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Le Mans is located in the Sarthe department of the north-western Pays de la Loire region. The city is located at the junction of the Sarthe and the Huisne Rivers. Former provincial capital of Maine et Perche, Le Mans hosted the marriage of Geoffroy V of Anjou and Mathilde the Empress, the daughter of the King of England, laying the foundation for the Plantagenet Empire and the future birth of King Henry II. Old Mans, now called “Cité Plantagenet” is the historic district and is well known for its unique 3rd-century architecture, which is still preserved today.
Le Mans today has an urban population of around 142,000, with a greater metropolitan population nearing 340,000, making it the largest city in the Sarthe department, the 3rd largest in the Pays de la Loire region and the 20th largest city in France. The city benefits from an ocean climate, with relatively warm summers and rather frosty winters.