Tag Archives: Le Mans camping

Le Mans race

What to take to Le Mans

Part 4. What to take with you

Walking around Green Park at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, I once came upon a campsite with its own fish-tank, complete with tropical fish swimming around and a chicken coop full of hens. At the Nurburgring 24 Hours I have witnessed a whole pirate ship on a steep hillside overlooking the track including cannons and crow’s nest with a man on lookout. At Le Mans I have seen most of a house, with a full kitchen including sink, fridge, chest freezer and dishwasher next door to a lounge with sofas and a TV. Every year this type of thing goes on and you can’t help but wonder what they left behind to fit all of this in.

Not everyone takes it to the extremes, but there are a few things to remember when it comes to packing for Le Mans. Some are obvious and some are common sense, but if I had a pound for every call we receive during Le Mans week saying “I am sorry but I have forgotten my…” then I would be a very rich man by now.

Documents:
Without fail somebody every year either forgets their passport or finds out that it has expired just hours before departure. Even with the UK still being in the EU at the moment, you cannot travel to France without your passport. This item is crucial and so should be checked well in advance and kept safe at all times. Check it now if you can. I bet you don’t know when your passport expires!

Le Mans tickets

Losing travel tickets either before you travel or during your stay is less of a problem these days. E-tickets are easily replaced & booking numbers can be quoted in place of a piece of paper, but it is a hassle. Much better to keep them in your vehicle so they are available when you need them. Race tickets are another matter. These are not easily replaced so should be kept safe and not left on the kitchen table. Your camping pass should be fixed in your windscreen and your entrance tickets should be kept with you (usually on a lanyard) so that you have them available to be scanned when you enter the circuit.

There are other documents that you shouldn’t leave home without such as your driving licence & car insurance documents. I am sure you would never dream of breaking the speed limit in France, but if you ever do the Gendarmes will ask for these documents as well as money to pay the fine.

Clothing:
Everybody knows the saying “It always rains at Le Mans”, so it is amazing how ill prepared some people can be for few days at the circuit. Of course it doesn’t always rain but a warm and waterproof outer layer is very important. When the sun goes down you don’t want to have to miss the racing because you are cold or wet so pack a coat. It is very difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t been to Le Mans before, quite how much walking is involved. Distances between viewing points and your campsite are usually bigger than you think. I have saying that where ever you are at Le Mans, you are 20 minutes’ walk from where you want to be. With that in mind a good pair of boots or similar sturdy footwear is essential. Following on from that is socks. You can never have too many socks. If you’ve ever got up in the night, needing the bathroom and been forced to pull on wet socks, then you know what I mean. I am sure a sock salesman would clean up if they set up shop in a Le Mans campsite. Otherwise layers of clothing is to be recommended. You can always remove a layer if it is hot, or add another layer when it gets cold, so pack your back with multiple layers to stay warm or cool at Le Mans. And finally, if you have flip-flops bring them. They are perfect for the communal showers!

Le Mans 2017

Camping items:
Forgetting your tent is unlikely (it has happened though) but there are other things that are worth thinking of. You can never have enough tent pegs, and if it has been dry then something stronger than the usual metal peg is required. A mallet will also be required, because it will be difficult to get the pegs in with just your hands. Sleeping bag and pillow could go without saying, but we have been asked for spares at Le Mans, so double check before you leave. An airbed or sleeping mat are equally useful if you plan on getting much sleep. A torch with batteries is good. Don’t rely on your phone, because when you need it, you will probably have it charging in the car. You can survive on circuit food, but nothing beats a Le Mans barbecue. Drivers swear they can smell bacon in the morning as they blast through the Porsche Curves and everything seems better with bacon doesn’t it. Event wet socks (see earlier). The local supermarkets are good for all your essential food items and some of the non-essential ones too. Try and stay clear of glass bottles if you can. Camping and glass don’t mix that well and in recent years there has been a crackdown on taking glass in to track-side campsites so it is best avoided. Alcohol? Can’t say I’ve tried it myself, but I understand its popular at these kind of events.

Camping at Le Mans

Essentials:
These are the things that you want to really add to the whole Le Mans experience but are easily forgotten. A bottle opener and a tin opener for instance. It is no good returning with from the shops with a tin of beans if you can’t open it. No doubt your campsite will be located in the perfect location, but if it isn’t a decent water carrier to get your supplies back from the nearest stand-pipe will come in handy. All Travel Destinations staff are consistently asked for phone chargers. We do carry some, but often not for the right model of Iphone or Android device, so think about it before you leave and ensure you have an adapter for your car. An FM radio is so important at Le Mans. If you want to know what is going on, then tuning in to the team on Radio Le Mans is essential. They are the best and will be broadcasting right through Le Mans week. You will kick yourself if you forget your radio. The last thing to mention is money. Even if you forget most things you can always buy them when you are at Le Mans. Even a tent! But you shouldn’t carry around too much. Sadly things do go missing at Le Mans, and you don’t want that to be your wallet. We would recommend a small amount of Euros for things like road tolls and your essentials but then have a credit card for anything else and keep that separate and safe too.

Radio Le Mans

Top tips for packing for Le Mans are:
• Check your passport is valid and keep it with you at all times
• Take layers for warmth and a waterproof as it always rains at Le Mans
• Don’t forget your FM radio to tune in to Radio Le Mans

Le Mans official ticket agency

Travel Destinations are the largest UK Tour Operator to Le Mans.
Travel Destinations are an Officially appointed agency for Le Mans and are a fully bonded ABTA and ATOL tour operator.
All our Le Mans options are available to view on this website or call us now for more details on 0844 873 0203.

This article first appeared on Motorsport Magazine online & is the fourth in a series of guest blogs by Richard about Le Mans.

