Nuit des Chimères Annual Light Show Le Mans

Written by on August 11, 2014 in Festivals and Carnivals, Pays de la Loire

le mans cathedral

The annual light show Le Mans is a spectacular sight and a great way to enjoy an evening in the town throughout the summer months. Known as the Nuit des Chimères, this free event is a must see for all visitors to Le Mans says expat in the area, Susan Keefe…

Annual Light Show Le Mans

If you are near Le Mans in the northwest of France in July, August or September, you must see the evening light shows which are projected onto various monuments throughout the Plantagenet city. The spectacular light shows start from around 9.30 p.m. and for any visitor to the area they are a key experience, and what’s more its completely free to enjoy.

nuit des chimeres

If you have a choice, it is best to go Tuesday through to Saturday, as they are projected onto seven major sites on those days , whilst on Sunday and Monday evening the projections are only on the fountain and Cathedral chevet.

Even though the route in some places is not wheelchair friendly, those who are disabled, not capable, or don’t wish to climb the numerous steps between the shows in the city and the ones on the city walls do not need to miss out.

annual light show in le mans

There is usually parking below the Cathedral chevet, which gives wonderful views of this amazing show and the one on the Jacobean fountain. After walking up the steps around the fountain, you find yourself by the Cathedral porch which has a lovely display entitled ‘Celestial concert,’ and where there is disabled parking. From there, it is then just a short distance to the Courtyard of the Queen Berengere Museum to see the ghostly spectacle of the ‘White Lady.’ A little further along there are beautiful displays in the Academy gardens, and it is well worth spending the time sitting and watching this very long (70 mins) but worthwhile show.

nuit des chimeres le mans

The evenings have a wonderful atmosphere, and of course there are many little cafés and bistros open en route so you can stop off and enjoy a meal or a glass of wine.

summer light show le mansWalking between the light shows, I discovered another wonderful element of these evenings which is not publicized. Projected onto buildings, or painted onto old fashioned lamps along the route, are numerous mythical and wonderful creatures.

Descending to the river level, the displays along the Pans-de-Gorron, and the St-Hilaire Walls are spectacular, and for those less abled, the views can still be enjoyed from the parking lot alongside the river.

There are organised reading events throughout the week and wandering shows throughout Friday and Saturday nights, though booking is necessary for those.

If you get the chance, visit this wonderful display for an unforgettable evening…

You can download a programme and plan from the website:

Susan KeefeSusan Keefe is an author and book reviewer who lives in Le Mans, Pays de Loire (

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