Aux Portes du Circuit, 411 Rue de Laigne, 72100 Le Mans, Phone +33 (0)2 43 72 61 80. This can be found 300 yards into town from the main entrance, directly opposite Expo campsite. It is also known as “Jeannine’s” to some CA members as the place is managed by the lovely lady Mme. Jeannine Belnou. Usually a lots of race fans are hanging around there (inside and outside) and are waiting for some burn-outs to happen on the street in front of it. This is unfortunately often interrupted by the police. Although this is a bar and restaurant, it has been reported that there will be no food served during the race, just drinks.
Auberge des Hunaudieres, Les Hunaudieres, 72230 Ruaudin, Phone: +33-(0)2-43 84 98 14. Situated approx 500 yards before the first of the chicanes on the Mulsanne straight, this legendary restaurant used to offer dramatic trackside seats from which you could enjoy good food and drink. Unfortunately the view is now obscured by green covers attached to the catch fencing. You will also be lucky to eat there during racing week as the restaurant is usually taken over by corporate hospitality. However, there is still an open air public bar to the rear of the building. Clamber up onto the benches for a glimpse of the cars going flat out down the Mulsanne. It’s even possible to walk right up to the catch fencing and armco due to the questionable security! To get to Les Hunaudieres and the Shanghai des 24 Heures head South East on the N142 (Route du Mans) running parallel to the Mulsanne Straight. Take one of the right turnings heading towards the circuit and you will enter the network of one way roads. The restaurant will be signposted and there will be French police or race officials willing to direct you. Eventually you will end up in a field at the back of the restaurant where you can park for free.
Shanghaï des 24 Heures, Les Hunaudières, 72230 Ruaudin, Phone: +33-(0)2-43 84 14 72. This Chinese restaurant, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Cheung is open throughout the race week and serves affordable food of a decent standard, like Lemon Chicken, Pork with satay sauce, Shrimps with black mushroom and of course the inevitable spring rolls. A typical main course is about 12 Euros. Although you can’t see the cars from the window seats, due to the same green covers found at Les Hunaudieres, the track is only 20 feet away so you can certainly hear them! The friendly staff even has 24 Hour memorabilia to give away, an added bonus! There is no need to book but it will be busy on Saturday evening. Consequently it’s best to head here on Wednesday or Thursday night in between the evening’s practice sessions. Capacity is about 120 seats in 3 rooms. To get there see the directions to Restaurant Les Hunaudieres, it is app. 50 yards down from there.
Au Bugatti, 299 Rue Laigné, 72100 Le Mans, Phone +33 (0)2 43 72 18 67. This is a typical French Sports bar that serves light food throughout the day, it has also been described as a “good watering hole”. The walls are adorned with photographs and memorabilia of the race, making this a relaxing and cultural way to start your day. It’s definitely worth stopping by here for breakfast or a coffee. To get to Bar Bugatti head north from the main circuit entrance and museum on “Rue de Laigne”. The bar is approximately 1 mile down the road on your right, within close proximity of the Expo campsite, on the same road as the restaurant “Aux Portes du Circuit”.
La Borne 24H, Le Cormier, 72230 Mulsanne, Phone +33 (0)2 43 75 78 82. This is not so well known but has been highly recommended by one CA member. How to get there: Half way down the Mulsanne straight is the big hardware store, Do-It-All style called Leroy Merlin, on the right at the big roundabout. There are signs to this restaurant if you turn in and it is in an industrial unit. From the circuit entrance go past Maison Blanche to the roundabout, left towards the Karting circuit, straight on under the circuit until you come to a roundabout and left and left again. The food has been described as good value for money, they also have inexpensive wine. Please note: This place is probably closed during practice and the race itself, as it is in one of the one of the inaccessible areas then, so it is just an option for the rest of the race week.
Le Tertre Rouge, Route Tours, Le Mans, Phone +33 (0)2 43 84 28 53. Also called “Stella Bar” by many CA members: This lively bar is located at the exit of the Tertre Rouge corner, outside of the circuit confines. It is within easy reach of the Houx Annexe campsite and the Tertre Rouge viewing enclosure. The bar sells, as you would expect, Stella Artois almost exclusively. It will be busy from Wednesday night onwards, but the crowds are friendly and sociable. You will find the Stella Bar where the road to the Houx Annexe campsite passes underneath the Mulsanne straight. A change of ownership will happen after the 2010 race, so let's see if this legendary place will change.