Glamping at Le Mans

Camping at Le Mans

Part 3: Camping at Le Mans

Camping is a tradition at Le Mans. If you want to experience all that the Le Mans 24 Hours has to offer then staying at the track is the best way to do it. No question. Often camping is a necessity as well, as more than 250,000 spectators descend on Le Mans during Le Mans week and there just aren’t enough rooms to go around. Supply and demand means that any rooms that are available are expensive and are often snapped up by corporate bookings and never go on sale to the general public. So camping it is.

Travel Destinations have many customers that would never camp at any other time of the year, but for Le Mans it is just accepted. But then there are different types of camping available too. So, it is very important to make the right choice of campsite at the circuit. The difficulty is that everyone will have a different opinion depending on their experiences during their stay. At Travel Destinations, we speak to thousands of Le Mans customers every year. Sometimes we will have people in one campsite say it is the best place and rebook again, whilst others in the same campsite will choose a different one for the next year. This is one of the reasons why we speak to every customer, so that we can talk to them, find out their needs and requests and then discuss the best options available.
The majority of the camping areas at the track are run by the circuit (the ACO). Thousands of people camp in each area year after year. We describe it as a motor racing Glastonbury, although actually there are twice as many people at Le Mans than the music event. But you can get the idea. The campsites are full of tents and cars. Although there are lots of different areas, there are some things they all have in common. Each camping plot will give a 7 metre by 5 metre area. This will need to accommodate both a vehicle and tents. Each campsite will also provide shower and toilet blocks, but as with any event like this expect them to be very busy at peak times.

Camping at Le Mans

Each campsite has a name and they are different prices depending on the size and location. As a rule of thumb the closer the campsite is to the start/finish straight the more expensive it will be. There are always exceptions, but that is the general rule. Perhaps the most popular circuit run campsites are Maison Blanche, Houx & Tertre Rouge. Maison Blanche borders the track just before the Ford Chicane. It has been much reduced in recent years with the building of the new Porsche Experience Centre but it remains popular. Houx is a larger campsite in the centre of the infield. It is also a short walk to the village and the start line. Perhaps its most notable point is that Houx is the only campsite that offers access to electricity. Tertre Rouge is located adjacent to the track at the northern end of the circuit just beyond the Dunlop Bridge. It is a small campsite that looks down on the track which makes it very popular. Each of these campsites will often sell out a long time in advance of the race.

Beyond these three campsites are other areas such as Houx Annexe, Blue Nord & Blue Sud. Although these campsites offer similar facilities to the first three (except electricity) they are a bit further to walk to the village or start line, so therefore they aren’t as expensive. Each of these campsites will give a numbered pitch, so these are popular with campers who may be arriving later in the week as they won’t have to search for a spot. The biggest circuit run campsite is called Beausejour. This campsite is located on the infield, with the closest part of the track being the Porsche Curves. Pitches aren’t numbered so arriving early is recommended if you want to be near the entrance. Even then a walk from the Beausejour campsite to the start line will take about 30 minutes, so bring your walking shoes with you. The campsite as huge with thousands of pitches, so usually this is the last area to sell out.

Camping at Le Mans

There are two other circuit run campsites that are further away from the start line than Beausejour. Both Arnage and Mulsanne campsites are located on corners and offer great views. However they are beyond walking distance from the rest of the circuit, so new visitors will need to be careful as they can be quite isolated. These areas can be popular with regular visitors that don’t mind being away from the main areas of the circuit.

So far we have only mentioned the circuit run campsites on the track. These are cheap and cheerful, but offer little in the way of facilities and security. However there are alternatives for those people who wish to stay on circuit but would like a bit more for their money. Private campsites will offer a range of extra facilities usually including 24 hours security, private showers & toilets as well as food & drinks on-site. Even then there are differences between what each company can offer. Some private campsites are located within the ACO public areas, but are fenced off to keep them private. Others are located trackside and have no neighbours at all, so it is important to understand exactly what you are buying.

Travel Destinations were actually the first company to introduce private camping more than 10 years ago. Our private campsite at the Porsche Curves has increased in area and capacity since then but still offers the extra security, serviced showers and toilets as well as our popular marquee where our bar and food outlet can be found. It is also where we have our TV screens and evening entertainment so it is a real social hub. Our Porsche Curves campsite also has the only private viewing bank at the circuit, so our guests can get a unique view of the race.

Glamping at Le Mans
Travel Destinations Event Tents

For those that don’t enjoy camping, Travel Destinations have added Glamping and Flexotels to the on-circuit choices. Glamping is still under canvas, but the large pre-erected tents come with carpet and beds, so you don’t need to have any equipment. Similarly, the Travel Destinations Flexotel Village provides pop-up hotel rooms in the centre of the circuit so that you can return to your own bedroom and a proper bed each night. The height of luxury at Le Mans.

Pop up hotel at Le Mans
Travel Destinations Flexotel Village

By their nature all private areas at the circuit are going to be limited in space and more expensive than the large circuit run campsites, but it is important to note that the private campsites will sell out the quickest, so it is always important to book early. It is unlikely that there is going to be much availability as the race gets closer.

Top tips for Camping at Le Mans are:
• There are lots of options so it is important to do your research or speak to an official agent before you make your booking.
• Consider the distance from the campsite to the track as you will be doing a lot of walking
• Think about what you want from your experience. Is cost the priority or would you prefer security or luxury?

Le Mans official ticket agency

Travel Destinations are the largest UK Tour Operator to Le Mans.
Travel Destinations are an Officially appointed agency for Le Mans and are a fully bonded ABTA and ATOL tour operator.
All our Le Mans options are available to view on this website or call us now for more details on 0844 873 0203.

This article first appeared on Motorsport Magazine online & is the third in a series of guest blogs by Richard about Le Mans.