Amateur and professional sport is an important part of the make-up of Sarthe


The venue for the first French Grand Prix in 1906, la Sarthe is renowned for motorsport, in particular for iconic endurance race the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Founded in 1923, the race attracts competitors from all over the world who gather in Le Mans to put their technological innovations to the test and their reputations on the line.

The department also hosts the French round of the motorcycle world championships, which features such illustrious riders as Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Johan Zarco.

The fervour surrounding Le Mans Sarthe Basket (MSB) reflects the popularity of basketball in France. School of martial arts Samouraï 2000 is reputed for revealing the potential of future champions. Le Mans FC continues its ascent to top flight competition and will be competing in the National league next season.


Sport is a way of life in Sarthe. Sports clubs boast some 120,000 members, who regularly train for fun or to compete (or both).  The Sarthe countryside is ideal for outdoor sports such as hiking, mountain biking or cycling on the 420 km of tourist paths.

Local clubs and their volunteers enjoy a far-reaching reputation for organising large-scale events such as the Cross Ouest-France Pays de la Loire, the Cross Maine Libre Allonnes Sarthe.

Sarthe is home to several international athletes: Manon Houette (handball), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (tennis), Frédéric Cattanéo (wheelchair tennis) and Laurence Leboucher, Mickaël Pichon, Sébastien Bourdais, Laurent Brochard, Leïla Heurtault, Mohamed Serbouti and Louis Rossi, to name but a few.

Sarthe Terre de jeux 2024