La Boule d'Or, 41 Avenue François Mitterrand, 72230 Mulsanne, Phone: +33-(0)2 43 42 00 45, Fax: +33-(0)2 43 42 54 90, Website: http://labouledor.com. To get there, turn in the direction of Tours (south) at Mulsanne roundabout, overall is is about 500 metres away from Mulsanne corner at the racetrack. Excellent food, good beer, this has been highly recommended. As a specialty they promote their “choucroute de la mer”, a mixed seafood plate. There is also a bar and a tobacco shop included. One CA member persuaded them to put fish & chips on the menu for raceweek, comments on the quality of this for next years edition would be nice. Following a change of ownership in 2009, this restaurant has gone from strength to strength, serving as many as 140 meals each lunchtime even out of season. During race periods things change of course, but always good food to be found.
Bar du Centre, 106 Avenue Nationale, 72230 Arnage, Phone +33(0)02 43 21 10 21. This place is next to the fountain in the middle of the roundabout (which is normally turned off during race week), it has plenty of tables outside and is also a cigarette shop. Well known already to many since lots of people have been soaked enough times as they pass!
L'Arlequin, 83 Avenue Nationale, 72230 Arnage, Phone +33(0)2 43 21 10 29. This place is a very good place to eat especially lunch times. Not expensive with the usual fixed price menu and a few tables to sit outside and a big outside eatery behind.
Circuit des 24 heures, both in the Village. Reservations can be made by phone 01 55 60 22 90 and allegedly via e-mail. Contact@concept-restauration.com
Mega-pricey, Le Welcome has dishes from €49 and Panoramic has a €98 menu a head but surely the best placed restaurant in LM. You can't miss it as it overhangs the start-finish straight…
A new Brasserie has opened opposite Decathlon on the Mulsanne straight. Serves good food and is open early to late, although not sure about during race week since this is the first year.
Les Ecuries, Chemin des Queutes, 72230 Ruaudin, Phone +33 (0)2 43 85 74 09, website: www.lesecuries.fr, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Behind the Family Village is a service road which parallels the Mulsanne. On this road can be found a superb restaurant called Les Ecuries. out of race week, Saturday night is jazz night, and a damned good evening it is too. 02 43 85 74 09 Just look for the roundabout with the wooden horses on.
For an gastronomic experience you will never better at the price, a little known secret (until now that is!) is to be found at Ruaudin, called the Auberge des Blés d'Or. We use it sparingly so as not to tire of the excellent food. It is usually by reservation, and in the evenings is open Friday/Sunday but all lunchtimes. However, they can cater for largish numbers having a large room used for weddings etc. No english spoken but if you really love to eat your food in style, properly served, excellently cooked, and at a price that will astound you, then call 02 43 75 79 33 and make a reservation. I guarantee you will not come away unhappy. Count on 100 euros per couple including an aperitif, the menu, and a good bottle of wine. Also open lunchtimes and again superb food at 20 euros a head, drinks excluded.
Le Belinois near Arnage was a fine dining restaurant but changed hands in 2012 to become Le Monciacum, primarily a pizzeria, but with an a la carte menu. The prices on that menu remain much the same as they were in the Le Belinois days however the standard is not to the heights of Le Belinois. It remains a pleasant restaurant with decent parking and isn't as busy as it was previously, even at popular times such as the Friday evening before raceday. The restaurant website is here:-
The picture shows Paul Truswell of Radio Le Mans at Le Monciacum on the Friday evening in 2012.
For those who don't mind paying dear and love a superb wine list, then L'Auberge de Matfeux is for you. To be found on the left going south from the centre of Arnage. Spend as much as you want, especially on the wine list! It used to be Michelin starred, but not having the means to eat there I'm not sure if it still is. 02 43 21 10 71
To be found next to the church centre of Mulsanne. Pizzas and lunch menu. Open until late usually during race week. Used for the friday meet the last two years
Just in case you want to combine a visit at the Drivers’ Parade on Friday with a pub crawl – rumours say that some CA members do so – here’s a fine collection of bars, all within walking distance from the Place de la Republique:
Union Jack, 32 Rue du Docteur Leroy, Facebook: “Union-Jack Le Mans”. Run by British with mainly british staff. According to the owner they are offering real Ale on pumps with british pies and pasties available, as well as official ACO t-shirts to buy.