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Located in north-eastern France, Le Mans sits along the banks of the Sarthe River, a tributary of the Loire. With a population of about 150,000, this city is the capital of the Sarthe department in the Pays de la Loire region of France. Le Mans is also the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese and has a history dating back to the Roman Empire. In 57 BC Le Mans was incorporated into the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis.
During the 12th century, Le Mans became the centre of the Plantagenet Dynasty, with the marriage of a local count to the king of England. Henry II of England, the second sovereign of this dynasty, was born in Le Mans and his father was buried on the grounds of Saint Julian’s Cathedral, a short distance from the Kyriad Le Mans East Hotel. For almost a century, the Plantagenet Empire covered much of current-day France and England.