The Rookie Road Tripper Visits Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans

The best place to immerse yourself into the spirit of Le Mans is not only to visit the race but also to marvel at the history. As such, it is quite convenient that the Musée des 24 Heures du Mans is right next to the southern entrance of the race track. During the Le Mans week, the general access ticket doubles as a museum ticket. This way, you can use a little downtime away from the track and look at the ghosts of the past. First, you need to get there ...

Getting to The Museum 

The circuit is at the outer edge of the town Le Mans, thus you can reach it easiest by car. If you are coming from the outside of Le Mans, simply find your way onto the D323 - Voie de la Liberté - and drive off at Le Terte Rouge. Once there make your way North for a few meters and you are going to encounter a rather complicated - but I presume for French standards normal - looking junction. Take a left onto the Avenue du Panorama. Follow the road until it ends at Rue de Laigne and take a left. Then continue for a few meters and you have reached your destination. Parking is available and you shouldn't have a problem at finding a suitable spot for you automobile.

Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans

If you are coming from the city, it is probably easier to reach the museum using public transport. There bus transport is your best friend. The Lines 3 and 17 both bring you to almost in front of the entrance of the museum. Both lines stop at Oasis which is right across the street.

Once you managed your to the museum, you pay 9,50€ entry, and children under 10 years can enter for free. Furthermore, ACO member pay 3,50 less. The opening hours differ between summer and winter. In winter (October 1st - 30th April) the museum is open from 10 AM until 6 PM. Meanwhile, in summer (1st May - 30th September) there is an additional hours towards the end, meaning you can enter from 10 AM until 7 PM. (Effective February 2020)

Should you visit during the 24h of Le Mans, you are in luck because - as already mentioned - your GA ticket also function as an entry pass for the museum. Thus, there are no additional costs.

What The Museum Has to Offer

When you start, you are guided through the museum via old distance signs that used to mark the, well, distance of the circuit in the olden days.  And then, the course takes you right along the "wall of fame." This is littered with miniature models, photos, and biographies of famous Le Mans drivers, starting from the very beginning until the now - ending with Tom Kristensen. When available there are also helmet and racing suit on display.

Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans

Since I absolutely adore anything miniature scaled, from my own car models to the architecture museum in Frankfurt with the city on miniature, I found myself drawn to the scale models of the track as well as the pit-lane as it developed over the years.

Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans
Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans

These models have everything: visitors, pit-crew, cars, funky people randomly running around, trees, and even Sponsoring banners.

Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans
As it is with all museums, even this one goes down memory lane in almost all aspects. There is a whole section dedicated to track maintenance as well as the firefighters who are on alert during a race. Respect is also being paid to the marshals and you can learn how many are active during a race weekend in order to make sure that everything is in order, and that when push comes to shove you know you are in the good hands. It also gives an insight into how the safety in the track developed.

Leaving the memory lane of the security of the track, comes the memory lane why people are even here. The race cars: There is a whole display of all the greats, and even some lesser known Le Mans winners, and you can walk by each one and take photos. It is also the closest you are likely to get to any of the Le Mans racers.

Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans

Last but hardly least, is a little fun: the trophy had been put on display on a podium. Thus, you can even walk up to it and take a photo with it. It is much bigger and taller than expected.

Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans trophy

Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans adds a lot of character and history to an already world famous event. It helps you to learn more about the history, the ideas, great moments and even tragedies that happened on this track. The descriptions are available in French and English. 

Furthermore, it also provides a quiet get-away from the hassle on the track. When you already in the area, the museum is a must see for any motorsport fan!

Le Musée des 24 Heures du Mans

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