Attending the MotoGP French Grand Prix – Le Mans Travel Report

Adam Rosales tell us about attending the French round of the MotoGP season at the famous Le Mans circuit in France, which he combined with a trip to Paris.

Le Mans, France, is well known as the host of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race, this area is synonymous with speed and history. MotoGP races on the “Bugatti Circuit” which uses a shorter and different layout than the 24 hour road race. The Bugatti circuit makes great use of the same pitlane and  starting grid.

Where the road course deviates from the purpose built circuit just after the Dunlop Bridge, the Bugatti takes a right and swoops back and forth through the hills with some fast, sweeping corners with some spectacular views in the General Admission areas that allow some incredible views of the bikes that make you feel like you’re just above the action. During practice sessions you can hear some interesting sounds like the valves whistling in Moto3 bikes, hands working levers and toes tapping the quickshifters as they drive out the corners while what seems to be almost full lean.

The Le Mans circuit organization really knows how to promote an event like this. Things like free camping, free parking and free attendance for those under the age of 16 (with any ticketed adult). Due to this, it can be a bit tough to purchase grandstand tickets since they tend to sell out very quickly. This year the French GP had the honor of being the 1,000th MotoGP race.

The event was also the most attended MotoGP race of all time with 278,805 attendees over the 4 day weekend and 116,692 on Sunday. The crowds are very lively with plenty of cheers and boos and a very noticeable support for French racers, Johann Zarco and 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo. 

Travel to France via Paris

Paris is the closest major city with Charles de Gaulle Airport being a major airport hub with plenty of international flights. I combined this trip with a few days in Paris with my mother. She has always wanted to visit Paris and explore the city and see the usual sights. This was a great opportunity to spend some time with her. 

We split the trip with two nights in Paris, with some tours booked for the Eiffel Tower and a small group tour that skipped the line at the Louvre and focussed on about 20 pieces in the museum. The Louvre is a massive museum with 30,000 pieces on display, I always appreciate somebody showing me around since most of the time it’s a bit hard to appreciate what I’m seeing without some explanation. They do offer some self guided tour devices at the museum if you prefer to move at your own pace. 

Moving around Paris via the Metro is very easy, just be mindful of the stairs if you are carrying luggage. I opted to use a car service to and from the airport that I prepaid in advance with the service Hertz DriveU. This was linked to my flight with KLM and was very easy to book. 

We took a taxi from our hotel in Paris to Montparnasse Train Station and took a train to Tours, which is where we were staying for the race. Tours is a great city to visit with a lot of historical sites in the area and is about an hour drive to the Le Mans circuit. It seemed a bit far but I took the opportunity to visit a smaller city in France and get away from the busy city of Paris. I booked an Airbnb in Tours very near the historic center. There are a ton of restaurants, bars and places to shop within walking distance. There is a Tram that can get you across the city fairly quickly and busses available for the region too. 

Travel to Le Mans from Tours

The apartment had a reserved parking spot in a garage nearby for the car I rented by the train station in Tours. The drive to the circuit is a little over an hour each way. You can save a bit of time if you take the toll, which you pay by card as you exit. It was €3-6 each way. If you exit into the town Écommoy, there is a large supermarket called the Hyper U which is a great spot to stop for some food, drinks or camping supplies for the weekend.

As I followed Google Maps, I realized I was driving through the town called Mulsanne, which eventually opened onto the famous Mulsanne straight from the 24hr road course. Since the race was due in just a few weeks time, barriers were being installed and curbs freshly painted. It was really cool to finally see this up close, let alone drive on the same roads where the prototype cars race through at 200mph. It’s a bit surreal to a racing geek like myself. I kept asking my mom to take photos while I was driving, noticing all the legendary corner names on the road signs.

Overall, traffic on this route was very easy aside from leaving post race on Sunday. The grandstand tickets I purchased were for the Garage Vert grandstand which has its own parking lot specifically for the grandstand. Ahead of the Grand Prix, I was mailed a map with my tickets which detail the area of the parking lot. As you get close to the circuit, road signs at each roundabout point you to the direction of your lot.

On both Friday and Saturday it was very easy to arrive and depart. The parking lot was covered and paved, mostly used for the sports arena that is located there. On Sunday, arrival was easy but I noticed the parking lot was much busier with less empty spots than the days before. Post race, everybody – including the people camping – leave the circuit. We sat in standstill traffic for about two hours trying to get out of the parking lot.

