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Le Mans for the non-French?

Hello, we are travelling to France with our young adult sons and are interested in taking in the Le Mans 24 hour race. How friendly and easy to get around and understand what is happening to the non-French is this event? Thanks.

Posted by
10 posts

I don't see that my question was answered in that post by Lo. Sorry.

Posted by
3777 posts

I re-read my comments and I did talk mostly about logistics which to me helps to answer the part about "getting around."

My husband speaks no French beyond the polite words. I speak and understand quite a bit more than that, but I'm definitely not fluent.

When we were trying to figure out exactly where to go to get the general admission tickets, each person I spoke to seemed to have different directions. My French wasn't very helpful in that situation.

I don't remember hearing any announcements during the part of the race we saw. My best advice about figuring out what's going on is to find some video of the race to watch in English so that you will be prepared in advance and know the kinds of cars, race groups, etc. Doing some research is really important, especially if you are not an avid fan of the sport.

We have been to F1 races in Montreal and the US, and my husband is a hobby racer. Regardless of the venue, there really isn't much talk going on for spectators at the track. What you hear are the cars as they zoom by.

For general information about the track, you can go to the official website at and click on EN for English. From there you can click on 24 Heures du Mans under Calendar of ACO Events for specifics about that race. It will be 18-19 June 2016.

They do sell rather impressive programs at the track, but I can't remember if you can get English ones.

If you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Posted by
29223 posts

Smart race goers - and I haven't been to race meetings at LeMans yet but I do go to race meetings here in the UK - wear plenty of ear protection. If you are not familiar with motor racing you can have no idea how loud the experience can be. You are pretty close to a lot of cars, and at the 24 hour it is a LOT of cars, all of which are going as fast as they can and muffling the noise or smells is the last thing on their mind. It is LOUD. Think of NASCAR, add about 5 more classes of car or so, then much faster and much louder.

When I go to motorsports I wear earplugs (good ones) and then ear defenders which look like big clunky headphones without the wire which completely cover the ear. It is then still very loud but acceptable to me.

If I am at a track with dedicated radio commentary I take my cricket (the sport) radio with stadium frequencies and put in really good earbuds to replace one or both earplugs, and all that inside the ear defenders.

I don't know if LeMans offers English language commentary. If they do you can bet somebody at the track will be selling the little radios with the funny earpiece. You can replace the funny earpiece with any suitable earbuds.

I watch races at home that I have been to and generally learn things that I missed on the track on the day. Unlike oval racing you can only see a small part of the course so there are always things you don't see.