LE MANS, a town of north-western France, capital of the department of Sarthe, 77 m. S.W. of Chartres on the railway from Paris to Brest. Pop. (1931) 66,942. As the capital of Aulerci Ceno manni, Le Mans was called Suindinum or Vindinum. The Romans built walls round it in the 3rd century, and traces are still to be seen. In the same century the town was evangelized by St. Julian, its first bishop. Ruled at first by his successors—notably St. Al dric—Le Mans became in the middle ages the capital of the counts of Maine. About the middle of the 11th century the citi zens secured a communal charter, but in 1063 the town was seized by William the Conqueror, who deprived them of their liberties, which were recovered when the countship of Maine had passed to the Plantagenet kings of England. Le Mans was taken by Philip Augustus in 1189, recaptured by John, subsequently confiscated and later ceded to Queen Berengaria, who did much for its pros perity. It was several times besieged in the 15th and i6th cen turies. In 1793 it was seized by the Vendeens, who were expelled by the Republicans. In 1799 it was again occupied by the Chouans. It stands just above the confluence of the Sarthe and the Huisne. Several bridges connect with the quarter of Pré on the right bank. The cathedral was originally founded by St. Julian, to whom it is dedicated. The nave dates from the iith and 12th centuries. Some stained glass in the nave, from the first half of the 12th century, is the oldest in France; the west window represents the legend of St. Julian. The south lateral portal (12th century) and the choir are richly decorated. The cathedral also has curious tapestries and some remarkable tombs, including that of Berengaria, queen of Richard Coeur de Lion. Close to the western wall is a megalithic monument nearly I5 ft. in height. The church of La Couture, part of an old abbey founded in the 7th century by St. Bertrand, has a
porch of the 13th century with fine statuary. The hotel de ville was built in 1756 on the site of the former castle of the counts of Maine; the prefecture (1760) occupies the site of the monastery of La Couture, and contains an archaeological museum. Among the old houses are the Hotel du Grabatoire of the Renaissance, once a hospital for the canons and the so-called house of Queen Beren garia (i6th century). Le Mans is the seat of a bishopric dating from the 3rd century, of a prefect, and of a court of assizes. The more important industries are the state manufacture of tobacco, tanning, hemp-spinning, bell-founding, flour-milling, the founding of copper and other metals, and the manufacture of railway wagons, machinery and agricultural implements, motors, rope, cloth and stained glass. The fattening of poultry is an important industry, and there is trade in cattle, cloth, farm-produce as well as in wines. The town is an important railway centre.