The quintessentially French village of La Chartre sur le Loir, to the south of Le Mans houses two historic buildings connected with Aston Martin, Porsche and Ford, in the Place de la Republique, both with very interesting motor racing history.
The Hotel Cheval Blanc, (previously known as the Hotel Champion up to the 1930's) hosted many of the post-race Aston Martin team parties, including the infamous drinking competition in 1958 as detailed in the "Racing with the David Brown Aston Martins" books by Chris Nixon. After all the Astons retired during the night, the team went to drown their sorrows at the Cheval Blanc in the early hours of Sunday morning and it turned into a riotous party. The building was converted into apartments in 2000.
The other building is, of course, the Hotel de France, well known as it was discovered by John Wyer, their racing team manager in the 1950's. He formed a strong relationship with the Pasteau family that owned and ran it through many generations, and continued to use it as his Le Mans base after leaving Aston Martin, when he went on to manage winning teams for Ford and Porsche right through to the early 1970's. It remains a very special place for all Le Mans enthusiasts and the venue for many events over the years. In recent times it has been purchased by new owners, and has been subject to a sympathetic restoration into an independently owned boutique hotel, but retains an authentic race theme in the bar plus a superb restaurant.
To stay at the Hotel de France during the 24H or the Classic means you will probably have to join the very long waiting list for a room, unless you are a famous past or present Le Mans driver or other motor racing personality. However, there is an alternative as you can rent La Maison des Pilotes du Mans apartment in the historic Cheval Blanc building, with a fabulous grandstand view of the Hotel de France and all the cars, personalities and action in the square below during the race weeks through the 3 large windows, each with a Juliet balcony.
You can eat, drink and mingle with many famous personalities from the world of endurance racing at the Hotel de France during race weeks.
Alternatively, you can drive the public section of the race track, including the famous Mulsanne Straight and visit the 24H Le Mans Museum during non race weeks.
La Chartre sur la Loir is also a great base for exploring the area for wine
tours, vineyards, walking, cycling and fishing and is ideal for a romantic
getaway or a great stop over on your way to the South.