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Le Mans, France

Le Mans is a city located on the Sarthe River in northwest France and is the capital of the Sarthe department. Historically, it was the capital of Maine. Le Mans dates from pre-Roman times and before Charlemagne and has witnessed frequent sieges and battles throughout history. The city has some of the best preserved 3rd and 4th century Gallo-Roman city walls. Le Mans was the birthplace of Henry II of England and John II of France. Today, Le Mans is an important manufacturing, commercial, educational and communications center. Since 1923, Le Mans has been famous for its annual international auto race which is run on local roads.

On August 8, 1944 Le Mans was liberated by the US 79th and 90th Infantry Divisions and an advanced landing ground was constructed by engineers of the Ninth Air Force just outside of the city. The 347th Ordnance Depot Company had just transferred to the U.S. Third Army from the First Army on August 15, 1944 before arriving at Le Mans on their way to the Fontainbleau Forest.

Le Mans Cathedral

Le Mans Cathedral is dedicated to St. Julien of Le Mans and was completed in the 13th century. The enormous cathedral bears a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

Rue Wilbur Wright And Monument

In the 1850s a road was tunneled under the old town quarter. Where the tunnel comes out on the north side of the quarter is a beautifully sculpted monument depicting Icarus and commemorating Wilbur Wright who tested an early flying machine in Le Mans. The monument is also dedicated to all pioneers of flight and to the victims of aviation. The monument was sculpted by Paul Landowski and was unveiled in July of 1920.