Musée des 24 Heures du Mans

My boyfriend is a car guy, both by nature and profession. So stopping at the le Mans 24 Hour Museum during our trip to France seemed like the right thing to do.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France. It is considered one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world and has been called the “Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency”. – Wikipedia

For those not in the know, allow me to share with you what I’ve learned. This race isn’t like a goofy contest held by your local radio station where people stand on one leg, or similar, for as long as they can (24 hours in this case) in hopes of winning concert tickets. No, no. It’s very prestigious and highly regarded around the world. There’s also apparently a team of driver’s, in case anyone else has a small bladder like I do and were concerned about toilet breaks. Thank goodness.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get back to the le Mans 24 Hour Museum. Arriving shortly after they opened for the day meant that we almost had the museum to ourselves. There was an event on the physical track that weekend, so heading out to see where the action takes place would cost extra – and add extra time to our visit. Thankfully my boyfriend was happy to visit the inside only. Because as someone who doesn’t care about cars (other than getting me from A to B, a conveniently placed cup holder and a vanity mirror), I don’t know how much I could have handled.

The museum collection was quite extensive, and had enough little tidbits to keep me entertained. For example, the race starts with drivers running to their cars.

Which tells me I’ll never be a candidate (lack of driver’s licence aside, ahem) because even the best driver on the circuit also has to be agile enough to not fall on their face before they even get to the car.

The museum also had several dioramas to show the race track throughout the years. Here we find ourselves back in 1925.

Back in 1984, artists Keith Haring and François Boisrond painted several cars in order to promote pop art to local youth.

There’s a movie called, le Mans, starring actor Steve McQueen. The museum displays several pieces featuring Mr. McQueen for the recognition he brought to the races.

My boyfriend has seen the movie and liked it very much, in case anyone is looking for a car show to watch.

This Hermès travel wardrobe was made specially for Bugatti founder, Ettore Bugatti for his travels to the United States. It was given to the museum by the Bugatti family in 1966 as a thank you for naming the permanent driving school of le Man, “Circuit Bugatti”, which had been done in tribute to the brand who had the most victories in racing.

What did my boyfriend think of the museum? He thoroughly enjoyed himself, as evidenced by this photo I took of him at the end..

And here’s me looking overwhelmed and in desparate need of a nap or drink. Or both.

But I actually didn’t mind the museum. Perhaps I’m more attracted to shiny sparkly things than I thought?

On the chance that some of you may be interested in cars, or are like me and just like shiny sparkly things, I’ve made an album of all of the photos I took should you wish to check them out.

Have you been to Le Mans, either the 24 Hour Race or the museum? What did you think?

– Marla

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