scriptorium and a dormitory. The church is from the 13C b..

  • 10 House of the tourelle

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. des Pans-de-Gorron

    This is an attractive Renaissance house with dormer windows decorated with delicate foliated scrolls.

  • 11 Place Saint-Michel

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. St-Michel

    On this peaceful square at n°1 at the foot of the cathedral is the canonical residence where the satirical writer Paul Scarron (1640-1660) stayed. He was the author of Roman comique and first husband of the future Mme de Maintenon. Note the little im..

  • 12 House of the two friends

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    18-20 r. de la Reine-Bérangère

    Built in the 15C it was lived in the 17C by Nicolas Denizot, poet and painter, friend of Ronsard and of du Bellay. The two friends are represented there holding each other by the hand and proffering an ecu.

  • 13 Town Hall

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    1 place St-Pierre

    This was built around 1760 within the walls of the counts of Maine's palace. Looking to the right on the staircase leading to the Rue Rostov-sur-le-Don, note the southeast flank of the ramparts of the old town.

  • 14 Hôtel de Vignolles

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. de l'Écrevisse

    Crowned by high French-style roofs, this 16C residence is situated at the entrance to the rue d'Ecrevisse.

  • 15 House of Adam and Eve

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    71 Grande-Rue

    Jean de l'Epine, doctor and astrologer built this superb Renaissance house. On the medallion Adam would be in fact Bacchus, as demonstrated by his staff surrounded by vine leaves (they are both dressed the same which causes the confusion).

  • 16 Hôtel du Grabatoire

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    r. des Pans-de-Gorron

    Sited near the cathedral, this 16C house derives its name from an earlier building that was an infirmary for sick clergy. Today it is the episcopal residence. On its right is the Pelerin or pilgrim house, decorated with St James's scallops (a pilgrim..

  • 17 Horticulture garden

    Nature and gardens

    pl. des Jacobins

    Jean-Charles Alphand (1817-1891) designed this garden laid out with rocks and a cascading stream. He was a collaborator with Haussman, and then he became the landscape gardener for Buttes-Chaumont, Montsouris Park and the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.

  • 18 Place et quinconces des Jacobins

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    pl. des Jacobins

    Famous for its view over the superb chevet of the St Julien's cathedral this large somewhat cold square occupied by parking lot, has been traced back to the site of the Convent of the same name.

  • 19 Yssoir Bridge

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Pt Yssoir

    This bridge over the River Sarthe offers a view over the cathedral, the old town, the Gallo-Roman walls and its brick and stone geometrically designed pavements. Near to the Sarthe, there is a walk that takes in some of the remains of the medieval fo..

  • 20 Church of Notre Dame du Pré

    Religious buildings

    pl. du Pré

    This is the old Benedictine abbey church of St Julian du Pré; inside there is a Romanesque chancel and capitals.

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