Le Mans can lay just claim to being a great sporting city, given the number of clubs, licencees and its rich sporting heritage.
Many sports associations compete at the national level and their ranks include several top athletes. Professional sport has its place at Le Mans with the legendary Le Mans Sarthe Basket (MSB) and the organisation of motor sport events on the globally recognized 24 Hours circuit.
Le Mans has over 200 sports clubs with more than 41,000 members practicing over a hundred different disciplines.
- More than 5,000 intramural sports events are held annually.
- Nearly 4 million visits to about 40 sport complexes run by the city of Le Mans, including:
- 3 water sports facilities, including les Atlantides, with some 600,000 visits each year.
- 21 gymnasiums, 1 Dojo and 1 basketball arena inaugurated in 2013
- 18 grass football pitches
- 9 artificial big game turfs
- 1 BMX-mountain bike centre
- 1 rowing centre
- 2 indoor tennis courts
In addition, there is also 1 racetrack (Hunaudières), 1 golf course, 1 karting track, 1 cultural and sports centre (Antares) and 1 25,000-seat football and rugby stadium, inaugurated in 2011 under the sports excellence cluster. Added to that is 1 ice rink, 1 skate park, “Le Spot”, in the Leisure cluster in the University sector.
Le Mans Sarthe Basket
With four league titles in France Pro A (1978, 1979, 1982 and 2006), three Coupe de France titles (1964, 2004 and 2009) and several runner-up titles, the MSB has one of the most enviable positions in French league tables. Le Mans Basketball is renowned for its quality of play and its fans, but also for its court, Antares. Visit their website at www.msb.fr.
Ouest-France Pays de la Loire Cross-country race
The Ouest-France-Loire cross-country race opens the French cross-country season with over forty races in two days on the Arche de la Nature estate. A 10-km event takes place downtown on Saturday afternoon. Visit their website at crossdumans.ouestfrance.fr.
The Le Mans 10 km and half-marathon
Every year since 1983, the Le Mans 10 km and half-marathon are organised on Ascension Day. These races are qualifiers for the all-France championships. Visit their website at www.couriraumans.com.
Located south of the city, on the road to Tours, the 24 Hours circuit has changed a great deal since it was inaugurated in 1923. The origin of this circuit is closely related to the French Grand Prix, which took place in Sarthe in 1906. This endurance race took place over two days and following a longer route connecting the towns of Le Mans, Saint-Calais and La Ferté Bernard. After many ups and downs followed by numerous transactions, the 24 Hours circuit was born in 1923 under the leadership of three men: Georges Durand, Founder of the Alpes Mancelles Initiatives Union, Charles Faroux, journalist, and Emile Coquille, Manager of Rudge-Whitworth bicycles. Since its creation, the length of the route (17.262 km) has been gradually reduced to 13.629 km to allow for optimal safety-related technological amendments. Used a dozen or so days a year, the 24 Hours circuit was supplemented with permanent circuits: the “Bugatti Circuit “ (4.185 km long) in 1966, followed by the “White House Circuit “ (2.9 km) in 1976. These circuits make it possible to operate the tracks throughout the year for different events or events related to motor sports: Le Mans Classic (1st weekend of July, in even years), Le Mans Story, the French Grand Prix, the 24 Hours Motorcycles , the 24 Hours Trucks, etc. See www.24h-lemans.com.
Boulerie JUMP – European Horse Hub
The European Horse Hub is a hotbed of competition and is recognized as one of the greatest French organisers of equestrian events.
In Yvré-Bishop, a verdant setting near Le Mans, more than 30 competitions are organised annually by the Boulerie Jump. Multi-disciplinary national and international events such as show jumping competitions, dressage, equestrian vaulting, horse ball and hunter bring together riders of all categories: professionals, amateurs and clubs.