All eyes are on France, as Euro 2016 is in full flow and it’s shaping up to be an exciting tournament.
But it also gives France the chance to show off some of its best assets, with 10 different cities playing host to matches over the next couple of weeks, here’s our guide on what’s good to see if you are heading over the Channel.
1. Stade Pierre Mauroy - Lille
Lille has played host to a Davis Cup final and international rugby, but never football before. Lille is the capital of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, and as it’s not too far from the Belgium border, visitors will see evidence of many Flemish influences, particularly when it comes to the food, architecture and culture. The Palais des Beaux Arts is a must see whilst here.
We stop off at Lille on our World War One Commemorative Cruise.
2. Stade Bollaert-Delelis – Lens
The stadium was used for the 1998 World Cup, so is used to being on an international stage. It was a former coal mining stronghold, evidence of which can still be seen by the enormous slag heaps that have created mountains, they’ve even been given UNESCO heritage status. If history is your thing, then there are plenty of battlefield and war memorial sites to see.
3 & 4. Stade de France and Parc des Princes – Paris
Both big stadiums that have been used for international matches before, and a real hotspot for football fans. Of course, you know the usual tourist spots to visit while you are in Paris, but have you considered a champagne cruise which begins with an evening meander through Paris, passing the floodlit Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame?
5. Stade de Lyon – Lyon
A brand new stadium that only opened in January, state-of-the-art! Lyon is formed around the Rhône and Saône rivers, and the city is very bike friendly, it’s a great way to see the sights. Other places to visit are the Parc de la Tête d’Or which has its own zoo and botanic gardens, or try to find one of Lyon’s traboules, or hidden passageways.
6. Stade Geoffroy Guichard – Saint-Étienne
It’s the stadium where David Beckham was sent off in the 1998 World Cup, hopefully better luck for England this time round! An industrial city in Eastern France, it is the only French city to be made a UNESCO City of Design. You can visit the pit mining museum or take a trip down the Loire gorge on a cruise boat. Both are must dos if you are staying here.
7. Stade de Bordeaux – Bordeaux
Another brand new stadium only opened in May. A popular place to visit, Bordeaux is a perfect place for wine lovers. In fact, so much so, that the ‘Disneyland of Wine’ museum has just opened in Bordeaux, newest tourist attraction to visit in the region!
If you fancy a cycling tour through the vineyards, then this tour is perfect for you!
8. Stadium de Toulouse – Toulouse
This stadium was originally built for the 1938 World Cup! Toulouse is nicknamed ‘The Pink City’ because of the vivid red bricks used to build it. Its sunny climate makes it a popular destination. Spend some time walking around the Place du Capitole studying the architecture, before sampling the famous cassoulet the region is famous for.
A definite must is a tour of the Canal du Garonne, how about cycling the route?
9. Stade de Nice – Nice
An eco-friendly stadium with solar panels, a sprinkler system using rainwater and geothermal heating. Capital of the French Riviera, food, decadence and sunshine are in order for visitors here. Nice Old Town is wonderful to walk around, and you definitely can’t miss the Matisse Museum or the Promenade des Anglais, you’ll need your walking shoes on for that!
10. Stade Velodrome – Marseille
A stadium used to hosting important semi-finals and finals, this is a great stadium to watch your team play. Marseille is France’s oldest city, and it’s recently had a huge investment, so much so, that it was designated the European Capital of Culture in 2013. You’ll probably want to stay around the Old Port, that’s where all the hustle and bustle is, the food is good, museums are good, you won’t go far wrong.
So if you are heading to any of the games, then take some time to enjoy the cities too, lots to see and do aside from the football!
Do get in contact with the team if you would like us to arrange a holiday, if football isn’t your thing, we’ve got plenty of getaways to get away from it!