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Old 9 Apr 2012, 18:22 (Ref:3055931)   #1
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The Drivers' Parade

Despite this year being my dad's 22nd Le Mans and my 13th, neither of us have ever been to the drivers' parade!

So, I was wondering, as a first timer, what advice and tips those of you who have been might have for me.

It would also be appreciated if anyone could reccomend a decent restaurant in the city centre, for we intend to eat there on that Friday.
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 18:36 (Ref:3055938)   #2
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I went for the first time last year and didn't rate it at all.

Despite a lot of people saying it was pretty average we went because I think you do need to go and see these things for yourself.

I just got bored of waiting around. You need to get there very early. And I'd say your enjoyment will depend on where you end up standing.
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 18:56 (Ref:3055951)   #3
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Truckosaurus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTruckosaurus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTruckosaurus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTruckosaurus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Ginge,

The problem with the Parade is that to get a good view you have to bag a place at the fence early doors, so as others have suggested there's lot of hanging around.

The other technique is to just sit at a table at one of the bars in the Place de la Republique and then watch the parade from there.

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It would also be appreciated if anyone could reccomend a decent restaurant in the city centre, for we intend to eat there on that Friday.
We normally eat at either the Le Mans Legends Café or the Bar Bureau, they are both part of the same chain and do not too bad pizzas and similar 'pub grub'. Both are just off the square. The Leg-ends has plenty of memorabilia on show. If you want something posher then head to the Old Town area.
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 19:00 (Ref:3055953)   #4
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Down F0rce should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridDown F0rce should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridDown F0rce should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridDown F0rce should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
The drivers throw things out, photo cards and the like. For some reason, this makes people go pretty mental. I saw a grown man pinch a cap out of a young boy's hand, for example...

If you can find a place with a decent view and respectful people, it can be pretty good. They often have some really cool cars in a parade before the drivers come out.

Worth doing once or twice, but it's not something I'd make an annual tradition of.
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 19:28 (Ref:3055971)   #5
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I've been several times in recent years, the last being in 2009 when the Tourists famously 'landlocked' themselves within the parade route and couldn't get out until the roads were opened again (see my 2009 story). In my opinion, it's worth doing once, just to experience it. You may not want to do it again, unless you're an autograph hunter. For the last two years I did it, I hung around in the collection area at the start - you see far more of the drivers than just standing somewhere on the route.

http://www.aysedasi.co.uk/gallery/20...e4/09page4.htm


If you can get right into the centre of the town, the restaurants in the square near the Hotel de Ville (the city hall) are very good.

This was from 2008 - it's Tenther AllonFS in the red shirt. This was at Le Fontainebleau. Note that this isn't a chain or fast-food, it's the real deal.... But I imagine Eric (Batmobile) can give you better advice than I can - as he's a local!

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Old 9 Apr 2012, 19:55 (Ref:3055985)   #6
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Worth doing once I think, notorious in our experience for pickpockets.
One of our party had someone nick his wallet and get away in the crowd a few years ago. Difficult to get a restaurant due to the crowds involved.
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 20:05 (Ref:3055992)   #7
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You'll be lucky to just walk into any decent restaurant on that night. We booked in advance. The first year we ate in the square there (in a different restaurant in 2006), we'd booked at lunchtime and just got in. We were a party of 6, so it was a good earner for them..... (particularly if they'd known how much wine we'd be ordering.... ).
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 20:15 (Ref:3055999)   #8
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If your not looking for anything fancy there are lots of temporary bars and restaurants in the main square. We stay in the town last year and it was very easy for us. We stayed in the bars while the tram filled up!
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 20:24 (Ref:3056005)   #9
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We just went to a restaurant in the main square positioned pretty much behind where they positioned the grandstand. Nothing fancy but it filled the hole.

When we'd finished we went and got a pretty marginal place. Not a brilliant view by that time. Could have done with a bit of local knowledge and prior planning. Where Ayse went sounds like a good idea. It was pretty obvious that no drivers were going to venture over to us. Was nice to see the 787B so close up but after a lot of waiting we left after about three crews had gone past!
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 20:41 (Ref:3056023)   #10
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I'd definitely recommend hanging around the 'collection area' as I call it. Our Chief Tourist managed to walk in with no accreditation at all. We came to the conclusion that they thought he was Hugh Chamberlain.....

As to eating habits, the Tourists always liked to do things in style...... It's why I'm the shape I am......
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 20:44 (Ref:3056027)   #11
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Its not a patch on what it usd to be . Personally , I wouldnt do it again .
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 20:47 (Ref:3056033)   #12
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I think that's the key word, G - 'again'. Most of us have done it and bought the proverbial t-shirt. But once is likely to be enough for most. Personally, I'd rather have a nice quiet meal out on Friday night (as I shall this year) and (dare I say) get an early night in preparation for the rigours to come!
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Old 9 Apr 2012, 21:40 (Ref:3056075)   #13
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with the tram now working so well it is easy to get there and back but to get a good view like everyone else says you will have to get there early and stand around for hours, after the parade it will be hard to get into any place to eat so perhaps better to head back to camp and start the BBQ up
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Old 10 Apr 2012, 11:09 (Ref:3056360)   #14
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Thank you for the responses, they're all appreciated. I guess it's a case of going in to the town earlier in the week and booking a restaurant if we want something nice as a group?

We're not going with high expectations, and we intend to go back to the campsight and soak up the traditional friday night atmosphere there; it's just a case of actually doing it, so we're not bothered about views or getting autographs.

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The drivers throw things out, photo cards and the like. For some reason, this makes people go pretty mental. I saw a grown man pinch a cap out of a young boy's hand, for example...
I'm very aware of this sort of thing, it happens on the Friday pitwalk. When I was 11, a grown man of around 50 snatched a signed Aston Martin flag out of my hand.
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Old 10 Apr 2012, 21:04 (Ref:3056775)   #15
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Oh sorry, was that you.........?






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