It could almost be a rural scene in France .Well it almost is . On the inside of the Le Mans circuit alongside the straight leading to Tetra Rouge ,late afternoon with the 2004 race just a couple of hours old .
You will not see this scene today .In the past 6 years the Le Mans circuit has had major improvements --with bigger runoff areas on the track itself around Tetra Rouge and major earthworks to create spectator viewing embankments and this section has been totally remodelled .The result is much improved spectator facilities but the loss of a unique ambience .
On the inside of the spectator areas just inside Tetra Rouge a short distance from the scene above there used to be little vegetable gardens full of artichoke plants and lettuces etc and little sheds where local families came and spent their summer weekends even when the race was in progress .I often looked at the locals sitting enjoying a glass of vin or playing boule with their children as the sun went down with thousands of spectators just a few metres away on the other side of a wire mesh fence and the race rushing on .It looked like a scene from a Henri Cartier Bresson photo -- particularly in the early 80's when there were a few 2CV Citroens parked there and many of the men still sported berets and braces . I wish I had taken some photos but as always it never occurred to me that one day it would not be there . And now it has all gone -it is the edge of an industrial estate .
A Leica Digilux 1 photo