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Le Mans is a city in France, located on the Sarthe river. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine, it is now the capital of the Sarthe department as well as the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. It is also located in the Pays de la Loire region. Most famous for its 24-hour Le Mans car race, its Romans walls and stunning labyrinth of winding alleyways means it is far more than just a motor city.
Le Mans was first mentioned by Ptolemy (AD90-168) as the Roman city Vindinium, the capital of the Aulerci which was a sub tribe of the Aedui. As the principal city of Maine, Le Mans was the stage for struggles in the 11th century between the counts of Anjou and the dukes of Normandy. When the Normans had control of Maine, William the Conqueror was able to invade England successfully, however in 1069 the citizens revolted and expelled the Normans. Geoffrey V of Anjou married Mathilde in the city's cathedral, where Henry II Plantagenet, king of England, was also baptized.