I figured it would have been a breeze like the days before so we took our time leaving post race. In hindsight, I would have left faster to beat some traffic or hang out post race and look for some food around the circuit. 

The Circuit

The Le Mans circuit is the only circuit I’ve been to that has General Admission areas along the starting grid with views of the garages. There are concrete stepped bleachers, only a few rows in height, which run basically from the last corner up to the Dunlop chicane.

General Admission views are plentiful, thanks to the designated areas around the circuit and the elevation of the track. The only downside of these areas is that there aren’t many TV screens within viewing range. The best way to get a GA spot with a view of a TV screen is to scout spots near grandstands, since a majority of the grandstands have screens within view.

Attendees squeeze in anywhere with a view and there aren’t many areas that are considered off-limits to spectators. People climb trees and sit on top of fences in order to get a view. There are a lot of grass hills open to spectators that don’t require much exploring to get a great view of the track. Make sure you arrive early to secure the best spots. I definitely recommend exploring the circuit on Friday and watching practice sessions from different vantage points, while scouting out a place for Sunday if you have a GA ticket.

Moving around the circuit is pretty easy thanks to tunnels that cut through the middle of it all and feed right up to the Dunlop bridge. The vendor area is located near the paddock and is filled with all the merchandise, food and a large stage which hosts driver talks and concerts in the evenings. 

Food & Drink

The Le Mans circuit allows you to bring your own food and drink from outside the track. There is security at the gates checking bags for glass mainly. I usually travel to races with a cooler that fits inside my backpack, I froze a water bottle to keep things cool. I packed some fruit, cheese and jamón. I also packed a baguette and some chips and made some sandwiches. I saw plenty of others doing the same and some people with pre-made sandwiches packed. It’s very convenient and a great way to save some money. 

There are plenty of food vendors around the circuit selling the usual foods familiar to large events. Things such as burgers, sandwiches and grilled sausages with fries. I ended up buying something called an “American Sandwich” that was not something I’ve ever seen in America. It was a hot dog bun with some small sausages and covered in fries, it was about €11. Beers sold in souvenir cups were €11.

The lines for food vendors and bars were pretty long throughout the weekend, they seemed to take about 15-20 minutes when I waited. Peak times between sessions around lunch time will create some longer lines. 

Bathrooms and Accessibility

There were several indoor bathrooms in the prominent areas of the circuit, mostly near entrances. They had some lines but moved fairly quickly, aside from Sunday. They seemed to take longer on race day but I think it was mostly due to an increase of attendees for the Grand Prix.

Once inside the circuit most of the walking paths are paved but some are hard packed gravel. There are some viewing platforms in some areas designed for wheelchair access and most of the areas with stairs have a ramp option. There is a tunnel you can take near the fan zone instead of crossing the Dunlop bridge to get between the fan zone and the main straight. With a bit of planning, it seemed pretty accessible for those with limited mobility.


I purchased tickets from the circuit. Grandstands sell out fairly quickly but if you periodically check, you may be able to find a single ticket once in a while. When booking directly, you get to choose your exact seat. General Admission is a great option but there aren’t a lot of screens for GA areas away from the main straight and Garage Vert. Kids 16 and under are free to enter GA if accompanied by a ticketed adult. 


The Le Mans circuit is very fan friendly and a fairly easy event to attend. There are tram options that get you to the circuit from Le Mans if you choose to stay there. The fans and staff are very friendly and lively, singing, chanting and cheering (or booing) riders throughout the weekend.

The camping areas seem to be very lively in some areas so expect some music and noise until the quiet hours are enforced at night. Le Mans is a very budget friendly event and has a festival environment that should be an example of how events should be run. It was a great experience, especially for the 1,000th MotoGP race which happened to be the most attended race of all time. I can’t wait to go back.

Cost Summary

  • Flights – 28k Points + $350 – Austin to Paris – Virgin Atlantic
  • Rental car – €143 (4 days)
  • Tickets – €167 (3 days/Each)
  • Airbnb – $740 – 4 nights
  • Beer was €11 at the circuit
  • Food – €10-25 per person if dining out.

MotoGP returns to Le Mans for the 2024 Grand Prix de France. Dates are yet to be confirmed.

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