LTravelling to Le Mans is totally part and parcel of the Le Mans experience. The journey is always a brilliant spectacle for the motor enthusiast, no matter what event you are attending. It is like a cannonball run of superb marques many of which have been professionally stickered.
The majority of fans travel by car, motorhome or motorbike. The obvious route is via the short channel crossings such as with P&O Ferries Dover - Calais or with Eurotunnel Folkestone - Calais. Travelling by ship from Dover - Calais is slightly longer but does allow you to rest, eat and shop. You can opt to purchase Priority Boarding which will allow you to be one of the first on the ship. Head to the Brasserie and enjoy a hearty full English breakfast - it is the perfect way to start a Le Mans trip. Alternatively, book the Club Class Lounge which allows a little space and calm. The Eurotunnel route is quick - only 35 minutes - and this speed of crossing is certainly attractive. Similarly, their Flexiplus ticket offers a lounge, speedy check-in and the ability to travel on any crossing of the day. From Calais, you can travel to Le Mans almost entirely by motorway. You may encounter delays around Rouen but it is essentially a straightforward journey that should take four and a half hours at a legal speed. Some suggest travelling via Paris although we cannot see any advantage in this.
If you wish to keep the mileage to a minimum - for those in classic cars or motorbikes perhaps - Brittany Ferries do offer longer channel crossings from Portsmouth and Poole which take you in to Caen, Cherbourg, St Malo or Le Havre. Crossings with Brittany Ferries are more expensive than the short crossings but your journey time from port to Le Mans can be as little as two hours and you will save on any motorway tolls.
Routes to Le Mans from Channel Ports
From: Calais Time: 4.5 hours Distance: 430 kilometres Toll Cost: 38 euros
From: Le Havre Time: 3.0 hours Distance: 220 kilometres Toll Cost: 26 euros
From: Caen Time: 2.0 hours Distance: 170 kilometres Toll Cost: 17 euros
From: St Malo Time: 2.5 hours Distance: 230 kilometres Toll Cost: 12 euros
From: Cherbourg Time: 3.5 hours Distance: 290 kilometres Toll Cost: 17 euros
If you do not travel on the motorway network, you will save yourself the toll costs. The minor roads in France are excellent, you will see many more interesting sights and it will be less busy. If you have time, stay over in a chateau or enjoy a leisurely lunch.
We are always asked whether one should stay in a hotel or camp. Certainly, this is a very personal choice. If you camp, you will invariably be in the heart of the circuit with an incredible atmosphere, barbecuing with friends. There will be the noise of the race all around you and party spirit within the campsites. By contrast, our hotels are close to the circuit with easy access by tram. Clean sheets, quiet, private en-suite facilities and access to restaurants and bars.
The campsites below are all inside the circuit or on the edge of the Le Mans circuit. Depending on the Le Mans event, some campsites may not be available
Arnage: Large campsite located at the Arnage corner. Has basic showers & toilets. Non-numbered pitches. No electricty. Long walk to village.
Beausejour: A large campsite located close to the Porsche Curves. Non-numbered pitches but offers pitches of 35sq metres and 105sq metres. Has showers and toilets. No electricity.
Bleu Nord: Located on the outside of the circuit adjacent to Blue Sud campsite and adjacent to the airport. Good access to the campsite and the start/finish straight. Has showers and toilets but no electricity with numbered pitches.
Bleu Sud: Small campsite on the outside of the circuit just beyond the Maison Blanche campsite. Has numbered pitches - only one shower and toilet block. No electricity.
Houx: Well regarded on the inside of the circuit. Popular as it is the only campsite to offer access to electricity and some shade from trees. Also has showers and toilets with numbered pitches. Adapters and extension leads required for electricity use.
Houx Unnumbered: The same as Houx but pitches are not numbered and allocated on arrival. Houx Annexe: To the north of Houx, with showers and toilets. Numbered pitches. 10-15 minute walk to the Village. Very close to the tram terminal for access to the town.
Epinettes: In the same area as Houx. Has showers and toilets. Good gravel road around the campsite. Close to the tramway. Un-numbered pitches. Expo: On the outside of the circuit opposite the main entrance - and a bar. Has showers and toilets with non-numbered pitches and access to cattle sheds!
Mulsanne: On the famous Mulsanne Corner. Small campsite with trees; has showers and toilets but no electricity with non-numbered pitches. This campsite is a long way from the main entrance and Start / Finish straight.
Garage Vert: Limited in facilities, located opposite the Dunlop Bridge and close to the village and the track and really in the thick of it.
Tertre Rouge: Close to the Dunlop Bridge and tram terminal, a small, popular, trackside campsite providing unnumbered pitches with showers and toilets. No electricity.
PZ54: Located near Porsche Curves, PZ54 is a hard standing area designed for carvans and motorhomes. No electricity.
If you require more space for a large motorhome or trailer for example) you may purchase extra permits or go to Maison Blanche or Beausejour where there are a limited number of larger pitches.
Hotels in Le Mans
Due to the teams and sponsors, hotel accommodation can be difficult to find close to the circuit. We supply affordable hotels with direct access to the circuit. All our hotels and details can be found at www.onsite-events.com/lemans.html
Getting Around the Le Mans Circuit
Before the tramway system was built, access in and out of the circuit was incredibly slow. It can still be a little slow but with care, long delays - and long walks - can be avoided. First and foremost, try to avoid the dual carriageways on Saturday morning. There are other local routes which we can advise on. If you are camping, this is not an issue; if you are in hotels, then the tramway is recommended. As an alternative, the Le Mans tramway service will be in service connecting town and circuit with most of our hotels. A day ticket is 4.20 euros per person (valid 24 hours) Tickets are valid for both tram and bus. You can buy tickets on a bus, at the main depot at 65 avenue du Général de Gaulle or at the automatic machines at each tramway station. Or, you can buy 10 passes for 13.50 euros at most bar / tabac outlets.
Once inside the circuit, the ACO operate free shuttle trains around the circuit. There are a number of free buses/circuit trains that run around the circuit during the race. The bus to Mulsanne and Arnage runs at regular intervals from the main entrance close to the museum and from the Porsche Curves roundabout from early Saturday morning until the end of the race. There are also several circuit trains to help you get around the circuit that run on Wednesday & Thursday afternoon through to midnight and Saturday and Sunday; please note that they do not operate on Friday. OK, you have now arrived and you are sitting in your tent or hotel room.
How can you get the best out of your Le Mans weeked? Please read our article '5 Top Things To Do in Le Mans'.