The characterful town of Le Mans in the Pays de la Loire region of north-west France is a joy. Narrow cobbled streets lined with 15th-century timbered houses are so well preserved, it’s no wonder the 1990 film Cyrano de Bergerac was filmed here. And, that’s not where the drama ends. Every summer, the remains of the old Roman Wall are highlighted in an evening light show, known as La Nuit des Chimeres, and at Christmas, lasers light up the wall creating Roman monsters and fairytale forests. Then, of course, there are the world-renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance sports car race, which has been held in Le Mans since 1923. For a more peaceful look at the city, visit the lovely Cathédrale St-Julien, the Musée de Tessé, showcasing works such as François Boucher, John Constable and Ingres, or the beautiful botanical gardens of Jardin des Plantes du Mans.