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Paris is often seen as the cultural center of France, and while the City of Light certainly has its appeal, Le Mans stacks up quite well. The northwestern city, which is best-known for being home to a 24-hour car race, has also become a staple of France tours, for its impressive history and rich cultural scene.
The history of Le Mans dates as far back as the Roman Empire, and as a result, the city is replete with centuries-old buildings, including the Palace of the Count of Maine, which is nearly 1,000 years old. While the region's lengthy history is evident around every corner, events such as The Entre Cours et Jardins Festival make Le Mans a standout destination in France tours.
The event, which is usually held toward the end of September, is unique in that it offers access to a number of beautiful gardens throughout the Le Mans area, many of which are not open to the public during other parts of the year.
For those of you who don't get to Le Mans in time for The Entre Cours et Jardins Festival, however, the city has many other natural landscapes open to the public on a daily basis, including Jardin des Plantes du Mans. The 19-acre space is more than 140 years old and is open free of charge to visitors every day, whether you want to hit the rose garden or relax by the large pond.
Whether it's Le Mans' beautiful gardens or famous Gallo-Roman walls, which are some of the most recognizable features in France, the city offers a blend of history and culture like few other destinations.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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